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The Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre

One year on from the passing of Professor Sucheta Nadkarni, Cambridge Judge Business School ensures Sucheta’s memory lives on with the continued work at the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre.

Sucheta Nadkarni.
Professor Sucheta Nadkarni

Sucheta Nadkarni was the Sinyi Professor of Chinese Management and first Director of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre, as well as a dear friend and colleague to all at Cambridge Judge. In her memory, the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre has created a Research Seminar Series to honour Sucheta’s research and generosity mentoring students.

Lionel Paolella.
Dr Lionel Paolella

The inaugural Professor Sucheta Nadkarni Research Seminar was given by Dr Lionel Paolella on 13 October, presenting the paper that he was collaborating on with Sucheta at the time of her passing: “A Licence to Tick-off the Box: Female Representation in Top Management and Organisational Diversity Priority”.

At the seminar, the recipients of the Cambridge Judge-sponsored Strategic Management Society Sucheta Nadkarni Award for Outstanding Publication on Women Executive Leadership were announced as Raina A. Brands and Isabel Fernandez-Mateo for their publication “Leaning Out: How Negative Recruitment Experience Shape Women’s Decisions to Compete for Executive Roles”.

“Women’s leadership and diversity in business is needed now, more than ever, and our aim with the award and research seminar series is to both recognise and honour our former colleague and ensure that groundbreaking research on gender diversity is supported,” said Dr Jenny Chu, Academic Director of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre.

Jenny Chu.
Dr Jenny Chu

“As a Centre, we continue to research the challenges women face within the work environment and to generate practical solutions to make a meaningful difference in gender equality and women’s empowerment globally. Research findings are used, more widely to create the basis of our women’s leadership programmes, to inspire the next generation of women leaders.”

One such woman is our Cambridge MBA alumna Srishti Warman (MBA 2019), who has been shortlisted for the 2020 Women of the Future Awards, which celebrate and recognise young female talent. Srishti, a recent graduate of the Cambridge MBA programme, was a student co-chair of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre Student Interest Group, and was nominated by the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre for the “MBA Star” category of the Women of the Future Awards.

Tracey Horn.
Tracey Horn

Tracey Horn, Executive Director of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre, said:

“The MBA Star recognises a female MBA student of exceptional vision, talent and promise – with an emphasis on a ‘compelling life-story and exciting visions for the future’. Srishti, with all she had done prior to the Cambridge MBA, including the introduction of a mentoring plan involving 200 colleagues of different seniority levels and genders and the organisation of an industry-wide conference with participants from more than 15 companies to discuss women in technology, and her work as student co-chair for the Cambridge Judge Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre, is a deserving finalist and we are proud to have supported Srishti’s nomination and wish her well in the finals.”

Srishti Warman.
Srishti Warman

Not only was Professor Sucheta Nadkarni passionate about research, she was equally passionate about women reaching senior positions within their work. Sucheta developed a unique open enrolment programme, with Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education, designed specifically for high potential women. The Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme has been consistently oversubscribed since its inception, in early 2017. Now in a Live Online format, the programme will be running next, in November 2020, to support and nurture a growing pool of talented female professionals – a crucial step in achieving greater diversity – something that drives the work of the Wo+Men’s Leadership Centre here at Cambridge Judge. “We are excited to continue to develop the programme and see it growing, thereby building on Sucheta’s legacy. It’s a programme designed to help women recognise, nurture, and leverage their strengths while finding the confidence to be themselves and show their value as leaders. Sucheta used to say that leadership effectiveness requires authenticity. The programme helps women pursue both – become effective and authentic leaders – which ultimately means the best version of themselves as women leaders,” said Dr Patrizia Vecchi, University Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour and Academic Director of the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme.