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My Aim Is to Increase Consciousness & Acceptance For Women In Corporate World: Prativa Mohapatra, Adobe India

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Prativa Mohapatra, VP and MD, Adobe India, talks about leadership positions and more

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Kudos to Prativa Mohapatra, VP and MD, Adobe India for shattering glass ceilings and inspiring women across the globe to take up more such business leadership positions. She is truly an epitome of ‘whom to hire as a leader,’ and her business acumen of leading many other IT brands has brought her to this position. There is indeed a lot to know about, her working style and what is planning on to bring to the table, hence BW People got into a candid conversation with to throw light upon all these aspects.

Taking over the reins for Adobe, and being crowned as the first woman in lead, how does it feel to have achieved this milestone?
As diversity and inclusion become core to every forward-thinking organization’s values today, it is exciting to see that parity extends across various dimensions of the corporate world. Specifically, it’s great to see such companies move beyond gender or backgrounds and shift the focus to real-world skills and capabilities.

Considering the current industry landscape, Adobe is uniquely positioned as an enabler for everyone — students, creative artists, small businesses, government agencies, and the largest brands — to design and deliver standout digital experiences. In this current digital-first world, Adobe’s market-leading technologies across Experience Cloud, Creative Cloud, and Document Cloud are seeing strong momentum world over.

I’m excited to bring my 25 plus years of industry experience into Adobe and look forward to leading its hyper-growth charter in India. I’m passionate about evangelizing the role technology can play in enabling lives all around and can’t think of a better organization than Adobe to build on this.

Leading such a giant IT house at the time of the pandemic, how challenging do you think this role will be for you? Was it a wise step to adorn the leadership hat in times where most of the leaders have not been able to perform at their best, even those who have been named veterans in their fields?
All big opportunities merit bold moves and yield the best rewards.

We are experiencing the largest health crisis of our generation, and during this time, digital experiences have played a vital role in making every aspect of our lives possible – including keeping families and co-workers connected, enabling new ways of learning, powering digital commerce, and ensuring continuity of essential business operations. During such a time, Adobe’s mission to change the world through digital experiences has never been more relevant than now.

Adobe Creative Cloud is empowering everyone with a story to tell - whether it is a student uploading his video assignment, or a small business owner designing a website. In a world where work needs to be done from anywhere and with anyone, Adobe Document Cloud is accelerating document productivity and digital documents. As accelerated digital transformation becomes fundamental to the long-term strategy and progress of every business, Adobe Experience Cloud is powering great digital experiences and ensuring business continuity.

Coming in to lead Adobe’s India business at such an inflection point, I am thrilled at the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead.

What, in your opinion, is the biggest challenge for the next generation of female leaders here in Asia?
As the world steadily moves towards being more diverse and inclusive, it is fantastic to see incredible opportunities for people of all backgrounds to step up and showcase their potential, including women.

Historically, the progression of women to leadership roles has been undoubtedly slow. While the optimist in me is drawn towards the increasing consciousness and acceptance for women in the corporate world, I am thrilled to see more and more women taking charge of their own leadership journeys. Whether it is women filling corporate leadership roles, taking the leap to become entrepreneurs, or simply following their personal passions - the next decade will be all about celebrating diversity in leaders across the corporate world and beyond.

Transformational Leadership Style, according to research, is the most common female leadership style and has strong communal aspects. What’s yours, kindly explain.

There’s one thing common between life and leadership, and that is constant transformation. My goal is to further build upon our stellar teams at Adobe India and take the business to its next level of growth - with passion, pride, and purpose – all in equal measures.

How do you plan on making a difference in your leadership style, in comparison to the rest?
My leadership style is driven by my passion for building strong businesses and teams. 

On the business side, I’m laser-focused on propelling the business through a deep focus on our customers and propagating how digital technology innovations can help them advance their goals. On this mission to advance Adobe’s next phase of hyper-growth in India, I looking forward to collaborating with other leaders and team members from across the company to strengthen our collective impact. Most of all, I will focus on building a team of diverse leaders on a model based on trust, empowerment, and respect, driven by a common purpose.

Finally, while the global health crisis has taught us all resilience, it has also been a reminder of how empathy and wellness at the workplace are more important than ever before. It is my goal to actively stand for and support the well-being of our people.

You seem to have come a long way; do you recall any biases or assumptions made about you? Also, how did you overcome those biases that provoked you to keep moving ahead?

Women's empowerment is key to every country's social and economic development. However, women have traditionally been labelled with certain personality traits that have led to general biases and assumptions about their competencies that have slowed their journey in the corporate world. 

Apart from putting in hard work, I’ve personally drawn strength from role modelling the trait of ‘empathy’ at work and always reaped long-term benefits from leveraging its salient power.

Originally from Odisha – I’ve always taken pride in my roots and felt encouraged by my family to follow my dreams and be my authentic self.

How do you unplug yourself from work and maintain a perfect work-life balance?
I believe in the mantra that ‘a healthy mind stays in a healthy body’ and therefore make it a point to focus on my fitness regime and spend time reading on a daily basis. I’m also very intentional about taking regular time-offs to have downtime with my family.

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