Effective Networking and Personal Development for Young Women Leaders

Session Report
Reetwika Mallick

The Gender Impact Studies Center, at IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi conducted a Two-Month Online National Winter School Program on ‘Young Women Leaders in Public Policy Fellowship’ from January 6th, 2024 to March 8th 2024.

The course, spread over two months, provided a unique opportunity to gain in-depth insight into public policy. The course led by esteemed experts, empowered young women to be effective leaders. Through a combination of engaging lectures, interactive workshops, networking, guidance by thematic experts and practical exercises.

On day 7 of the ‘Young Women Leaders in Public Policy Fellowship’, Ms. Anna Usha Abraham, Former Director, Mukand Engineers Ltd. and former Chief, Corporate Communication Mukand Ltd. discussed in length the basic ingredients to enrich our life and ensure personal development.

What is Personal Development and How to Achieve-

Ms. Abraham commenced the session by elucidating the concept of personal development. She explained the general assumption of positivity towards the notion of personal development. Ms. Abraham defined personal development as transforming into a sincere and knowledgeable human being. She also enumerated that career development and personal development, however, cannot be equated, since career development can be one of the consequences of personal development.

Taking the session forward, Ms. Abraham outlined the steps one can undertake for personal development. The first and foremost step, as Ms. Abraham explained, is to develop a value system. This value system one has to follow and pursue throughout one’s life.

As an esteemed expert in the field, Ms. Abraham specified the next step for personal growth be writing down the goals to be achieved in the coming two or three years. Ms. Abraham, however clarified that these goals are not for a lifetime and we can alter them according to our desires and needs.

Listing down the priorities is the third step towards personal growth according to Ms. Abraham. The priorities, like the goals, may also change over time depending on the phase of life one is going through. Ms. Abraham, in the session, emphasized upon introspecting one’s activities and attitude. Introspection, according to Ms. Abraham develops clarity in life.

Delineating the skills required for personal development, Ms. Abraham explained the importance of being curious and thoroughly reading literature on the field of interest. Summarising the skills, Ms. Abraham listed down reading, listening, experiencing new things and exposure to diverse ideologies as ingredients for personal growth. Ms Abraham also explained the importance of acquiring diversity of information by having conversations with people from various walks of life. Travelling, according to Ms. Abraham also provides an avenue for new experiences. Ms. Abraham also emphasized the importance of being well groomed and having a positive attitude towards oneself.

In the session Ms. Abraham traced the essentiality of introspection and also outlined the ways of introspecting. Writing new experiences and learning will enhance the ability to understand the shortcomings of oneself. Ms. Abraham elucidated the ways in which one can examine whether the shortcomings would require attention and need to be worked upon. As an expert, Ms. Abraham delineated the importance of tracking the short-term goals.

The positive consequences of personal development were traced by Ms. Abraham in the session. Better communication, inter-personal skills, conflict resolution, organisational skill and problem-solving skills were some of the important and essential transformations that accompany personal development.

Effective Networking for Women-

Ms. Abraham elucidated the mis-conception of portraying networking as a negative skill. Networking, according to Ms. Abraham is building contacts and having acquaintances. Networks can be both social and professional, according to Ms. Abraham. In the session, Ms. Abraham also traced the history of networking explaining the importance of building a network.

Elucidating the advantages of networking, Ms. Abraham mentioned that networking assists in personal growth rather than career enhancement, and personal growth ultimately leads to career enhancement. Networking aids in gaining knowledge of varied experiences of people, thereby making one a sensitive person. Networking, according to Ms. Abraham benefits from having information about the employment positions openings.

Ms. Abraham presented a detailed description of the means of networking in the session. She also explained the necessity for developing networks of women, in order to have strong voices in decision making processes.

Concluding the session, Ms. Abraham outlined four basic ingredients to enrich our lives- personal growth and progress, struggles and trials, happiness and mental and physical well-being.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here:

Leadership Lessons for Young Women in Public Policy


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