Updated: Mar 22, 2021
Welcome to the first edition of Conversations for our Future. In this interview series we’ll be hearing from a diverse set of voices on how we can harness the pandemic to build a new global normal. Each week, I’ll be asking each interviewee the same three questions:
1. What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?
2. In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a society? If so, how?
3. How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?
My first guest is Kirti Lad – I hope you enjoy reading her insightful and inspiring responses to the questions.
Kirti is the Executive Director of Meraki Executive Search & Consulting Limited and created by the leadership team of Harvey Nash APAC. Her expertise is in leadership hiring both Non-Executive and Executive appointments across the Asia Pacific region. Kirti is the pioneer behind the Women’s Directorship Programme, a joint-venture with The University of Hong Kong. Kirti also leads the Meraki Network, an Executive Women’s network in the region, is a regular speaker and contributor to conferences and media relating to gender diversity in Asia and is an active member of the Women in Business Committee at the British Chamber in Hong Kong. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Kirti was named as one of the Global Top 50 Diversity Professionals in Industry by the Economist Magazine. In 2013, Kirti was featured in the South China Morning Post’s annual Women Of Our Time magazine as one of Hong Kong’s 25 most inspirational and influential women who have contributed to the city’s success over the past year. She is married and has two young children, Roy and Ava.
What one aspect within your sector have you seen transformed due to the pandemic?
Kirti: COVID has amplified the importance of inclusive leadership. Leaders who are consciously taking care of their people, putting people wellbeing before profits are the ones who will continue to lead high performing teams throughout this period and the level of engagement from employees will be far greater than normal, individuals will be empowered and want to go out of their way to help and be supportive. This psychological safely these leaders bring to their teams will pay significant dividends when our economies bounce back. There’s no other way to lead. COVID has transformed leadership for the better. People have reconnected with what is important, relationships, listening, empathy and acting responsibly.
In your opinion, has/will the pandemic change how we function as a global society? If so, how?
Kirti: COVID has demonstrated just how unequal our societies are and how much reliance there is on governments yet governments are either not adequately equipped to help everyone or they are choosing to be selective. I believe businesses will play a far bigger role in influencing and guiding society and not governments alone. The concept of Shared Value where businesses take a lead role in helping solve social challenges and empowering communities to take shared accountability is one way we can tackle the big challenges in education, unemployment environment etc With some highly ethical leaders at the helm of these global MNC’s, I am optimistic the business community has a big role to play to help steer our global society in the right direction.
How do you hope to personally harness the pandemic to create positive change?
Kirti: Firstly, I have an innate appreciation for all those unsung heroes who have kept us safe during this period, the shop workers, nurses, cleaners, factory workers making PPE etc. I will never forget this. The pandemic has taught me we are all inextricably interrelated, and that people and the planet should be at the heart of every decision. If we can find ways of aligning our individual purpose with something bigger, I believe our world will be a far more moral, responsible and kinder place to thrive in.