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Vibha Padalkar - The Woman in Charge at HDFC Life

Vibha Padalkar - The Woman in Charge at HDFC Life - HDFC Life
February 26, 2024
Vibha Padalkar's upbringing was far from starry or luxurious. As the daughter of two hardworking public servants, she grew up understanding the importance of charting one's own path into the world. Vibha was born in Chennai and did most of her schooling there. When her father got transferred, the family followed him to London. Here, she completed her chartered accountancy course with the CA Institute in England & Wales. Vibha moved back to India in 1993 and started to slowly but surely climb her way up the corporate ladder. Over her long career, she has worked in various finance departments across a number of industries.

Today, she has become the CEO and MD of HDFC Life after over 10 years with the company. She's one of the few women in India who has secured a seat for herself in the corner room, but her career hasn't always been easy. For the last 24 years, she's also been a mother. She says that it was definitely one of the most challenging roles she's had, but as somebody who was always clear about her career and what she wanted from it, she chalked out with her husband their respective parental roles. There were times when she paced herself  took on smaller portfolios so that she could spend time with her son. When opportunities presented themselves, however, she'd ask her partner to spend more time with their son, and he willingly obliged.

At one point during her career, while working on an important project, she had to spend long hours each day in the office. She realised that she would hardly spend any time with her son who was asleep when she left each morning and already in bed when she came home every night. So, she did what most mothers would do. She would make the 30-minute journey home in the evening to put her son to bed. Once he was tucked in and asleep, she'd head back to office to complete her work, often working past midnight. It was far from easy, but for Vibha it was necessary to balance her professional and family life perfectly. Despite the long hours, the working mom always ensured that every free moment she had was spent with her son and family.

Vibha Padalkar is truly an inspiration to women around the world. But she knows that she hasn't come this far by herself. She is quick to thank her husband and son, who has helped to attain new heights at the workplace. Despite her seemingly perfect balancing act, there were times when she almost threw in the towel. Most new parents face a trying time when they feel like one of them should stay home. However, she thinks that by sticking together through the tough times, you'll emerge on the other side, victorious and glad for the struggles that helped you learn and grow. She always thanks her son, who never cried and asked her to skip a day of work. According to her, he knew how important her work was to her and would fall ill only on Friday evenings, so she wouldn't have to miss work to look after him over the weekend.

Looking to the future of women in the workplace, Vibha thinks that organisations can make a few changes to help new mothers. Providing them with the opportunity to work from home is something that she thinks will greatly help young families. Additionally, she encourages working women to always set clear goals in their minds. Once the goal is set, she urges women to work hard to achieve them. Most importantly, though, she thinks that women need to choose the right life partner. Without a good support system at home, it will be almost impossible for women to succeed.

Thank you for leading the way for working mothers everywhere.

ARN: ED/05/19/13800

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Francis Rodrigues Francis Rodrigues

Francis Rodrigues has a decade long experience in the insurance sector, and as SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, HDFC Life, manages the online sales channel, as well as digital and performance marketing. He has had hands-on experience in setting up sales channels and functional teams from scratch over a career spanning 2 decades.

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Vishal Subharwal Vishal Subharwal

Vishal Subharwal heads the Strategy, Marketing, E-Commerce, Digital Business & Sustainability initiatives at HDFC Life. He is responsible for crafting and ensuring successful implementation of the overall organisation strategy.

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