Q&A with Ayesha Chaudhary, Consultant, World Bank; Advisor, Stanford University, India Program, Byers Center for Biodesign

We spoke with Ayesha Chaudhary, Consultant, World Bank; Advisor, Stanford University, India Program, Byers Center for Biodesign, and one of the members of our 2022 India Leadership Journey. Read her Q&A below to learn who inspires her and more!

Why did you choose to apply for the WomenLift Leadership Journey?

It was one of the evenings after work in the Delhi winter in 2018, when I was sipping coffee with a colleague and discussing about what are the domains in which I would like to work in the future? And I remember mentioning 2 things; women leadership and mental health. And it was in 2021 that I was nominated by a former colleague from Stanford University, to apply for the WLH journey.

How can we ensure that we are focusing on women and girls in health?

In my Stanford days while working in teams, I learnt that there are 2 types of team members, extrovert and introvert. As a leader, we have to reach out to the introvert and ask for their opinion. Similarly, if we don’t see enough participation from women, we have to practice principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. If women don’t come to us, we go to them and ask their opinion, while designing solutions for health.

Who inspires you and why?

You won’t get any names from me, but I’ll tell you about the kind of people who inspire me; people who work without the desire of being celebrated and recognised. There is an Indian book called Geeta, which is considered a book that lays down principles of leading a simple yet meaningful and enriching life. In its third chapter, it says that you should do your work, what we call as ‘Karma’ without developing any attachment to the result. I think people who can live their life with this principle, inspire me. It’s called as ‘Karma Yog’, or principle of doing selfless service. Their contentment with life and the impact they create, inspires me.

What would you say to future women leaders seeking inspiration and guidance?

We need to understand and believe that all women have the most powerful instrument of the world, which is the human brain. So, we all can become great leaders, with an appropriate interplay of mindset, skillset and behaviour, that sets leaders apart.

Leadership is about exploring your meaningful life, one that makes you happy! It is about knowing yourself and inspiring people at work, in the family and in the community. Do not get trapped into the conventional and stereotypical definition of leadership, instead chart your own.