Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Neeta Murthy, the visionary founder of Rekindle, a groundbreaking professional development program tailored for women in the corporate world.
In this illuminating discussion, Neeta shares her remarkable journey from the challenging terrain of offshore oil rigs in Canada, India, and Egypt to becoming the Vice President of South-East Asia.
Recognizing the unique struggles women face in the workplace, Neeta founded Rekindle to empower and uplift women, helping them navigate and overcome the obstacles that hinder their professional growth.
As we delve into this candid conversation, Neeta reflects on the pivotal moments that led to the creation of Rekindle and its profound impact on women employees.
From addressing the pervasive issues of self-doubt to transforming workplace dynamics, Neeta sheds light on the critical role her program plays in fostering gender equality.
Join us as we explore the intricacies of Neeta Murthy’s entrepreneurial journey, her insights on thriving in the current business landscape, and her unwavering commitment to reshaping the future of women in leadership roles.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Neeta Murthy: Hi, I’m Neeta Murthy. I’m the founder of Rekindle, a professional development program designed specifically for women employees. I started my career as a field engineer working on offshore oil rigs in Canada, India, and Egypt, and then rose to eventually become the VP of South-East Asia.
The further up I rose and the more employees I managed and mentored, I noticed how women had to constantly navigate barriers at the workplace that their male peers didn’t have to deal with.
For example, I noticed that bright, talented women would continually sell themselves short, decline promotions that they thought they “couldn’t deliver on”, or hold themselves back from speaking in meetings even when they had great ideas to put forward.
That’s when I realized that women tend to be very hard on themselves, mostly as a result of social conditioning. Every woman faces these challenges not realizing that other women go through the same challenges – it can be hard and isolating.
So after close to two decades of corporate experience, I founded Rekindle four years ago to help women navigate these challenges and thrive in the workplace. It has been exciting, and I’m looking forward to helping more companies develop their women to make the most of their potential!
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Neeta Murthy: For us, the biggest achievement is the impact that we have on companies and their women employees – it’s what keeps us going! In the last year for instance, one of our most heart-warming moments was when we were presenting impact metrics to a company’s top management whose women had just completed the Rekindle program, and the CHRO said, “You don’t need to show me all these metrics – I have seen the impact myself.
We now have women coming forward and asking for jobs they wouldn’t have even asked for when they were a good fit, they’re taking more risks and impacting the business in a positive way, they’re voicing their opinions and contributing to the decisions being made… I see the impact playing out in front of me, so I know this is working.”
That was just everything we’ve been striving to achieve. We also have video testimonials from the women employees telling us how the program helped them, and when you see that what you’ve created is having a real impact like that, there’s nothing more precious.
What advice do you wish you had received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Neeta Murthy: When I started the company, one of the things I took for granted was that I assumed that companies recognized that women face specific challenges at the workplace, and I thought my job would be to help them address that with Rekindle.
Instead, what I’ve found was that most companies are in fact at a much earlier stage of awareness when it comes to women-specific challenges. Even those who are aware of the challenges women face focus on solutions like unconscious bias training to address it.
The problem with that approach is that it could take decades before we see any change, if at all. Instead, we need to equip women to navigate these challenges. If every woman pushes the boundaries around her through her interactions at work and outside of it, that’s when we’ll see change happening much faster.
So our focus for the coming months is really to take companies through this awareness before they can even be ready to look for a solution.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Neeta Murthy: For one, the biggest benefit we see is access to expertise and talent. We built the program through COVID lockdowns, and in fact didn’t find it to be a constraint because it opened up access to experts around the world whom we could efficiently collaborate with, which is why we have a really high-quality product.
We worked with domain experts in the US, copywriters in Canada, admin staff in the Philippines, an IT team in India, Sales partners in the US, designers in Bulgaria, behavioral scientists in the US, audio-visual team in Canada – it is amazing how you can access the best talent now across the world to grow your business.
And the other aspect is access to clients. Clients can now have a quick virtual chat to see if what you have to offer is something they’re interested in, rather than commit to an in-person meeting that can really eat into their time. So I think the world has become a lot more efficient and I think it’s a boon for start-ups!
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Neeta Murthy: One of the big challenges we see is to help clients see the value in equipping their women with the skills to navigate the workplace the way it is currently set up and have each of their women employees make the workplace a better place for women through the daily interactions they have.
Often clients think the way to improve gender diversity is by working on the system, for example, by doing unconscious bias training. But research has shown that this approach doesn’t work and could in fact further hurt the organization.
So for us, the real challenge is to educate companies on measuring the ROI of their efforts and helping them see the value in investing in their women instead.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Neeta Murthy: What I learned through the pandemic is that opportunity lies everywhere – it’s up to us to challenge the status quo and look for new ways of doing things that the new environment makes possible.
So instead of worrying about how something that has always been done a certain way can’t be done anymore and fighting to still try to do it the same way, it’s important to open your mind and look for other ways of achieving your goals – and there will almost always be another way.
That would be my learning from the last few years, and what I would advise my fellow founders.
What does “success” in 2023 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Neeta Murthy: Success for me, in 2023 or any other year really, would be to get Rekindle into the hands of many more women, so women can feel confident claiming their rightful place in society.
My vision would be for women to be in fifty percent of all decision-making roles globally, and play an equal part in shaping our society for future generations.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Neeta Murthy for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Neeta Murthy or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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