At BrilliantRead Media, we always strive to bring meaningful and powerful stories from India and around the world to empower and motivate our growing community. As part of this endeavour, we invited Gita Ramachandran for an exclusive interview with us. She is an Award Winning Leader, Entrepreneur Coach, Consultant, Mentor, Bestselling Author and Influencer. Let’s learn more about her incredible journey, background, and advice for our growing community!
Excerpts from our exclusive interview with Gita Ramachandran:
We are aware of your contributions to the ecosystem; talk us through your background and your journey, please;
I am an Electrical Engineer, a University rank holder from REC Calicut (NITC) and I am also the first Lady Engineer to be recruited by Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited.
In the late 1970s, it was quite unheard of for girls to enter the male-dominated field of engineering, and totally unimaginable to see them work on the shop floor. However, I had no qualms about doing the same. But for the males, it was a rare sight to view a lady moving around the plants in Boiler suits and hard hats.
As there were no washroom facilities for ladies in the plants, I had to walk for about 10 to 15 min to reach the Admin building where washrooms were provided for ladies.
As a lady venturing into a male-dominated area, I soon realized that I had to toil twice as hard, to be treated on par with men, and had to put in thrice the effort of any man to make my job visible, and be recognised as a competitor for Progression. I consider these experiences as the stepping stones in my life, for my success, as I learnt to take complete responsibility for my life, and steer and drive my destiny. I learnt to be positive, upbeat and take life with all the challenges it threw at me in different ways.”
Having said that, I am glad that I got exposed to varied experiences in the Maintenance, Projects and Construction Departments of the Refinery as well as heading the Computer Systems & Services departments in the Refinery, before moving to the Corporate IS set-up in 1999. Being a Lifelong Learner, I liked to delve into creative pursuits, and so, launching new initiatives came naturally to me. If you observe my professional graph, you will be able to notice that I always tried my hand at, as well as encourged innovative initiatives at all locations of my postings. I was fortunate to have driven positive changes and accomplished major milestones with the support from my teams, on my initiative.
Our Refinery was the first one to come up with an online attendance system way back in the 90s for managing the attendance of employees operating in 3 different shifts besides the general shift. We converted all magnetic tapes to PC compatible Optical Discs, Text-based Menu on Novel Netware Lan to automated dBase one, Automated the Legacy Programs in Cobol to be run through an automated Menu driven one, and so on, long back when these were never heard of, or attempted by anyone, making our department innovative and very productive.
After architecting and pioneering the Intranet Applications site with over 40 in-house developed dynamic web applications including Salary slip by email, IS Net set up , MultiMedia Studio and so on, I had the privilege of establishing Master Governance for BPCL. These were all groundbreaking works in the history of IT in India at that point in time. I was fortunate to be recognized on the National Platform for my wide-ranging roles, a high order of performance and distinctive achievements, by being conferred the “NPMP award of excellence as the Best Women Executive”
On deputation to Bharat Oman Refineries Ltd (BORL) for a period of 5 years from 2007, I got the once in a lifetime opportunity of putting in place the entire IT & ERP setup from scratch, including the Infrastructure, Network, Security, Policies, Governance, for the Grass root Refinery at BINA, utilizing minimum in-house re-sources, without relying on consultancy services. I was fortunate to get the support of management, and with an open grass root site to try new path-breaking initiatives, I consider myself to be privileged to have faced the most interesting and challenging period of my life.
I had the distinction of accomplishing groundbreaking work in IT for which I am indebted to my team, for the cooperation they extended to me in implementing all new Ideas which came to our mind. I could spearhead the implementation of Unified Communications making BORL pioneers in the Petroleum Industry to have implemented IP Telephony, as a means of communication with Data, Voice, Video on the same highly available, high bandwidth, high Resilient/Scalable Network enabling huge savings”
We implemented various technologies including Secure/Robust/Resilient LAN in the 3000 Km campus, Wireless LAN, WAN with redundant MPLS links, Internet links, VOIP, Collaboration tools like Audio, Desktop Video and Web Conferencing, Email, Intranet with dynamic applications, SharePoint Portal for Office documents, Bentley’s ProjectWise for Engineering drawings, Project server for project scheduling, Physical Security Solutions using Video Surveillance, Network, Content and EndPoint Security Technologies, and many other initiatives a decade back like Security Solution with SWG, GPS based ROU Monitoring system on alternate links, APNIC based IP addresses on handheld devices for Walkers monitoring the 900 KM VBPL Pipeline and so on.
BORL became the:
> World record holder for fast-paced implementation of SAP (56 days for Phase 1 and 47 working days for Phase 2)
> Next-Generation Smart Digital Refinery at a remote location like BINA, with Toll-free Interoffice Communication (VOIP), Mobility, Physical security, Wireless Communication, IP telephony Applications, Intranet and Business Applications, which enabled employees to work on the latest technology increasing their Morale, Productivity, Communication, Collaboration and Customer Satisfaction.
> First Refinery to have all its design, drawings and documents right from the start of inception, comprising more than 1 million drawings and more than 150 gigabits of data, digitized in-house and stored for retrieval on Bentley ProjectWise EDMS.
> First Refinery with the network on Open Standards integrating SAP, LDAP and IPX Call Manager (IP telephone Exchange for BORL) with in-house developed IP Telephony Applications, and diverse Business Applications like Ambient Air Monitoring System, Siren, Access Control System, Weather monitoring system, 3rd party Video Conferencing Solutions.
> This not only enabled BORL to get the EDGE Award but I was also requested to showcase BORL’s Achievements at the Energy Summit with all Oil companies of India to Business and IT leaders.
On return to BPCL as DGM for Corporate Applications, I could roll out more than 24 projects including the Development and Deployment of Applications, Migration to the latest technology platforms, initiating TFS-based Change Request Management System, GRC-based Authorization for NON SAP Applications and Non SAP Users, Standardizing the modalities for Development, Documentation and Deployment, Documenting and Publishing booklet for adherence, heading ‘PAHAL’ the Ministry driven LPG project at BPCL, Implementing Customer Care System for the 4 SBUs of BPCL, the backbone for all BPCL first Initiatives and winner of CSI Award in 2015. Just before retiring from BPCL, I could engage myself in new Initiatives all of which paved the way for another award on the National Platform.
After the initial period of settling down after retirement in 2016, I started feeling the vacuum and emptiness within. Having worked for more than 35 years, delivering umpteen Projects successfully, both big and small, and handling multiple Teams with multiple skills at various points in time, I knew that I had a wealth of knowledge which needed to be channelized and passed on. So I decided to transfer the knowledge and learnings from my experience, and went on to Author and publish 2 International Bestselling books.
However, I wanted to go a bit more deeper and mentor youngsters who would be the future of India. So I enrolled myself for coaching and completed my training with India’s Leading coaches Puja Puneet and Siddharth Rajsekar.
Today I am the founder of Gita’s Gyan Academy, An Author, Mentor and a Digital Coach, Success and Leadership Coach & a Life Transformation Strategist to help youngsters to achieve success in all walks of life.”
I am on a mission to empower 10000 young working professionals to transform themselves, gain leadership positions, achieve their aspirations and fulfil their dreams by facilitating them to ‘Dream, Design and Drive their Destiny’.
How did you discover your passion in ‘Coaching and Mentoring’?
Way back, I noticed that whenever anybody expressed a problem or some difficulty, I would immediately reach out to them and start helping them. Immediately soon after implementing Intranet Applications for Bharat Petroleum, with locations spread all over India, I would personally check for problems or issues faced by people and help them in solving them. In fact, I also initiated an application PQR ( Problems/ Queries and Responses) to help our staff to raise the issues, so that we could help them, and I would personally check to see if all issues were resolved or not.
Mentoring was the next step which made me feel fulfilled, and I was very happy to mentor Team Members to give off their best. For me my Team came before me, and when they did well, my heart swelled with pride.”
Slowly, I realized that deep down, I was passionate about empowering people to become successful in what they desired to do. I am happy that many of the team members groomed by me are doing exceptionally well in their careers. This urge to see others becoming successful in their ventures is what prompted me to become a Life and Success coach as it complimented my passion to serve others by utilizing my experience, skills and expertise in achieving Goals.
This also served my passion for learning and implementing new ideas. In the past 6 years after Retirement, I have learnt and implemented many new Technologies, as well as trained fellow coaches in implementing them. So it has been a different journey with a three Pronged Approach to Learning, Implementing and Serving which makes me feel gratified and fulfilled.
With so much going on, how do you start the day to keep your passion alive?
I follow daily morning routines (SAVERS ) after paying my gratitude to the Almighty. SAVERS is a Daily morning routine developed by Hal Elrod author of the book “Morning Miracle “ which is an acronym for Silence and Meditation, Affirmations, Visualizations, Exercise, Reading Motivational Articles, Scribing or Journaling.
I allocate blocks of time for carrying out various activities and batch my jobs to increase my productivity. I keep my passion alive by pursuing the same. I am both a Night Owl and a morning Lark and wake up early by keeping Alarms and do not sleep till I have finished what I set out to do on any particular day. I am grateful to God that I am able to get the energy to carry on, and am able to accomplish what I have set out to do by practising these rituals consistently.
I generally set Goals for each quarter with deadlines, and plan all activities and tasks with milestones, prioritize and execute them to meet the deadlines set by me. I am a pretty well-organized person and manage my time judiciously. I like to balance my Work Life and so take care of all aspects of life. You will notice that I have been able to manage my career and my relationship with my spouse, family and friends quite well, pursuing hobbies et all. Even though my children were latch-key children, They have also been able to do well in their academics, their careers, family life and pursue hobbies.
Thus, so far I have been able to meet my objectives and live my life with passion, love and harmony.
How leadership qualities can help with your career or business growth?
Leadership qualities are vital for any person to succeed, be it in your career or in your business. I compare all activities akin to a marriage where each and every family member rises to the occasion to see that the marriage in the family is conducted extremely well, and takes pride in the successful culmination of the same. So also with cricket or any other team sport where ego takes a back seat.
Getting the team to perform and achieving your vision, is what Team leadership is all about. What I have observed is that once somebody is vested with a leadership position, they start controlling, which leads to indifference by team members who stop taking ownership.”
They don’t realize that becoming a leader gives you the opportunity to magnify your impact in the world. It allows you to leverage the hearts, and actions of others toward the achievement of goals and objectives that you genuinely care about. It allows you to produce bigger results faster than you could ever do on your own.
In fact, knowing how to be an effective leader will make you more successful in any role—whether you are climbing the corporate ladder, setting up your business, building a network marketing downline, working as a social change agent, coaching a small team, volunteering for a civic group, or simply organizing a church event.
And as per me:
– Effective Leaders will ensure that the team remains cohesive and deliver exceptional results to meet the decided and declared timelines.
– They are flexible, service-oriented, and task-driven.
– They keep the purpose of the team at all times in their mind
– They remember that the leadership role is vested in them to serve and not to be served.
– They adjust to various situations quickly and get cooperation from all team members at all times
My second book has all ingredients, which talks about how Effective Leadership can make a team incredible.
SKYROCKET TEAMS TO INCREDIBLE HEIGHTS:- Motivate and Empower, Improve Group Performance, Sustain Excellent Team Dynamics, Collaborate & Achieve Exceptional Goals” was published in Jun 2021 and remained a best seller in multiple categories for a long time soon after it was published on Amazon.
In your opinion, what are the keys to success?
My success Mantras are: be Passionate to achieve, Persistent to deliver and Perseverant to learn and add value. Perspire to break barriers and rely on Providence to Surrender to
As per Earl Nightingale “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy Ideal and is achieved by those who do a predetermined job deliberately “ and I truly believe in that.
Success is a Journey and not a destination and in a journey, you have many milestones. Meeting each one of those milestones with Passion, Persistence, Perseverance, Perspiration, Patience and Positivity is what success is all about. All successful people traverse this path. What we get to see is, what they have finally achieved, and not what they have gone through in their life to achieve this success.
As I strongly believe in this path, I set quarterly goals ( milestones) and achieve them by forming relevant habits, pursuing them with diligence and discipline consistently, and meeting the deadlines set by me with self-motivation and a deep sense of commitment.
I also believe that there is no substitute for hard work, no end to learning, and no shortcuts to success. In order to succeed you need to innovate, excel and systematize. At times it may take some time for us to achieve our goals, but the satisfaction of making progress in the right direction, and being patient is success in itself.
Patience is a virtue and realizing that setbacks are not full stops, but a comma or a pause for better outcomes is a positive attitude which can be inculcated. During this journey, help others, give back to Society, do your best and believe that things will follow.
We know that you are continuously engaged in helping others achieve their goals. Why do you do that?
As I have already mentioned before, I like to help and serve. I also believe in sharing knowledge and my experiences, so that the next generation can benefit by not reinventing the wheel. They can make wiser choices, do better, do something constructive, creative and productive as we continue to evolve into a better society.
I love to see people dreaming big, achieving their dreams and becoming successful.”
I incorporated the underlying principles with case studies in my first book published in Jan 2021; SKYROCKET TO NEW HEIGHTS: Master the Growth Mindset, Develop Empowering Habits, Do Differently, & Achieve Your Goals which became a Global best seller and the positive reviews by the readers speaks about this aspect of developing oneself to achieve success.
Adding value to someone’s life is immensely gratifying for me and I would be happy to see people achieving success with my courses, coaching, by reading my books or by being influenced or inspired with my efforts and the contents that I post. That is what I am aspiring to accomplish with my social media content.
Recently I authored and published a book on 31st Jul this year with the sole intention of helping aspiring Authors to write and self-publish the book that they have in mind “SELF -PUBLISH YOUR DREAM BOOK: Ultimate Guide to Research, Write, Edit, Format, Publish, Launch and Market your book on Amazon. Likewise, I have plans of writing on more topics, posting tutorials, checklists, videos, which will help one to ignite the passion to do well and achieve one’s dreams.
Given the rapid pace at which the world is changing, what are the leadership traits that are necessary for success?
Clarity of vision: Clarity of vision is important as it provides inspiration and motivation to keep going. People are likely to work harder when they have targets to meet and goals to be accomplished within a given period.
Confidence to stand alone: A leader with confidence thinks positively about the future and is willing to take the risks necessary to achieve both personal and professional goals.
Courage to take tough decisions: A courageous leader isn’t afraid to take tough decisions and honestly seeks feedback from those around them.
Compassion to listen to the needs: Compassionate leaders create stronger connections between people improving collaboration, trust levels, and loyalty.
Competence to differentiate: Leveraging the competencies that a leader possesses, he knows to find the right solution and the right fit for the right job.
Character to walk the talk: A leader with character does what he preaches, is honest, trustworthy and reliable.
Communication skills to convince all: Communication skills will enable him to influence, inspire and convince all
More on Effective Leadership in the book
SKYROCKET TEAMS TO INCREDIBLE HEIGHTS:- Motivate and Empower, Improve Group Performance, Sustain Excellent Team Dynamics, Collaborate & Achieve Exceptional Goals” in Jun 2021
What about your journey makes it satisfying/exciting?
I have been recognized with national Awards many times over for the work I did, making my work quite satisfying and gratifying to me. Probably I have also been able to inspire others to do well and achieve their dreams by attending sessions conducted by me.
My journey has been quite an exciting experience for me and a few of the recognitions I received and as listed below made it more enriching and worth all the struggles I withstood in reaching there.
2022 – Recognized by She Excellence for Domain-based Excellence for Talent Outreach and Beyond.
2022 – Recipient of one among Top 100 Women Leader Award 2022
2021 – Winner of one among 100 women Icons of India 2021
2021 – Featured as one among 21 leaders worldwide in the book “High Productivity Practices from Successful Leaders” by Dr Raveendran.
2014 – “Woman Achiever in IT” National Award for contributions to IT
2011 – “Edge Award” for transforming the grass root refinery into a state of the art “Smartest Digital Refinery” at BINA and showcasing to IT and business leaders from all Oil companies in India.
2009 – Creating world records for implementing SAP in 47 working days
2007 – Recognition by SAP for implementation of Enterprise Master Governance for BPCL at International Conference in Thailand.
2005 – National Award for Excellence as the Best Women Executive conferred by National Petroleum Management Program in the Oil & Gas Sector.
2003 – Golden Peacock National Award, instituted by IOD, for architecting Intranet Applications
Positive Feedbacks and Testimonials from those who became inspired after attending my sessions, courses and coaching has provided momentum, to help me deliver more value. I love to share my mantras, secrets, knowledge and expertise and these testimonials have motivated me to believe more in my capability to transform others.
As I love to help others and as my mission is to empower 10000 youngsters to level up, these client feedbacks have recharged me and I am happy to be of service to others. Though many testimonials have been sent on Whatsapp, here is a link to those provided on my Trust pilot – https://www.trustpilot.com/review/gitaramachandran.com
What are the business mantras you have embraced as you sought to establish your success story?
(i) “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” — Regina Brett
I resonate with this quote and there are umpteen examples in my life, where I have shown up despite many constraints without making excuses, complaints or blaming anyone/anything.
(ii) “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude” – Zig Ziglar
Life is not fair at all times and instead of quitting, or despairing, take it and march ahead. For me, I repeat this: “Shake it off and step up.
“In my book: Skyrocket to New Heights”, I have included one chapter on Attitude, where I have explained, how to reframe and utter a few sentences to become positive.
On my website, I have published a freely downloadable ebook:
“5 easy steps to change your attitude or Reframe your Attitude” at https://gitaramachandran.com/free-resources-and-ebook/
“Life is full of challenges and hindrances,
For pessimists, it’s difficulties and burdens.
For optimists, its opportunities in disguise,
Attitude makes us see it otherwise.”
(iii) Customer is King – This one mantra is what will take you places and if you’re convinced, and take care of your customers, you will win them forever
“Forget about your competitors, just focus on your customers” – Jack Ma (Founder, Alibaba Group)
“If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service, you can make a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
As a Coach or a mentor or those in the service industry one can take their inputs from this quote by Maya Angelou – “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
What advice would you give students and young professionals who want to have a successful career?
I would like to advise young professionals and students to:
(1) Believe in themselves
(2) Be disciplined and consistent to fulfil their dreams and achieve their Goals
(3) Grab the opportunities whenever they arise as the Opportunities don’t always come
(4) Be Passionate, Persistent and Patient
(5) Failures are not the end of the world. They are stepping stones and maybe it is just that one more step was required to be taken to take you to the Winning post
(6) You are responsible for your life. So dream, design, do and drive your destiny
(7) All things being equal, what sets an achiever apart is his mindset and his attitude. Reframe your thoughts, words and actions, so that your mind is always channelized towards positivity.