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Neelam must shine

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DQW Bureau
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I am sure she will not remember it, but I first met Neelam Dhawan in her

Hindustan Computers office in Nehru Place. The year was 1989, and we were doing

an article on the new features that were available in PC ATs in comparison to PC

XTs. Along with the article we had to carry a comparative price chart of the

leading vendors, and every time I asked Hindustan Computers for the information,

I was told that Neelam Dhawan will give it. One day I just walked into their

office and said I was not leaving till I have met Neelam Dhawan.

I was completely taken aback when a smart, young and yet, unassuming lady

just walked up to me and introduced herself as Neelam. She said she was sorry

for the delay but that she was not aware of this. Without any further delay she

just took a piece of paper and jotted down the details, and I filed my story.

She even gave me her direct number and said if there were any clarifications, I

could call her without hesitation.

Almost 20 years have passed since then. Hindustan Computers became HCL, and

Indian IT became a multi-billion dollar industry. In between, some very big

milestones were crossed. I would term Neelam's appointment as the head of HP

India, the country's fourth largest IT company, as a milestone that will change

the face of Indian IT.

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Ibrahim ahmad

As the new captain of a mega-entity that clocked revenue of nearly Rs 12,000

crore in 2006-07, Neelam will surely be an inspiration for thousands of women

workers who form a part of the Indian IT industry. Today, almost 20% of the

industry workforce constitutes of women, and I am sure Neelam will provide

confidence to many of them to take bigger targets and even bigger roles, and aim

for leadership positions. We do not find many women at senior positions across

the industry, but Neelam's achievement will surely change the picture in the

next few years.

With Indian companies such as Wipro, TCS, and Infosys strengthening and

consolidating their position in the domestic market, it is going to be pretty

tough. But I am confident that Neelam, with her experience and knowledge of the

industry, will do a great job as a leader. This is likely to change the mindset

of board members as well as headhunters, many of whom still believe that the job

is for men when it comes to looking for CEO material.

Will Neelam succeed in her new role? I bet she will. If nothing else, she has

to prove a point to the world. And more than that, for an industry where senior

level talent is a huge crunch, it is critical that she succeeds. I am sure

nobody wants a smile on the face of those who believe that women cannot succeed

at the top. The industry needs to make sure she does.

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