Dr. Saundarya Rajesh
Founder & PresidentCompany: AVTAR Group
Role: Diversity Award Winner—Winds of Change, Individual
2020 Conference Session:
Devil’s Advocate—Working Toward Solutions for a Gender-Inclusive Workplace Using Premortem Technique
Dr. Saundarya Rajesh, founder and president of AVTAR Group, is one of India’s most-respected thought leaders on diversity and inclusion. An award-winning social entrepreneur, she is best known as the pioneer of second-career opportunities for women in corporate India. She has been recognized as a #100Women Achiever and the Web Wonder Woman by India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development and is also listed in the United Nation’s “Women Transforming India.”
As part of the 35-year celebration of the UK Government Chevening Scholarships program, Dr. Rajesh was recognized as one of the Top 35 Global Changemakers and was featured in a specially commissioned exhibition of portraits of UK-educated leaders from all over the world who are making transformational changes in their home countries. She is also the only Indian to receive the Winds of Change 2019 award from The Forum on Workplace Inclusion, Minneapolis, Minn.
A relentless advocate of the potential of women in the workplace, Saundarya is the advisor of choice for an impressive list of organizations and leaders on the benefits of inclusion and diversity. One of the earliest voices in India to speak about the need for gender balance in the workplace, her diversity immersion sessions have benefited varied audiences, ranging from industry bodies to the police force, from entrepreneurs to college-goers, from organizations like Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, Mahindra Group and Tata Group to small and medium-size businesses. Inspirational in her approach to tackling systemic issues faced by women, Saundarya has irrevocably changed the game for the Indian woman professional by introducing the concepts of “career intentionality” and “career re-entry” to corporate India.
An entrepreneur who has created successful, growing enterprises such as AVTAR Career Creators, FLEXI Careers India and AVTAR Human Capital Trust, Saundarya has recently entered the artificial intelligence (AI) domain by setting up India’s first “AI in talent acquisition” company—Bruhat Insights Global. Bruhat provides cutting-edge predictive and prescriptive analytics for selecting the right hire, through job selection patterns and career engagement insights via big data drawn from over a million successful job placements.
Widely quoted on women’s careers, entrepreneurship and inclusive leadership, Saundarya is a highly sought-after speaker at conferences—both national and international—and she’s a firm believer in integrating work and life. In her pursuit to develop and inspire people to grow to their full potential, she has made her debut through the book, “The 99 Day Diversity Challenge™,” published by SAGE. The book hit the stands on October 30, 2018, and in its pre-order window on Amazon, broke records by selling out within hours of its launch. The 99DDC™ has won much acclaim from industry leaders and has been designed to develop diversity and inclusion mind-set in any organization, or even individual, within the proverbial 99 days.