A lot is happening at Flipkart, India's largest e-commerce player. The company is in talks for a merger with rival Snapdeal, and taking on deep-pocketed global e-commerce giants such as Amazon.
While the e-commerce sector, and the startup space in general, tends to be dominated by success stories of male entrepreneurs, these women leaders are driving important strategic and product decisions at Flipkart, and have cogent messages for aspiring women leaders.
Monomita Roy Avasarala
As Group Product Manager - Consumer Finance, Avasarala, leads the consumer products team at Flipkart, and has worked closely with co-founder Binny Bansal on strategy and direction of the company.
A former strategy consultant with Boston Consulting Group (BCG) with years of experience working with big name international clients in the financial services space, 33-year-old Avasarala joined Flipkart three years ago just when the consumer Internet space was booming. Her role at Flipkart was a "sweet spot" combining her passion for technology with her experience in finance, she told HuffPost India.
After a six-month maternity break, Avasarala returned to a new products-focused role last year, and led the roll-out of 'No cost EMIs' and campaigns such as 'Big Billion Day,' bringing together banks and lenders to provide financing options for purchase of big-ticket items on the site. She is currently working on bringing more options to boost affordability of the products sold on the site, she said.
Jain, a former director of product management at Flipkart, has recently returned to Flipkart after leaving the company briefly to start her own venture InLogg, an e-commerce logistics company that helps visualise and track delivery logistics to smaller cities and remote areas.
As logistics is increasingly becoming an important differentiator for e-commerce players, Jain, 42, was able to sell InLogg she founded to Myntra, a subsidiary of Flipkart, recently for an undisclosed sum.
Jain, who was also selected by US-based Anita Borg Institute as one of top six women entrepreneurs in technology in India, describes her stint in the male-dominated startup and technology space as smooth, but stresses that more mentorship programs to encourage women to take leadership roles need to be done.
"I do get asked a lot, 'Do people see you differently as a women entrepreneur from investor or customers?' I did not see the bias, or maybe I've been in tech for so many years that I may have overcome that mental or cultural hurdle," she said.
Her advice to women is to lean out and take risks.
"As women, we try to take too much burden on our shoulders that I think can be avoided. Try out new things and don't get dissuaded by failures," she said.
As Associate Director for seller acquisition, on-boarding and experience, 37-year-old Krishnan is involved in finding more sellers for the site to help boost its products, as well as managing the operations of seller experience.
While Krishnan has found support for her ideas at Flipkart and credits her rise to a supportive family, she stresses that women have to believe strongly and have conviction about their ideas to take them to completion.
"It is very important to be persistent and not get bogged down by obstacles or criticism that you might face," she said.
"A lot of times women tend to limit themselves thinking that they are women and there are certain things not suitable for them."
Flipkart currently employs 7,500 staff. It does not disclose how many women work at the company.