Life at ZS

Women@ZS empowers managers as future leaders

By Shriram Tarawade

May 23, 2023 | Article | 3 minute-read

Women@ZS group empowers managers as future leaders

ZS is committed to helping women build their leadership skills and grow as leaders. Women@ZS, a ZSer-led diversity, equity and inclusion group, understands the needs of our women and has a rich array of programming targeted to support women’s growth at different career stages.


One such program is ZS’s Path to Principal (P2P), a leadership development initiative for women managers in India. P2P was designed to equip them with the necessary skills and mindsets for a future leadership role at ZS. The initiative aims to not only create empowered women leaders who are effective and engaged in their roles, but to also increase women’s representation in senior leadership. 

“One can pursue any idea or opportunity at ZS without fearing judgment or pushback. At ZS, I feel like I have the power to carve my journey.”

Pavithra Kannan, Associate Principal

Launched in July 2022, P2P witnessed 19 women ZSers across India participate in workshops, coaching and learning sessions. Alongside the sessions, participants engaged in an internal project with a senior ZS leader assigned as a champion to help them apply the concepts and the learnings to their work. The managers also benefited from the fireside chats on topics such as leadership perspective, executive presence, influencing skills, managing stakeholders and more. The program concluded last month with a grand graduation ceremony for all nineteen managers. 

We asked Pavithra Kannan, associate principal from ZS’s Bengaluru office and one of the P2P participants, to share her experience. She says, “The program catered well to our development needs and addressed biases, helping us to develop holistically. A huge revelation from the program was knowing how my biases keep me confined. We had one-to-one external coaching sessions and I’d like to call out the contribution of my coach, Meenakshi Rajagopal. She empathized with my needs and shared amazing techniques to help me accelerate my efforts to fruition.” 

As one of the leaders in our health plan team, Pavithra is passionate about providing the best quality of care to patients in the healthcare community. Solving complex problems for ZS’s clients and knowing that her work helps improve patient lives motivates her. She tells us, “I firmly believe in the need to continuously reinvent myself to be successful in the corporate world. When I learned about the program, I jumped up to take the opportunity to understand how to play on my strengths and work around my opportunity areas.” 


The program’s positive impact is already visible in terms of more efficient executive presence, better understanding of strengths and focus areas, and the development of a growth mindset among the participants. 


“My biggest takeaway from the program was that I am not alone and that there is a huge community within ZS that I can lean on to discuss my personal and professional dilemmas,” Pavithra affirms.


As a follow-up to the initiative, the respective managers will continue to reflect on their learning, ask for 360-degree feedback from their teams and focus on peer networking.


In addition to the P2P program, Women@ZS enables our women to positively influence ZS’s business and their own careers by offering them support, flexibility and connections through various programs. Pavithra talks about the support structures at ZS that helped her thrive: “ZS has equipped me with multiple avenues such as coaching sessions, mentorship programs, support from my MAT buddy during maternity leave and in general, the flexibility to take care of my professional and personal priorities. The mentorship I received over the years from my team helped me push myself to accomplish more. One can pursue any idea or opportunity at ZS without fearing judgment or pushback. At ZS, I feel like I have the power to carve my journey.” 


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