Sangeeta JatiaNEW VOICES GLOBAL CHAIRPERSON
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    The New Voices Team

    PID Sangeeta Jatia

    It was the year 2002 – when I was planning to become a District Governor. In my naïveté I believed that to be a leader I must act and behave like a man! Would anyone follow me if I looked like a woman? In my zest to become a forceful leader, I ordered jackets. In a country where women normally wear sarees or Kurtas, I wanted to show authority by wearing a suit! I also started throwing my voice so that I would be perceived as a leader. My style became aggressive, and I thought I had arrived! I started spitting figures and backslapping friends.

    But as I worked in this organisation, I realised I could be equally powerful without a jacket. Lions were not impressed because I was mimicking men. They looked up to me because I brought different ideas to the table. They appreciated the small things we did that eventually made a big difference. They noticed a good idea, even if it came from a feminine voice.

    That was the day I consciously worked at behaving more like a woman. I gave up wearing suits at Lions functions in our country, where the culture and climate do not allow it. Stories replaced the statistics – I was becoming more like myself.

    I became more at peace with myself. I stopped competing with men – knowing full well that they would naturally act and behave differently. I aired my views without trying to fit in. Being authentic was liberating!

    I would urge you to be yourself. This organisation needs the feminine touch. It needs innovative and creative ideas – it needs a mind change!

    To me this is what New Voices is all about – speaking our mind, using our unique capabilities and being ourselves. Let us celebrate being a woman. Let us celebrate our differences and let us make these differences our strength as we move in the next century of service!