Women's Day Special Feature: Dr. Archana Yemeshvary Ashok Upadhyay, Chief Manager –Capability Building, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mumbai Refinery

Dr. Archana Yemeshvary Ashok Upadhyay
Chief Manager–Capability Building, 
Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited, Mumbai Refinery

Tell us about one of your superwoman moments: 
There have been innumerable instances both at the personal and professional front. Narrating one from the professional front. 
In 2006, I was transferred to the Corporate Strategy team (that time I was only a qualified HR professional from TISS) to be part of the small team working on Balanced Scorecard Implementation at HPCL. In the very first week of my joining the team, as a part of my training, I was sent to the conference on BSC by Dr. Norton. While in discussion with him and other participants, I could sense, that most participants believed that BSC in a PSU will never be a success. One of the CEO almost ridiculed the idea of my organization implementing BSC. Norton at that time was sharing the success stories of various organizations that implemented BSC successfully and entered the Hall of Fame. Something happened to me and I declared to the participants and also to Mr. Norton, that the next success story that he would have would be from HPCL.  People were stunned, nevertheless the confidence with which I declared put a stop to that conversation.
Coming back to the office, I went straight to the then director –HR and shared the instance with him.  He was amused and asked me how I plan to do this.  I told him – the plan will be mine, the execution will be mine, the only thing I need from him is – complete support for whatever I ask for.  He was a wise man and a very compassionate leader. He supported and guided me continuously. Every possible support was available from his good office, while I took it to the locations, especially to the refineries. Eventually, within three years, HPCL case study of BSC implementation was published in HBR and HPCL entered the Hall of Fame. It was a very proud moment for me.
On the home front, I am really proud of the way I faced every challenge, managed my family, reared my children and also ensured that I remain healthy and happy, in spite of difficulties. Continuous learning, growth and evolving into a better version of mine is my need, and I have been changing for the better year after year. And I am proud of this Phoenix-like quality. It gives me a sense of growing into a better person. Spiritual growth is very important for me for I have come to realize that the ultimate purpose of this life is to evolve and know who am I truly. 

You ensure work-life balance by:
By managing my priorities and my energies
You spend your weekends doing:
Now -meditation, yoga, reading scriptures and being with nature -in complete silence. Besides, spend time with family to the extent required. Now everyone in the family is an adult.
 When Children were small, all my time other than office and particularly the weekend were devoted to children. I spend time with them, played with them, took their studies and, told them bedtime stories etc. The idea was to ensure their holistic growth as wise and compassionate human beings and also help them identify their strength, their passion and develop skills in the area that they enjoy working so that they can have a fulfilling profession. 

A piece of advice to increase women empowerment in the workplace:
Women empowerment at the workplace can be increased by just letting go of the biases and stereotypes that most men and even some women have about women abilities. It is a result of the social setup and the way we rear our sons and daughters. The upbringing of the children itself has to change. Further, men in corporates need to be educated and their mindset to be reoriented to consider women as equals. The women in corporates also have to think gender neutral and be open to taking up any kind of challenge.

Few words of wisdom for the women reading this:
At first, understand yourself. Know what energies you and what drains you. Decide your work life and family accordingly. Continue to work upon yourself and your growth. Listen to your inner voice. Things will fall in place. Never give up.  Never be ashamed of asking help. Life is beautiful. Live it. Love it.


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