At ZS, we recognize that no two career — or personal — journeys are alike, which is why we are committed to creating flexibility that empowers our people to find balance between their lives inside our firm – and outside. It’s our flexible, supportive culture that landed us spots on two recent industry rankings recognizing the top workplaces for women in India.
Though New Delhi ZSers Megha and Vidhya work in different areas of our firm, their ZS journeys have one thing in common: navigating a successful career and motherhood simultaneously. Learn more about how these two inspirational ZS women have been able to flourish at work while embracing their roles as moms.
Megha joined ZS in 2010 as a consultant focused on market research, working on global projects and gaining knowledge in both quantitative and qualitative market research. Unfortunately, a few years into her ZS career, Megha's was not keeping well, so she took a year off from work to care for her.
"It was amazing how supportive my leadership team was. They assured me that I could return to ZS whenever I was ready," said Megha. “It gave me peace of mind knowing that I didn’t have to worry about my job during such a challenging time in my personal life.”
Upon her return to ZS, Megha shifted her focus and sought a new challenge in an internal role leading the associate coaching program, which she helped establish, design and roll out in India. As the program grew globally, Megha expanded her role and now leads the Professional Development & Coaching expertise area with ZS’s HR team.
It gave me an opportunity to solve challenges for ZSers and work with leaders to identify professional development opportunities. The program had such a positive impact in India that we expanded it globally in 2017 and are currently piloting the program for ZSers at different levels in the firm.
ZS’s culture encourages openness, communication and flexibility. As a first-time mother, it was hard to choose between work and family when my daughter was sick. During that time, I had a conversation with a principal in India that I'll always be grateful for. The principal was so understanding and helped me determine my priorities. After that conversation, I felt like I could take care of my family and come back to ZS when the time was right. That kind of professional and personal support system is hard to find.
Since my return to ZS, the understanding and flexibility have continued. If I need to work from home occasionally or leave early for family commitments, I don’t feel judged and I know I have my team’s support.
I’ve been involved with the WLI since I joined ZS and it has been a valued forum to network with other ZS women. When I became a mom, I leaned on the WLI to connect with other women facing similar challenges. I am of the first generation of women working in my family, so having women outside of my family in similar situations to talk to is incredibly helpful.
I’ve also found the opportunity to give back to my fellow ZSers through the WLI. I particularly like helping women build confidence in their choices and overcome guilt we have as working moms.
Vidhya knew during the ZS interview process that she wanted to be a ZSer.
"The people were exceptionally nice, and I liked that the work involved critical thinking and problem-solving,” said Vidhya. “ZS’s core values – get it right, treat people right and do the right thing – also resonated with me. Although seemingly simple, they are powerful and fundamental to how our firm operates."
She joined the firm in 2010 and began working on incentive compensation projects. After seven years with the firm Vidhya welcomed her daughter into the world and took an eight-month maternity leave before returning to ZS.
Over the years, Vidhya has worked in consulting, analytics, forecasting and epidemiology research at ZS. Her latest endeavor is helping expand ZS’s pipeline and launch strategy work as the India practice area lead.
"As my ZS journey progressed, my life journey also progressed," Vidhya said. "Neither stopped the other from happening."
It was smooth. I took on a new role upon my return, so there was a bit of a learning curve. I was able to work on projects with ZSers I worked with in my previous role, which helped me adjust. ZS has helped me be the mother that I want to be by providing flexibility and giving me confidence to set boundaries. If I want to spend time with my daughter in the evening, my teams understand that I'm unavailable and will log back on after her bedtime to finish my work.
The WLI aims is to help women build successful, long-term careers, and really follows through on that goal. Not only have I learned so much from the women involved in the WLI, but I've had the opportunity to give back by coaching other women. We'll meet for coffee and have informal conversations about things that are on our mind. The presence of the WLI affirms that ZS values the women of our firm and is committed to creating an inclusive environment where we can succeed.