While I’m a hardcore geek and technology enthusiast, I believe – sometimes, we just need to take a step back and focus on more important issues around us.
Equality, diversity and inclusion are challenges worldwide and India is no exception. Therefore, when I was provided an opportunity to moderate a panel discussion featuring the likes of Tony Prophet (Salesforce – Chief Equality Officer) at Bangalore Developer User Group (the largest Salesforce Developer Group worldwide), I instantly said ‘Yes’.
It was a memorable meetup – a full house with standing-room only and I’m glad that everyone enjoyed and found the panel discussion meaningful. Here’s a quick recap of the discussion.
I’ve moderated a number of panel discussions over the last few years. However, this one was different – the panelists were from diverse backgrounds and talking about a subject such as ‘equality’ in a country of unequals (No denying that!) is as tricky as it sounds.
Here’s a quick bio of the panelists (in no particular order)
Tony Prophet – Chief Equality Officer at Salesforce, he’s been instrumental in driving the equality movement in the Silicon Valley
Shweta Rajpal Kohli – Director, Government Affairs at Salesforce. With stints in media and Uber, she’s covered more bases than one can imagine in a lifespan
Rajdeep Dua – Director, Developer Relations at Salesforce. He and his team have been the public face of Salesforce in India since the last few years
Radhika Bansal – Pune WIT Leader and speaker at Salesforce World Tours. She’s one of the most hard working and inspirational WIT leaders in India.
Sushma Tiwaari – Bangalore User Group Leader, she’s a vocal proponent of the Business Analyst community in the Salesforce ecosystem
Shalini RV – Lead consultant with a diverse experience across multiple verticals
Harini Nandakuru – Project Manager, returned to India after several years in US, working mom
Mitul Patel – Ahmedabad WIT Leader, Consultant
I believe the best panel discussions are the ones which do not have a set agenda – otherwise things tend to be monotonous and often appear staged. Keeping that principle in mind, the panelists were given only certain guidelines without sharing the specific details of how the discussion would unfold.
The objective was to understand equality challenges as they relate to India and learn from Tony’s (and other panelist) experiences on how to tackle these in our day to day lives.
Of course, it was a long day and with Bangalore traffic fury at it’s mightiest, a dose of humour was much needed to keep the discussion alive and kicking.
Although the discussion focused on equality, we did bring up sensitive issues such as diversity, inclusion and gender bias – both at the workplace and in the Indian society in general.
It was great to see the audience completely involved and a collective effort to focus on doing good for everyone. All in all, a well spent evening on a subject which needs a lot more attention & debate!
Thanks to Bangalore Developer Group team (Abhilash, Madan, Kishor) for organising this meetup and inviting me to moderate the panel discussion!