On Tuesday March 3rd, in honour of International Women’s Day, Tamil Women Rising hosted LetHERSpeak. The organization aims to inspire and empower women through building connections and storytelling. The event showcased a diverse panel of accomplished Tamil women, each of whom is at the forefront of their field and provided them with a platform to share their experiences.
Alwar Pillai, who recently made Forbes list for 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs, explains that the inspiration for her company came from the need to solve a problem. Pillai is the co-founder of Fable Tech Labs, a company that helps design accessible and inclusive products for people with disabilities who are often marginalized.
Renu Kulendran, the Assistant Deputy Minister, Community Services, shares her experience in the public sector. She explains that one of her biggest challenges was transitioning into a leadership role and advises others to use their fear as energy. Kulendran tries to use her position to ensure hiring practices are more inclusive to benefit from more diverse perspectives.
Bhairavi Shankar, a space scientist uses her research to study the history of planetary surfaces. Shankar reflects on the fact that she was so focused on following her passion that she often did not notice that she was the only woman in the room. She stresses the importance of finding a mentor who can support you.
Filmmaker V.T. Nayani talks about how having an extremely supportive father gave her the courage to dare to do anything and oddly made her a feminist. When asked how male allies can play a role in making the industry more inclusive she said, “Men need to listen and respect our stories and understand that we have authority.” Look for her next film, This Place, now in post-production.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan beat out 15,000 other hopefuls to land the lead on Mindy Kaling’s new Netflix comedy, Never Have I Ever. Ramakrishnan shares that the best advice she has received from Kaling was to stay authentic. When asked what authenticity means to her, she responded, “Never lie and not be shy about who I am or my morals.” Although the official release date is under wraps, Ramakrishnan was able to share that the show would be premiering in April.
A common theme heard throughout the evening among the speakers was that having a strong support system is crucial. Supportive families and mentors helped pave the way for these successful women by giving them the freedom to take risks. In hopes of fostering more of these types of relationships, the night concluded with a networking activity as the attendees broke off into groups for more intimate discussions.
-Event covered by Yusra Salama for TamilCulture.com