Great Lakes Institute of Management Presents Successful Women In Management - SWIM Annual Conference January 21, 2016
Connect Face 2 Face with the Associate Dean, Faculty and Alumni of Great Lakes
Register Now!


SWIM conference 2015

Successful Women In Management (SWIM) annual conference hosted at Great Lakes

Chennai, January 21, 2016: Great Lakes hosted its 10th annual ‘Successful Women in Management (SWIM)’ conference at its campus today. The theme of this year’s conference was – ‘How do Successful Leaders nurture their Personal Brand?’ The one day annual SWIM conference aims to identify and felicitate women who have contributed to the society in significant way in their respective fields.

SWIM 2016 was graced by eminent women business leaders from the industry. Ms. Vinita Bali, Chairperson, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and Former MD, Britannia Industries, along with Dr. Suj Chandrasekhar, Founder, Strategic Insights and Delegates on Vision 2020 were the chief guests for the conference.

Welcoming the gathering, Dr. Bala V Balachandran, Founder, Chairman & Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management, said, “We are extremely thrilled to host Ms Vinita Bali, Dr Suj Chandrashekar and other inspiring women leaders in today’s conference. These women are leaders in their fields and their collective wisdom challenges us all to make the most of our own lives, talents and experiences– in short, to believe in our own power.

Delivering the inaugural address and talking on personal branding, Ms. Vinita Bali said, “It is time to move beyond gender and talk about competence. There is no men or women today, only results matter.” You can be a leader and still be mediocre. Look for authenticity in leadership, your brand gets created on its own, she added.

Delivering the key note address, Dr. Suj Chandrasekhar, remarked, “Regardless of whether you are in college, seeking a job change or making career shifts, personal brand is critical to your long-term growth. Every one of you here has a brand. You have to figure it out, proactively build on it that will attract opportunities.

The key note address was followed by a panel discussion on the conference theme. The panel had experts from various fields – Ms. Aarati Krishnan, Editorial Consultant, Hindu Business Line, Ms. Gowri Mukherjee, CMO and Co-founder, Creditmantri, Ms. Mitu Samar, Founder at Eminence and a Reputation Management expert and Ms. Preetha Subramanian, Associate Director at IFMR Capital Finance Private Limited. The panelists shared their experiences and spoke about various ways through which a personal brand can be built.


SWIM 2014

Great Lakes hosted its annual conference Successful Women in Management (SWIM) on August 13th, 2014. The conference is aimed at identifying & felicitating women who have contributed in great way in their respective fields. The theme of this year’s conference was “Woman Leadership – Better Corporate Governance and Ethics?” Like each year, SWIM 2014 acted as a great forum for successful Indian women from various realms to share their stories and inspire the audience.

The keynote speaker, Ms. Anita Tripathy, President, InVentiv International Pharma Services Pvt. Ltd., instilled the thought that boundaries exist only in our minds. Ms. Gouthami, actress and entrepreneur emphasized on doing things that interest one and not yielding to peer or societal pressure.

The key note speeches were followed by a panel discussion on the conference theme which was moderated by Prof. Hema Bajaj of Great Lakes. The panel had great women achievers from various fields - Ms. Preethy Unnikrishnan – Head, Campus Recruitment at Tata Consultancy Services, Ms. Seema Raghunath - Head Leadership Devolopment, John Deere India and Ms. Sharda Batra - Director – HR, Morgan Stanley, Ms. Kalki Subramanian – Founder, Sahodari Foundation.

All the esteemed panelists shared their experiences and spoke about the innumerable benefits women bring to the boardroom table. They also answered the students’ questions, offering their valuable suggestions and insights, gained from their individual experiences.

SWIM Photo Gallery 2014


SWIM 2013

Theme: "If Women ruled the corporate world"

“History abounds with examples of kings and great leaders who ruled the world.  Although history has never failed to portray the transformation consorted by great men, it squarely overlooks the contribution made by great women of world.  A lot has changed after then, not so much in terms of acknowledgment of women’s contribution but in terms of their enormous contribution to the society. With women conquering responsible positions in the arena of politics, society and boardroom, their contributions and ideals are becoming an integral part of the corporate culture.

With this as the central idea, Great Lakes institute of Management organized it's annual SWIM conference on September 4, 2013.

In her inaugural address, Smt. Renuka Ramnath, Founder & Managing Director, Multiples Alternate Asset Management spoke about the changes that organizations are trying to implement in terms of having a fair ratio of woman employees in the work place. She also added that woman have now starting exploring arenas which was once considered only by men.

The next key note speaker for the day, Smt. Nirmala Menon, Founder and CEO, Interweave Consulting, Bangalore, spoke about the leadership qualities that woman possess. Ms. Nirmala said that woman have a differentiated leadership style which brings a lot of variety to the organization.



1335 – 1340

Inauguration and SWIM Introduction
Dr. S.K. Shanthi,
Chair Professor, Union Bank Center for Banking Excellence, Great Lakes Institute of Management

1347 – 1355

Welcome Address 
Dr. Bala V Balachandran,
Founder & Dean, Great Lakes Institute of Management

1355 – 1430

Inaugural Address
Smt. Renuka Ramnath,
Founder, Managing Director & CEO 
Multiples Alternate Asset Management

1430 – 1500

Keynote Address
Smt. Nirmala Menon,
Founder and CEO,
Interweave Consulting, Bangalore

1500 - 1520

Special Address by Dr. Usha Sriram, Founder, ACEER Health

1520 – 1525 Vote of Thanks
Prof. Sriram
Executive Director, Great Lakes Institute of Management
1535 – 1700



Prof. Sanjoy Sircar, 
Director PGPM, Professor of Finance, 
Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai


  • Ms. Amisha Sethi
    Chief Commercial Officer, AirAsia India
  • Ms. Aanchal Rathee
    Founder of Capital “I” Personal Branding Studio
  • Ms. Rajeshwari Aradhyula
    VP Client Services, Fractal Analytics
  • Ms. Hema Rao
    Vice President – Servicetec (TVS Group)
  • Ms. Gowri Kailasam
    President , Rane (Madras) Limited

1700 onwards - Event closing/High Tea/Departures

SWIM 2013 Photos


SWIM 2012

Theme: “Do you have to be an Iron lady to be successful?”

Year 2012 marked the 6th year for the prestigious Annual conference. The conference, organized at the Great Lakes’ Campus was graced by some of the esteemed Women in Business today.

The event was successful in reminding the attendees that ‘Impossible is nothing’; more so, for the strong willed women of today, who are the thoughts of their mothers and grandmothers, embodied, and made alive. They are active, capable, determined and bound to win. They have one thousand generations to back them up, And millions of women; long dead and gone are speaking through them today.

The guests who graced the occasion and etched their profound words and thoughts it into everyone’s minds were:

  • Dr. Mallika Sarabhai – Dancer, Choreographer, Activist, Writer, Actor
  • Ms. Nisaba Godrej, President, Human Capital and Innovation, Godrej Industries
  • Dr. Mangalam Srinivasan, Distinguished professor of Management and Director – China Study Center, Great Lakes Institute of Management
  • Ms. Ruzan Khambhatta, Director – N Wave Tech Pvt. Ltd.
  • Ms. Latha Rajan, Director – Ma Foi Strategic Consultants Pvt. Ltd.
  • Ms. Mubina Ansari, Walt Disney/NDTV
  • Ms. Susmita Dasgupta, Founder and Chief Ideator, Smart iDeAS

The conference began with Dr. Bala’s welcome address in which he expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the dignitaries who graced the occasion and was followed by the keynote speaker’s take on this year’s theme.

Dr. Mallika Sarabhai was at her pragmatic best. She encouraged women to bring about a paradigm shift in their lives by challenging the archaic and pre-conceived notions of the society and to look beyond the inevitable cycle of family-responsibilities-marriage-kids. She shared her secret to happiness and asked everyone to do ‘Aatmamanthan’ to decide what they really wanted in life, define success for themselves rather than following anyone else’s definition and to spend their lives doing exactly what they wanted to in order to be satisfied.

Next in line was the charismatic Ms. Nisaba Godrej who made an instant connection with the audience by being her honest self and set benchmarks for the budding women managers with her thought provoking advices. She started by citing Malcolm Gladwell’s 10000-hour rule and reinforced the importance of hard work by saying that it is our effort that really counts and NOT the gender. She also spoke about pursuing one’s passion with grit and determination and about learning the art of maintaining balance and advised women to marry well as family’s support post marriage had the power of making or breaking ones career. Ms. Nisaba ended her speech with Bono’s quote, ‘As a rock star, I have two instincts, I want to have fun, and I want to change the world. I have a chance to do both’.

After the keynote address, it was time for an interesting Panel discussion on “Do you have to be an Iron woman to succeed?” by the other dignitaries. Dr. Mangalam Srinivasan was the moderator of the panel discussion and emphasized on the importance of respecting women for what they were by citing real life examples. She also reiterated the importance of being strong and loud enough to be heard for a woman and set the ball rolling for the panelists.

First in line was the live wire Ms. Ruzan Khambatta who shared her unique perspectives on life and asked the audience to think out of the box and to either do what they liked or to like what they did in order to be happy in life.

Next was Ms. Mubina Ansari who made the audience contemplate on the notions of the society through her wonderful thoughts on leveraging the female advantage to one’s benefit. Mubina encouraged everyone to build their own brands by differentiating themselves from the rest and admonished the audience to “Give it all you have and don’t leave (the job) till you have actually left (the workplace)”.

Ms. Latha Rajan donned her robe of inspiration and insisted on being a ‘Steel Woman’ as she firmly believed that women epitomize strength throughout their lives and are as rust free and strong as steel is. She asked the women to create an ambiance of success for their own selves rather than waiting for others to do it for them.

Ms. Susmita Das Gupta, a Great Lakes Alumnus shared her journey so far as an entrepreneur and how Great Lakes helped her achieve her goals. She motivated the audience to work hard, and to give their best shot to achieve real success in life.

Susmita’s address was followed by a vote of thanks by Prof. Sriram, which marked the end of another mega event of SWIM in Great Lakes but not before our Uncle Bala took to the stage and drove a significant point home.

Uncle Bala said that SWIM is not just about women but the society as a whole and asked the men in the audience to stop being complacent and to wake up. Otherwise, he said, it wouldn’t be long before the women overtook them in each and every field and Great Lakes would have to start organizing SMIM – Successful Men in Management in not so distant future!

Video Gallery

SWIM 2012 Photos


SWIM 2011

Theme: “Women redefining the Management Quotient”

Successful Women in Management (SWIM) 2011The 5th annual SWIM conference had successful women managers and entrepreneurs in their respective fields and enlightened students on leadership, multitasking, the need for thinking out of the box and much more. One of the key note discussed during the event was about woman bringing more ethics in Business. More women in leadership bring more ethic in business as the ability of tolerance for women to compromise is far less than men.

The esteemed panelists:

  • Dr. Lalita Balakrishnan, Director - MBA programme and Vice Principal for MOP Vaishnav College for Women
  • Dr. Kiranmai Pendyala, Head - HR AMD and former Associate Business Director of center of leadership and excellence at ISB
  • Ms. Geeta Arora, Head HR in British Counsel - India
  • Ms. Shweta Jayshankar, Successful entrepreneur and Model, former Femina Miss India International ’98 and runners up at Miss International pageant at Tokyo
  • Ms. Sandhya Shekhar, Chief Executive Officer at IIT Madras Research Park.

Ms. Shivasankar with Dr.BalaDr. Lalita Balakrishnan was the moderator of the panel discussion and cited out objectives on changes in the way of leadership and management practiced earlier. She invited all other guest speakers to present their opinion on the topic.

Then Dr. Kiranmayi shared small incidents, puzzles and stories which indicated her ideas and beliefs. She talked about the need for thinking out of box, to look beyond the paradigm and to start expanding our horizons. She also said that there is a need to refrain ourselves from the measurement and figures of contribution. It is about contributing and not about worrying what difference will it make in overall.

Ms. Geeta Arora presented her thoughts through a presentation. Starting with appreciating the number of women in our B-School and then cited some statistics suggesting the recent growth of women in various segments of professional workforce. However, she also mentioned that if we take an organization as a pyramid, the number of women in the bottom part is high enough; 20% of these women executives reach the middle part and at the top, one will find only 2-3% of women leaders. She also talked about the fact that now no leverage is given in the organization due to gender. She believed that men and women have complimentary styles of leadership and both are needed in an organizational set up. She stressed that today’s companies are creating environments which provide opportunities for different thought processes and fitting in the complimentary styles of working.

Ms. Tanya Dubash with Dr.BalaMs. Shweta Jayshankar expressed her nostalgia about B-school life. She talked about the generalizations made about women in various fields and the fact that the women need to contend with all these generalizations. She summed up by stating two main points: Firstly, “We should work as women to our advantage. Responsibility, multitasking are some natural assets to women and ethics come naturally to us.

Last but not the least, Ms. Sandhya Shekhar presented her views stating very clearly and firmly her belief that men and women are not equal and are not meant to be equal as they both have their own strengths and shortcomings. She said “It is more about equivalence of men and women than equality”.

The second half of the conference began with a key note address by Uncle Bala, Founder and Dean Great Lakes Institute of Management who talked about the ultimate leader being our own mother. He also shared some strengths and learning from his mother and stating her as a true leader and expressed his gratitude to her

Ms. Sivaraman with Dr.BalaMs. Tanya Dubash, Executive Director and President - Marketing, Godrej Group spoke about the recent trends citing statistics from various referrals indicating the strong emergence of women in almost all the fields. She also talked about how a good team is made. In her opinion a good team is not just made if the best talent is put together. Rather, diversity is needed to make a good team. She also spoke about the dual role of women saying that Indian women according to statistics are the most ambitious in the world.

Thereafter Ms. Srimati ShivaShankar and Ms. Rama Sivaraman shared their views on the theme followed by a discussion between students and the guests. This marked the successful end of a mega event.


SWIM 2011 Photos


SWIM 2010

Theme: "Women as Transformational Leaders - Academics, Business and Society"

The esteemed guest speakers shared their views on the role of woman and Woman as a transformational leader.

The Chief guests list:

  • Ms. Sheela Rani Chunkath, IAS, Chairperson, TamilNadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC)
  • Ms. Jaya Vaidhyanathan, Technology head, Scope International
  • Mr. Kannan P Srinivasan, Owner, Independent Consulting Solutions.
  • Ms. Vinita Bali, Managing Director, Britannia Industries.
  • Mr. T.N. Seshan,10th Chief Election Commissioner of India.

Ms. Sheela Rani shared her administrative experiences through her stint as an IAS officer. She has been a transformational leader truly, in reviving the lives of women working in quarry in Pudukottai, Tamil Nadu and showing them a way to earn. She has stressed on women to live independently and take decisions for a brighter and happier future. SWIM awarded Ms. Sheela Rani for her tremendous achievement and contribution to the society in her own sphere.

Successful Women in Management (SWIM) 2011

Ms. Jaya Vaidhyanathan is a corporate woman who has been in investment banking from the early days of her career. She emphasized on how she has able to scale heights despite her career demands and the fast paced life and how a woman needs to network to keep herself moving in career and maintain relations.

Successful Women in Management (SWIM) 2011

Mr. Kannan P Srinivasan, shared experiences of his colleague who has transformed his business and was emphasizing on why identifying the talent in a woman and respecting and trusting them is important for a work to be done. He was appreciating the progress of woman from earlier times.

Successful Women in Management (SWIM) 2011

Ms. Vinita Bali talked on the various aspects of leadership, why we need to introspect and act, what the qualities of successful leaders are and mainly about the keeping the value system intact. It was a spellbound talk leaving many thoughts and questions to ponder. SWIM awarded Ms. Vinita Bali for her tremendous achievement and contribution to the society.

Successful Women in Management (SWIM) 2011


SWIM 2010 Photos


SWIM 2009

Theme: Women at the top – breaking the glass ceiling - (Three Es of their success)

Successful Women in Management (SWIM) was hosted on August 26, 2009. The objective of the event was to highlight the role of women in the corporate world and learn from their experiences.

Highlights of SWIM 2009

  • Address by Chief guest – Ms. Kiran Majumdar Shaw
  • Address by 3 key note speakers around the umbrella theme
  • "Power puff sessions" involving eminent women from varied domains.

Dignitaries at SWIM

  • Ms. Kiran Majumdar
  • CMD, Biocon Limited
  • Ms. Radhika Sarathkumar
  • Creative Director, Radaan Mediaworks (I) Limited
  • Ms. Anita Gupta
  • Senior Vice President and Managing Partner JWT
  • Ms. Renuka Krishna
  • Vice President HR, KPIT Cummins
  • Ms. Amberin Memon
  • Vice President - Global Head Insurance Vertical, Hexaware Technologies Limited
  • Ms. Priya Srinivasan
  • Founder Priya Srinivasan CPA & Asst. General Manager, Sundaram Business Services
  • Ms. Sowmya Haran
  • Director, Alchemy Urban Systems Pvt. Ltd.
  • Ms. Kalpana Antaraman
  • CEO, Avion
  • Ms. Baagyalakshmi N
  • Director Sales South division, OOH Media
  • Ms. Satyavati Berera
  • Executive Director, PWC
  • Ms. Saundarya Rajesh
  • Founder - President, AVTAR Career Creators
  • Ms. Nishta Shukla
  • Founder, Pen Pundit (Consulting Editorial Firm)


    Photogallery of SWIM 2009


    SWIM 2008

    Theme: "Women as Trailblazers: Dreaming, Exploring and Discovering new horizons"

    Following the success of SWIM in 2007, Great Lakes organized its second SWIM event on the theme 'Women as Trailblazers: Dreaming, Exploring and Discovering new horizons'. The day-long event was organized at Hotel Green Park, presided by Ms. Anu Aga, former chairperson of Thermax. Padmasri Sudha Raghunathan - Noted Carnatic Vocalist, Ms. Mridula Ramesh of Sundaram Textiles and Ms. Hemu Ramaiah, Founder of Landmark were also present at the event as chief guests.

    The distinguished guests discussed at length about the success women have achieved in the field of management.

    Ms. Anu Aga in her address said that it was important to balance professional responsibilities and personal life and emphasized on Vipasana - The art of living.

    Ms. Sudha Raghunathan talked about her journey to becoming a maestro in classical music. She discussed the challenges faced during her journey and how she won over them.

    Ms. Hemu Ramaiah opined that it is important to think out of the box to reach "the other side" and achieve success. She elaborated on the lessons learnt in running an entrepreneurial venture. According to her, entrepreneurs must plan when to start and exit a business.

    Ms. Mridula Ramesh talked about four success enablers for women - role models, proving early competence in a language known by competitors, courage, and family support.

    There was also a panel discussion on – 'Educated, Intelligent, Energetic and Just in her forties – can she still pursue her career dreams?' This was moderated by Mr. T. N. Seshan, Former CEC of India.

    Panel Discussion members:

    • Ms. Pushpa Kandaswamy, Noted TV shows producer
    • Ms. Indra Subramanyam, MD, Ehrlich Lab
    • Ms. Lalitha Maheswaran, HR Consultant
    • Ms. Sarda Ramani, president of C I Global Solutions

    Mr. Seshan introduced the theme, and enraptured the audience with his characteristic witty remarks throughout the discussion.

    Ms. Indra Subramanyam stated that desire is what takes women towards their goals. She also said that for a country to prosper, men and women must work together without compromising on domestic life.

    Ms. Pushpa Kandaswamy said that relations were more important than numbers. She vehemently supported the theme and emphasized that women are adaptable, efficient and capable of multi-tasking.

    According to Ms. Sarda, determination and grit are important and even if one were to take a break in professional life, one can still get back as and when one feels like, and make the best out of it.

    Ms. Lalitha, a visiting faculty at Great Lakes, addressed the women in the audience and advised them to define success for themselves, and not neglect their own selves. She said every decision taken will have its own consequences, it is important to make a choice and live by it.

    This was followed by an open house session where the audience, comprising of the distinguished guests, students and faculty, posed a variety of questions related to women's lives and their career orientation.

    Founder and Honorary Dean of Great Lakes, Dr. Bala V. Balachandran and Executive Director of PGPM at Great Lakes Prof. S. Sriram were also present on the occasion. Dr. Bala V. Balachandran in his address spoke about the need for women to pursue their dreams in spite of obstacles on their path.

    Towards the end there was a Quiz Competition organized: "Les Quizerables" - A competition between various Corporates and colleges. There was a total prize money of Rs. 35,000.

    Mr. Vinod Ganesh conducted this quiz competition. He has conducted many other such competitions like the annual 'QFI Open Quiz' and the 'Infosys Corporate Quiz' in 2006. He has won Lone Wolf quizzes at IIT Madras' Saarang, REC Trichy's Festember and won the annual Grand master quiz at the Quiz Foundation of India, Chennai.


    SWIM 2008 Photos


    SWIM 2007

    Theme: "The New Age Woman: Redefining Power, Success and Compassion"

    The event started with a welcome address by Uncle Bala, who also paid his tribute to his Mother, Mother Teresa and Mata Amritanandamayi. He said these were the key people behind his inspiration to start SWIM.

    The need for self-confidence, work-life balance, emotional strength, dedication and the constant hunger for success are some key highlights of the discussion.

    Dr. Kiran Bedi was the keynote speaker who symbolized the strength and courage of women that is still largely untapped in India. Her passion to communicate the importance of leadership to the soon-to-be MBA graduates was simply inspiring. Dr Bedi told the next generation business leaders that women must aspire to acquire the 3M’s (muscle, mobility, and money) of men and nurture their own three H’s (Humanity, Healing touch and Compassionate heart) in order to be equal to men if not surpass them in today’s society.

    Apart from Dr. Kiran Bedi, we also had power talks by eminent women personalities which included Ms. Mallika Srinivasan, Director, TAFE, Ms. Jeyashree Ravi, proprietor, Palam Silks and Ms. Indra Subramanyam, Managing Director of Ehlrich Laboratories, Chennai.

    Ms. Asha Mathen made an assertive point that performance is what makes the difference irrespective of gender. She concluded by saying women today have to work double harder to sustain the work done by women generations before them.

    Mr. Kiruba Shankar, a blogger and the host of the “Kiruba Show” - a podcast with interviews of eminent personalities, moderated a panel discussion on Women – How free? How Equal?”

    The panelists of Women were:

    • Ms. Sathya Shankar – Senior Manager, Life Sciences Vertical, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Chennai.

    • Ms. Sree Vidhya – Managing Director, D Group Securities, Chennai.
    • Ms. Susmita Dasgupta – Assistant Vice President, Asipac, Bangalore.
    • Ms. Asha Mathen – Regional Head & Vice President – South and East, Deutsche Bank.

    With tremendous participation from the audience, their thoughts brought a whole new perspective to the idea of a truly free and equal woman.

    The event concluded with the much awaited quiz round conducted by “The Landmark Quiz”. Quiz master Dr. Navin Jayakumar was another crowd-puller for the day.

    The support of our Dean Uncle Bala and an enthusiastic SWIM team ensured that the show was more than a huge success.


    SWIM 2007 Photos