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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2010 - issue > Woman Achiever

It is Just a Little More Hard Work for a Woman

Vimali Swamy
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Vimali Swamy
She rubbishes the idea of the existence of a glass ceiling and believes that it is just one’s capability and competency that helps one grow in their career. “There is competition everywhere and much more when you climb up the management ladder. We women feel a sense of discrimination only because the higher we grow, the lesser our number becomes. But growing up the managements has nothing to do with one’s gender,” says Shikha Rai, CIO, Canon India. Her career is proof enough to justify her beliefs.

A B.Tech graduate from IIT Kanpur, Shikha started her career working on the transformer shopfloor of BHEL in 1988. Seven years later she made a shift from the public sector to private sector when she joined Bausch and Lomb. Here, she joined the company’s manufacturing plant in Bhiwadi, where as a manger her primary role was to implement MRP system (now ERP) in their manufacturing plant.
The implementation was one of the most successful ones in the industry back then and she received an award from FourthShift Corporation, US, for the same. It was when she was just reeling from the success she had attained that Shikha was approached by Duracell to spearhead a similar project in their manufacturing plant in Manesar. But with in a year the company closed its manufacturing in India she joined Canon India in 2002 and has been there since then.

She joined as IT head and over the years has been entrusted with additional functions of Administration and Quality, Environment, Health & Safety. “The eight year long journey at Canon has been a challenging one. I remember the time when Alan Grant, then the company’s CEO, wanted to establish a strong quality process in the company and apply for a business excellence award given by CII EXIM. Since IT basically automates processes and has a link with all the departments, he thought I was the right person to spearhead the initiative, she remembers.

Shikha was apprehensive initially but took the challenge. This was an organization wide initiative that demanded awareness and co-operation from all departments. Despite various challenges, she successfully carried out the project and the company also got the first level of the CII EXIM award.
Similarly, there was another time when the admin head at Canon had resigned and Shikha was asked to take up the role. Canon was a much smaller organization then but was poised for a tremendous growth. In the last three years, the company has grown by leaps and bounds — opening up several showrooms, camera repair centers and expanding to multiple cities. For Shikha it was literally setting up a new office every quarter. The scope of role as an admin head was too big but she managed it well. Today, Shikha juggles multiple roles handling IT, admin, quality, environment, health and safety. The challenge is tremendous and it can often get stressful, but she has learned to cope up with the fast pace. “Multitasking comes naturally to woman so I’m not surprised at being able to juggle varied responsibilities. Though it is at times stressful but then I enjoy it. It gives a high to do challenging work like this. If it was any slower I may not be motivated to come to office everyday,” says Shikha.
Looking back, Shikha is happy the way her career has shaped up. Though she was little skeptical when she made a shift from the public sector to private sector, today she is happy that she decided to make the change. Work in the public sector can often get very comfortable. Being in the private sector keeps her on her toes all the time and she loves it.

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