“I learnt to stand up for myself and my rights. I learnt how to be a fighter and not to quit even in a male-dominated household. I want to motivate women to step into the world and encourage them to meet the challenges.”
It is not every day that you meet a national lever pioneer and international super achiever. iCARE team was in for a privileged treat to play host to Padmashree Mrs. Lila Poonawalla, the first women mechanical engineer and first women CEO of India, and Mr. Firoz Poonawalla, a Stanford Graduate and an award winning industrialist and innovator.
This power couple visited InfoCepts STPI office on 8th Feb 2017. Her Wikipedia page describes her as Indian industrialist, philanthropist, humanitarian and the founder of Lila Poonawalla Foundation, a NGO promoting professional education to aspiring girls in India by providing scholarships and guidance.
What was exciting is that they visited InfoCepts to appreciate and congratulate the iCARE team that conducted industrial visit for the Engineering students of Lila Poonawalla foundation. LPF is not only sponsoring the engineering education of all these academically brilliant girls from underprivileged background, but also conduct various training and grooming sessions and industrial visits to make these girls job ready. All the girls who visited InfoCepts and attended the day long grooming programme gave rave reviews of the program, praised the volunteers and trainers. Mr. and Mrs. Poonawalla were immensely impressed by the program and the girls’ reviews prompted them to visit the team. They didn’t hesitate to praise iCARE as they expressed that the grooming sessions and program was several notches superior than what they usually see in most other multinational companies in Pune.
In free flowing interactive session with the iCARE team, Mr. and Mrs. Poonawala answered several questions asked by the team and spoke about numerous projects undertaken by their foundation. All the members of the iCARE team listened with rapt attention as she shared her story of coming to India as a refugee and living in refugee camps to beat all odds and becoming the first women mechanical engineer of India. She started her career on the shop floor of a Swedish engineering multinational company Alfa Laval India and rise through the ranks to become its CEO. Later she also became chairperson of Tetrapack. It was her leadership under which Indian operations of the company expanded from 500 million INR to 2.5 billion INR.
She was bestowed Padmashree award by the Government of India and Order of the Pole Star from the King of Sweden for Business Leadership. She also served as the member of Scientific Advisor to the Government of India under the chairmanship of APJ Kalam. On the other hand Mr. Firoz Poonawala has won Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award for outstanding services and achievement in Agriculture and Pune’s Pride award for Corporate excellence and Model Industrialist Award by Bharat Shramik Sena.
Mr. and Mrs Poonawala also expressed their interest in working with InfoCepts iCARE for educational empowerment of underprivileged girls in Nagpur, Wardha and Amravati. They both shared many insights from corporate life and their social work. It was indeed a very enriching and inspiring experience for everyone who met them.
One more feather added to iCARE’s Cap !!