Story of a successful organization led by women
Around a century ago, a brave and ambitious woman had dreamt of a Bangladesh where women were equally contributing to the workforce as men. The woman in question was none other than one of pioneers of the feminist movement in Bangladesh, Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain and her dream has almost come true. For now, there are numerous instances where women are engaged in various kinds of work and are often the brightest stars for the organizations, they work in.
Women have made tremendous progress in the working sector and have even paved their way to illustrious leadership positions. Nonetheless, while many companies pride themselves for being gender inclusive, only a select few companies have a significant number of women in leadership positions. One such organization is IPDC Finance Limited, a financial institution in Bangladesh where seven women hold instrumental leadership positions.
IPDC Finance Limited is currently a unique name among the non-bank financial institutions in the country. Winning one award after another tells the story of the company's thriving progress and the credit goes to the craftsmen who have worked relentlessly to establish this story. Nonetheless, a large part of this achievement has been in part due to the female leadership of the organization. These women are working independently and successfully to take the necessary decisions and implementing new innovations to take IPDC forward.
One of the illustrious personalities among the seven leading women at IPDC is Savrina Arifin, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Retail Business. She is the only woman acting as the head of the distribution of all branches among all the financial institutions in the country. Her outstanding contributions to IPDC despite the 12 year-long challenging journey is proof that with confidence, it is possible to be equally successful in your professional and personal life without making the slightest concession. In her own words, Savrina Arifin said, "I personally believe that motherhood or femininity can never be an obstacle to success. I am grateful to IPDC for entrusting me to lead a sector as challenging as distribution."
Fahmida Khan is working as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Before joining the institution, she worked with BRAC EPL Stock Brokerage Limited as head of finance, and KPMG, Bangladesh in different leading positions.She said, "In the financial sector, women are not usually given the opportunity to do work like accounts or finance. But IPDC is an exception; IPDC has given me all the flexibility a woman officer needs."
Like her colleagues, Sharmeen F. Annie, Chief Human Resources Officer, also has an illustrious career path and oversees all matters related to human resource management. However, before working at IPDC, she found it difficult to even imagine such a women-friendly organization in Bangladesh. "Women are prioritized in the recruitment process. We are working towards a 50-50 gender ratio in the workplace, "said Sharmeen F Annie. She also said that there is no ill competition in IPDC, where employees believe in fostering a positive environment when taking on challenges.
Likewise, Aleya R. Iqbal is serving as Head of IT and Business Transformation. Prior to joining IPDC, she had worked in the United States on information technology in both public and private organizations. She has been working efficiently in the information technology industry for the last 20 years. She wishes to make a significant contributionto Bangladesh from the wealth of knowledge she has gathered from abroad. She said, "Although girls are far ahead in the field of information technology, we still have a long way to go. In the future, we will be truly successful once we are able to pave the way for other girls in the IT sector."
Another bright star in the constellation of the seven,Khadija Mariam is the Head of Women Entrepreneur Development Unit. She is a unique example of IPDC's confidence in women leadership. Having started as a Business Intelligence Manager, she has been working to fulfill the dreams of women entrepreneurs in the country with all her concentration, inspiration, conscientiousness and hard work. She stated, "IPDC has helped me to discover myself and become confident. The kind of freedom and cooperation that IPDC has provided to support women entrepreneurs is a unique example for all financial institutions."
Jumaratul Banna is the Head of Local Corporate at IPDC Finance. Under her leadership, IPDC is successfully overseeing one of the largest corporate loan portfolios in the country's NBFI sector."We can make our decisions independentlywhile fulfilling our responsibilities at IPDC. One can be sure to illicit a positive response herewhen sharing new innovations or systematic ideas," she commented.
All the women have been successful not only in the workplace but also in their family lives. This has mainly been possible due to working in an organizationwhere women are welcome to work independently, to make decisions and to innovate. This has enabled IPDC to becomeone of the strongest and fastest growing non-banking financial institutions in the country. Many organizations like IPDC are now working to create an inclusive work environment and it is truly a commendable initiative to establish equality in all fields.
The writer is a freelance