About the Author

Dr Saundarya Rajesh is one of India’s most respected thought leaders on Diversity and Inclusion (D & I). 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’ by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, India, and also listed in the United Nation’s ‘Women Transforming India’ by the NITI Aayog. She was recently chosen as one of the most ‘Innovative Diversity & Inclusion leaders by the Asia Pacific HRM Congress.

A relentless advocate of the potential of women in the workplace, Dr Rajesh 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 such as Accenture, Deloitte, IBM, Mahindra Group and Tata Group to small and medium businesses.

Inspirational in her approach to tackling systemic issues faced by women, Dr Rajesh has irrevocably changed the game for the Indian woman professional, by introducing the concept of ‘career intentionality’ and ‘career re-entry’ to corporate India.

Widely quoted on women’s careers, entrepreneurship and inclusive leadership, Dr Rajesh is a highly sought-after speaker at conferences, national and international, and a firm believer in integrating work and life. In her pursuit to develop and inspire people to grow to their full potential, she makes her writing debut through this book. Given her passion for the subject, there is promise of more!

Dr Saundarya Rajesh is one of the most sought after speaker on D& I in both national and international conferences and forums. Her sessions receive great acclaim for her insightful aspects on what the Indian Women Professionals need and what corporates can do about them. If you want to hear it straight from Dr Rajesh, the women career evangelist, the D&I champion, write to us at 99ddc@avtarcc.com

About 99day diversity challengeTM

There is growing evidence indicating that Diversity and Inclusion are critical predictors of organizational success. Managing a diverse workforce is a business reality, yet challenges exist. Leaders in the boardrooms are recognising the impact of D&I and often seek a toolkit that will enable inter-cultural competence. To maximize and leverage the benefits of the 21stcentury workplace diversity, companies will have to create a sustainable D&I model to not only ensure an inclusive environment within organizations, but also a powerful competitive edge in the marketplace.

However, is it really possible to disentangle the strands of D&I within the proverbial 99 days?

Award-winning social entrepreneur Dr Saundarya Rajesh, one of India’s most prominent diversity strategists who is credited with having ushered in the ‘second-career’ revolution for women professionals, believes it is. In an engaging, gentle, often light-hearted way, Dr Rajesh demystifies this vast subject of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) for the business leader, the diversity enthusiast and even the young professional who is curious about this topic. Over a set of stories, anecdotes and thought blogs, this book sequentially uncovers what inclusion and diversity means and how this can be absorbed by just about everyone.

At the core of The 99 Day Diversity Challenge is the belief that the organizational practice of inclusion actually results in us becoming better human beings. For when we break down differences and create greater connectedness between people, we are building a better world.

What is The 99 Day Diversity Challenge?
  • A never-before account of the nascent experiences of implementing the culture of D&I at the Indian workplace
  • A precise explanation on the different strands of diversity, how to leverage each strand and the future of the D&I thoughts
  • A customisable framework to set organizational inclusion goals, design a methodology to accomplish them and track your progress
  • Ready-to-use tools put in the most interesting and gripping way, this book will unlock the diverse human potential at your workplace
  • With a lexicon, word puzzles, crosswords, engaging D&I games, this book is all set to enrich the reader with an all new experience for those set to begin their own D&I journey.

Diversity & You

These innovative and ground breaking training programs and workshops for professionals are designed keeping in mind the organizations’ need for retaining and building talent workforce through diverse and inclusive work practices, enabling a welcoming working environment and enhancing positive leadership skills.

The Diversity Immersion workshop aims to reveal the decision constructs that other best-in-class organizations have used to leverage the power of a diverse and inclusive workforce. This half-day session will enhance each participant to recognize what D&I means holistically for one’s own organization and create a blue-print to plan the way forward.

B-DivInE workshop unleashes the power of behavioural changes in addressing the concepts of Diversity and Inclusion for managers. Not travelling the beaten path of identifying differences and learning to synthesize them, the B-DivInE program looks at the inherent changes required in the psyche of the manager to lead diverse teams successfully. This half-day program is designed for senior managers, managers from all functions, leaders and change agents to experience the benefits of Diversity and Inclusion.

To address gender related issues, and to make the work environment more inclusive and diverse, training sessions on Gender sensitivity are critical. A gender sensitive and diverse working environment opens the widest possible range of life options for both men and women. This full day program will enable junior level staff, team leaders, managers, senior managers, change agents and leaders from all functions to develop a deeper understanding of gender diversity and recognize false assumptions and overcome stereotypes and manage unconscious biases.

This workshop on Hosting Inter-Generational Conversations helps in identifying generation gaps, leveraging generational differences and similarities for the growth of the organisation. This results in better employee engagement and more productivity. The half-day program is aimed at senior managers, managers from all functions, leaders and change agents.

Gender Intelligence Workshop is designed for Talent Acquisition professionals, and is aimed at addressing common challenges in acquiring diverse talent, and will provide answers on how to overcome them. The process of being aware, comprehending and applying Gender sensitivity is termed as Gender Intelligence. This full day program is ideal for senior managers, hiring managers from all functions, leaders and change agents.

Engaging men becomes crucial for the success of any gender balance agenda and goals of the organisation. This will increase awareness on unconscious gender biases and its cost in the workplace; improve knowledge on gender differences and enhance the ability to be a better communicator and team manager; and most important drive commitment from men professionals for a gender-fair workplace based on trust and respect. This half-day program is targeted at male leaders, managers & senior managers from all functions.

Intentional Career Pathing (ICP) is a flagship training programme for mid-career women professionals in India. One of the most innovative training interventions, ICP is a method of developing specific skills convergent with mid-term and long-term career milestones, which will enable women to pursue their career vision successfully and sustainably. ICP is a six months’ long training intervention that is designed based on experiential learning and research studies such as Career Trajectories of Men and Women in India, Career Enablers for Women, Flexible working and Work-life integration.
This training program is customisable within the pillars of the ICP requirements. The ICP training program has been successfully delivered across India in multiple organisations from diverse sectors.

The core objective of this workshop is capacity building of Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) members. This workshop is aimed at training ICC members to conduct formal investigation in case of a complaint, help them with interview tips while interacting with both the aggrieved and the accused, legal requirements while accepting a case, drawing conclusions, assessing credibility of the complaint and deciding on corrective action. This full day program, with the help of real-life cases, will help the participants from recognizing sexual harassment to handling incidents appropriately in the most efficient manner.

Women in Sales training programme is based on research that is aimed at enhancing the skills and behaviors of women sales professionals so that they can become outstandingly successful in their careers and steadily rise to leadership positions. This full-day program will help women professionals to analyse unstated, unmet needs of clients, negotiate effectively, exhibit executive presence and close business deals.

Everyday Leadership for Millennial Women Professionals is a training programme designed for early career women. This programme will help young women professionals in setting future direction for their careers, building commitment and creating alignment for collaboration at the workplace. This full-day program training programme will equip millennial women professionals with the tools that they need to grow and thrive.

for more email at: ek@avtarcc.com

Dr Saundarya Rajesh, a leading D&I Champion in India, is a successful social entrepreneur and an award winning thought leader who has been advocating the principles and aspects of Diversity & Inclusion through her articles published in leading dailies, and research papers that have won recognition internationally.

  • India Inc can fight patriarchy
    with gender-inclusive policies
  • Second Career Internship
    – A Partnership of Equality
  • Internship: The art of designing
    smart career comebacks!
  • Empower women at work to
    improve creativity, diversity
  • Can ‘maternity coaching’
    check attrition rate?
  • Does going digital mean even
    fewer women in the workforce?
  • Fixing the Leaky Pipe
    – Women in Leadership
  • Dr.saundaryarajesh
    - second careers of women
  • Dr.SaundaryaRajesh - Barriers
    To Flexible Working For IWP
  • Dr.SaundaryaRajesh
    - Second Careers Of Women
  • Dr.SaundaryaRajesh - Generational
    Diversity In The Indian Workforce
  • Dr.SaundaryaRajesh - Influencing
    Adolescent Girls To Be Career Intentional
  • Dr.SaundaryaRajesh - Career
    Intentionality Of Indian Professionals

advance praise

Our embracing of D&I principles truly determines how we live and work meaningfully—in this delightful collection of stories, anecdotes and life situations. Dr Rajesh drives this message home emphatically.

Anil Chaudhry
Zone President and Managing Director International Operations, Schneider Electric

Organizations which practise the concept of diversity and inclusion are more creative and adaptable. They usually live longer and beat others in terms of growth and profitability. I also feel that companies having diversity and inclusion provide the right platform to foster happy, involved and closely knit teams. Having pioneered the concept of diversity and inclusion along with spearheading the work for providing second careers for women, Saundarya is the best person to write The 99 Day Diversity Challenge. Having walked the talk, there is no better person to elucidate and throw more light on diversity and inclusion.

C.K. Ranganathan
Chairman and Managing Director, CavinKare Private Limited

I find great value in both the concepts around inclusive leadership and the stories that reflect these concepts in The 99 Day Diversity Challenge. Very innovative and engaging! Dr Rajesh has chosen a unique format that appeals both to the head and to the heart.

Deepak Iyer
Managing Director, Mondelez International, India

In this day and age of multicultural workplaces, no topic assumes more importance than diversity and inclusion. A lot of workplace issues can be resolved and a happier workplace can be created by understanding these two concepts well. As they say getting from ‘0’ to ‘1’ is the most difficult part in any transformational journey. They also say a job well begun is half done. Dr Saundarya through her work in this area for several years is best-placed to author a book on this topic. She explains the basics and weaves in stories and exercises to make this book a very engaging read. Ninety-nine days is all it will take for you to be well on your way to making your workplace an inclusive one.

Mohan Narayanaswamy
Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director, BNY Mellon Technology

The cultural and cognitive diversity of our workforce enables us to make path-breaking content, ‘think big’ and explore new avenues of growth, including those that fall outside traditional industry norms. Being an inclusive organization is not a choice; it is a necessity for business success—Dr Saundarya’s book The 99 Day Diversity Challenge uses the unique and unexplored style of storytelling to illustrate this emphatically.

N.P Singh
CEO, Multi Screen Media Pvt. Ltd (Sony Entertainment)

Organizations with diverse and inclusive leadership at the top create a better world where individuals and organization not only grow, but they also thrive, get more out of their talent and therefore deliver better performance. Dr Saundarya Rajesh’s passion for creating inclusive cultures and helping women with potential achieve their career goals is unshakable.

Mr Ramesh Iyer
CEO, Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited

Business case for diversity and inclusion has been well researched, established and unequivocally proven. And yet progress has not been adequate whether in public or private enterprises due to multiple reasons—cultural, historical, conscious and unconscious biases. That’s why D&I has to be championed by the CEO/head of the organization with passion, conviction and commitment. Dr Saundarya has researched and championed women’s workforce participation at multiple levels for two decades. She is internationally recognized and respected for her deep insights into theory and practice of D&I. I invariably came away with new perspectives on the subject after interacting with her and attending her sessions/workshops. I cannot think of a better person to write a book on D&I than Saundarya, and I am convinced that the book will exude her passion and in-depth understanding of the topic.

Dr Raman Ramachandran
Head South Asia, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF India Ltd

A simple, practical and engaging read on diversity and inclusion, presented innovatively. The stories shared are profound and relatable. Saundarya’s 99 Day Diversity Challenge has something to offer to all who wish to be part of or create a diverse and inclusive ecosystem.

Uma Ratnam Krishnan
Co-CEO, Barclays Global Service Centres, and Head of Finance, India, Barclays Global Service Centres

Diversity is a business imperative; inclusion, a behaviour, an attitude. This distinction is brought through beautifully in The 99 Day Diversity Challenge by Dr Saundarya. A must-read for all D&I enthusiasts!

Chaitanya N. Sreenivas
VP HR and HR Head India South Asia, IBM

We live in a strange, shrinking world, where distances between people are getting minimized but identities are either fading or growing sharper. Organizations being a reflection of society, diversity and inclusion become a wonderful lever to support employees play to their strengths and expand human possibilities. With her pioneering and path-breaking work in the area of diversity and inclusion, the publishers could have found no better person than Saundarya to write this book. Her experiences and insights are sure to be enlightening and inspiring for readers and with her compelling style of writing, she will be engaging and thought-provoking too.

Gangapriya Chakraverti
Director HR, GBS, Ford India

Inclusion and diversity are integral to attracting and retaining the best talent in the market as well as providing exceptional service to clients in a fast-paced and ever-changing business environment. I have worked closely with Saundarya in the inclusion space for many years, and her subject matter expertise in the field is unmatched.

Jaya Virwani
VP Diversity and Inclusion, EY Global Delivery Services

Diversity and inclusion are driving Intel’s transformation and growth as a company. Diversity invites different perspectives, experiences and ideas to our company and to the many innovative solutions we deliver to markets around the world. We believe that diverse teams, thinking and leadership styles create more opportunities for innovation, creativity and strategic thinking.

Nivruti Rai
Country Head, Intel India, VP, Data Center Group

I haven’t come across a book on diversity and inclusion that is so compelling with personal anecdotes, yet outcome-driven and organization focused. Dr Saundarya has taken a very non-linear approach in delivering her product with substance and character that has her signature all over it.

Raj Raghavan
Senior VP HR, IndiGo (InterGlobe Aviation Limited)

By engaging the reader in a combination of riveting storytelling, roleplays, quizzes and practical tools, Dr Rajesh invites us into a CEO’s world and his/her journey to becoming an advocate for diversity and inclusion. The 99 Day Diversity Challenge is filled with real-life, practical examples of strategies and techniques that can be used to shift mindsets and drive meaningful change.

Rohini Anand
Senior VP Corporate Responsibility and Global Chief Diversity Officer, Sodexo

Dr Saundarya Rajesh is uniquely positioned to write this book because she has lived this journey personally and has been a teacher and collaborator to both individual women and their companies for a couple of decades. This book synthesizes her best thinking and experiences. The ability to have a handy resource as reference when you are on your company’s inclusion journey is critical. This is the book you want in your arsenal. Be sure to get your advance copy!

Subha Barry
President, Working Mother Media

I think Dr Saundarya Rajesh is most qualified to write on the topic of D&I as she has great passion for the subject combined with the gravitas of research over many years. I also think that she has moved beyond qualifications and made a change in the society with Project PUTHRI. She has also created a huge influence in the way subliminal gender bias has been addressed in the Indian workplace and that is showing the way for organizations to put this on the top of their agenda—something that was never spoken about.

S.V. Nathan
CHRO, Deloitte India

Dr Rajesh’s book cleverly weaves D&I theory with masterful storytelling—a must-read for any professional looking to broaden one’s understanding on this pressing corporate need.

Dr P.V. Ramana Murthy
Executive VP and Global Head HR, The Indian Hotels Company Limited (Taj Hotels)

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