Sunday Profile: Alka Mittal, ONGC’s first woman director


For an organisation the place girls represent not up to 8 according to cent of the staff, the New Year heralded alternate. Alka Mittal, 59, moved to the helm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), India’s greatest oil and fuel exploration corporate and a number of the nation’s largest PSUs, preserving further price of Chairperson and Managing Director of the corporate.

With her transfer to the nook place of work, Mittal has shattered the glass ceiling two times within the house of 3 years — in 2018, she was the primary ONGC full-time girl director as Director, Human Resources.

PSU most sensible jobs are in large part a male maintain. Soma Mondal (SAIL) is recently the one different girl heading a Maharatna PSU. Of the 47 govt administrators on the 10 Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprises, most effective 4 are girls. Mittal is recently the one girl govt director at the board of ONGC.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, former chairperson of State Bank of India, the primary girl to guide an Indian Fortune 500 corporate, welcomes Mittal’s appointment as a “role model”. “Even after retirement, they (women CMDs) will be in a position to get on boards of other companies,” Bhattacharya advised The Sunday Express, noting that this is able to in flip assist different girls succeed in senior roles.

It’s a accountability Mittal is easily acutely aware of, however one she wears very easily.

“When I was interviewing women for senior roles as part of the Board of Directors, I saw that they would normally give answers to me, regardless of who was asking the questions,” Mittal tells The Sunday Express, indicating that girls really feel extra comfy making use of for senior positions after they see different girls in such roles.

“We have to create a critical mass of women in leadership positions,” she provides.

A Master’s in Economics from DAV College, Dehradun, Mittal has an MBA and a PhD in industry and trade with specialisation in company governance from Jamia Millia Islamia.

As ONGC’s Head of HR, Mittal conceptualised ‘People’s Connect’, an initiative to facilitate change between retiring staff and younger pros. Her colleagues say it displays her collaborative taste that extends to even competition inside the organisation.

“Alka and I were once both in contention for a senior role, but she kept giving me ideas on my strengths that I should highlight,” says Somesh Ranjan, leader of CSR at ONGC.

Mittal additionally spearheaded the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, as a part of which greater than 5,000 apprentices are engaged throughout ONGC’s paintings centres.

Ranjan talks of ways Mittal digitised the entire procedure. “Earlier we had to sort through paper applications that we got by the sack-loads.”

Mittal admits dealing with problems as a girl early in her profession, however says her seniors all the time recognised the worth of her paintings. Starting out as an administrative officer in Vadodara, she noticed folks didn’t need to document problems to a girl. “I decided it was important that they feel comfortable. I would chat with them, ask them about their families till they saw me as one of their own.”

On the work-home stability, Mittal says girls pros should prioritise the function that wishes their consideration at any given second. “While I was posted in Assam, away from my family, my younger daughter was facing some health issues. It was a very difficult time but my family and I realised that we could manage it. I was in charge of HR-ER (Human Resources-Employee Relations) then and I knew that if I didn’t do this role sincerely, no one would ever give this assignment to a woman. So I stayed on and completed the goals I had set for my time there.”

Mittal additionally arrange a number of management programmes at ONGC to shepherd proficient people to suitable roles inside the organisation, and driven girls staff to lean in and tackle tougher roles, together with box jobs equivalent to the ones at offshore rigs.

“She has paid special attention to having more women in technical and field-role assignments,” says Mehgna Pegu, ONGC’s Deputy General Manager, HR, who has labored with Mittal for approximately a decade. Pegu says Mittal’s push used to be additionally conserving in thoughts that folks with technical and box enjoy would all the time have an edge within the sector.
There are recently about 160 girls at onshore and offshore installations of ONGC.

Mittal herself incessantly visits the onshore and offshore amenities to the touch base with staff and, in step with Ranjan, unfailingly “comes back with sweets for everyone”.

It used to be on one such consult with to an offshore set up, says Pegu, that Mittal, who used to be dressed in the similar uniform as the ladies operating there, realised that the orange overalls have been plainly designed for males and have been “quite uncomfortable” for girls.

“She asked us to connect with the National Institute of Design to enquire about uniforms for women,” says Pegu, describing Mittal as extra of a pace-setter than a chairman.

Before taking on as HR Director, Mittal used to be ONGC’s Chief of Skill Development (CSD), all over which she is credited with streamlining operations throughout its ability building centres. Mittal has additionally headed the corporate’s CSR operations, all over which it constructed a 300-bed sanatorium at Sivasagar, Assam.

Mittal additionally arrange Urjasvini, a programme to mentor girls staff for Board-level roles within the corporate.
With extra girls now in senior and heart control point roles within the corporate, Mittal foresees a lot of them in Board-level positions within the close to long term. “Sixty-five per cent of our women executives are from technical disciplines. I believe that in times to come, a woman director in our core area is very likely,” says Mittal. ‘Core areas’ for ONGC come with technical and box services and products, onshore and offshore exploration operations.

Mittal, who superannuates in August, has so much on her desk now. The key precedence for ONGC at the moment is elevating crude oil and herbal fuel manufacturing. The executive has been leaning at the corporate to usher in international companions to reinforce oil and fuel restoration from present fields, that have grow to be much less productive and for exploration in new fields equivalent to ultra-deep water fields.

“We are looking at international partners who have had successes in similar analogous basins in other parts of the world. We are approaching them with an open mind,” says Mittal.

Another problem, she says, can be succession making plans. “With many of our experts superannuating in the near future, we have to ensure that their wisdom is passed on to the younger generation. We have to make them future-ready to take on challenging roles.”





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