Meet Jaya Mehrotra Founder of Women Leadership Circle

Jaya Mehrotra is the founder of Women Leadership Circle (WLC) a networking and mentorship platform that supports women's career aspirations.

Jaya Mehrotra is the founder of Women Leadership Circle (WLC) a networking and mentorship platform that supports women’s career aspirations.

Jaya Mehrotra is the founder of Women Leadership Circle (WLC). She is also a corporate facilitator, motivational speaker, and a Leadership and Executive Coach to C-suite executives. WLC provides a space for women leaders to collaborate and share resources with the aim of providing thought leadership, mentoring and vision to fellow members and fellow communities.

At the peak of her career – In 2014, Jaya decided to pursue her calling and transformed into a Leadership and Executive Coach. Since then, she has spent over 2000+ hours prepping New Leaders & CXOs to achieve their potential and create significant impact in their organizations.

In this exclusive interview, we sat down with Jaya to find out about her journey.

Can you tell us more about your personal journey, and what led you to the realisation that enabling and channelizing people to achieve their personal and professional goals is your true purpose in life?

I was immersed in the corporate world, achieving success and recognition in a respectable position. As markets were crashing during 2008 and job security was in question, a yearning for mentorship and guidance stirred within me. A longing for something more meaningful evoked in me.

In the midst of my bustling corporate life, a moment of clarity and deep sense of purpose touched me. I realised that my true purpose lies in empowering others to reach their personal and professional goals. I wanted to be the mentor that I had once longed for myself.

With this newfound realisation, I embarked on a personal journey of self-discovery and growth. Determined to make a difference, I set out to become a leadership coach. I wanted to help individuals unlock their potential, to believe in themselves and their dreams.

As I began coaching, I encountered countless professionals from different walks of life. However, I noticed a pattern in women. What struck me was a common thread—they were not aiming high enough, not reaching for the stars. This revelation ignited a fire within me. I decided to become an enabler, a catalyst for change.

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That’s when I created the Women Leadership Circle—a platform dedicated to enabling women to climb the mountains.

Of course, there were challenges along the way. Moments of doubt and setbacks threatened to derail me. But it was in those moments that I discovered my own strength—the resilience to keep pushing forward.

Today, as I reflect on my journey, I am filled with gratitude. Empowering others to reach their full potential has become my true purpose in life. Every day, I wake up inspired to make a difference, to be the catalyst that propels individuals towards their dreams.

As a founder of Women Leadership Circle (WLC), what inspired you to create a space specifically for women leaders? How do you believe WLC contributes to the advancement of women in leadership roles?

As I navigated the professional landscape, I couldn’t help but notice the glaring gap that existed when it came to women in leadership positions. Women, despite their incredible talents and capabilities, are notably low in numbers in decision-making roles.

It saddened me to witness the untapped potential, the brilliant minds left unacknowledged, and the remarkable ideas that were never given the chance to flourish.

Furthermore, I saw countless women who, after reaching a certain stage in their lives, chose to step away from their careers. They are somehow forced to make agonising choices between pursuing their professional aspirations and fulfilling their roles as mothers or caregivers. This pattern perpetuated a cycle of missed opportunities and unfulfilled dreams.

I realised there is an undeniable sense of isolation that many women in leadership roles experienced. They lacked a supportive network of like-minded individuals who understood their unique challenges and aspirations. It became clear to me that what was missing was a dedicated space for women leaders, a community that would provide the support, inspiration, and resources needed to thrive.

And so, with a burning desire to ignite change, I founded the Women Leadership Circle. WLC is a sanctuary for women leaders who refuse to be defined by societal limitations.

WLC is built on the principles of bringing empowered women in power through collaboration, networking and mentorship. It is a platform where women leaders can connect, learn, and grow together. Through WLC’s meticulously curated events, workshops, and mentoring programs, I sought to equip women with the tools, knowledge, and confidence necessary to thrive in leadership roles.

WLC is a catalyst for transformation. It is a place where women can aim to envision exponential growth in scaling their businesses.

Women Leadership Circle, is meant to create a ripple effect that extends far beyond the individuals involved. As our members grow and flourish, they will become beacons of inspiration for countless others.

Women who once felt alone now stand united, supporting and uplifting one another. Through their collective efforts, they are rewriting the narrative of women in leadership, breaking down barriers, and reshaping industries.

Could you elaborate on the impact you have seen through your one-on-one mentoring sessions with C-suite executives? Can you share any specific success stories or examples of how you have helped individuals maximize their innate potential?

Through my experience as a leadership coach, I have had the privilege of witnessing the profound impact these sessions can have.

I would like to share a testimonial from one of my clients after a successful coaching completion to highlight on the kind of difference coaching brings to someone’s outlook:

“It was a great blessing to me that I was able to select Jaya as my personal coach. I say blessing as from the moment of the word ‘go’, we connected and I could not have wished for another person as my personal coach.

We all need to share our work experiences with someone other than colleagues and family and what are the best ways to navigate around those nuances. This was a first for me and the ease in which Jaya put me in our first session, I was able to make the best of the personal coach experience.

Jaya is extremely down to earth, knowledgeable and knows her work. She was able to help me identify areas of improvement and most particularly, my weakness on not being able to manage stressful situations.

Through her guidance and counselling I am now able to identify my stressors and how to navigate around those areas. She has also helped me to identify my strengths and provided meaningful insights on how to deal with difficult stakeholders.

I wish her all the very best and I’m sure that she will make an impact and change lives for all those who are going to take her assistance as their coach.”

I have observed my clients gain a profound sense of clarity and maturity post the coaching sessions. It gives them the confidence to navigate through the most complicated roads be it in the corporate world or their entrepreneurial Journey.

I help them to identify their preconceived biases and tackle them rightfully in order to eliminate the limiting factors which in turn aids them to be limitless.

With your diverse demographic ranging from CEOs and Vertical Heads across multiple sectors and geographies, what are the common challenges or obstacles that you have observed women leaders facing in the workplace? How do you address these challenges through your mentoring and coaching programs?

Jaya Mehrotra is the founder of Women Leadership Circle (WLC) a networking and mentorship platform that supports women's career aspirations.

One prevalent challenge faced by women leaders is a lack of representation and visibility in leadership positions. This can lead to feelings of isolation and a lack of support. In my coaching, I emphasise the importance of networking and provide opportunities for women leaders to connect with mentors who have successfully navigated similar challenges.

By fostering a community of support and encouraging collaboration, we help women leaders build strong networks and amplify their visibility.

Another challenge often encountered by women leaders is the perception of being less competent or assertive than their male counterparts. To tackle this, my coaching focuses on developing and enhancing leadership skills such as transparent communication, negotiation, and self-advocacy.

I provide tailored guidance and strategies to help women leaders project confidence, assertiveness, and credibility, thereby breaking through these biases and dispelling any misconceptions.

Additionally, work-life balance remains a significant concern for women leaders, as they often face additional expectations and responsibilities outside of work. I stress on the importance of prioritising holistic development, offering guidance on time management, prioritisation, and boundary-setting.

I help women leaders navigate the complexities of managing their personal and professional lives, enabling them to find a healthy equilibrium and sustain long-term success.

As someone who has triumphed in their own career, what advice do you have for women who aspire to reach leadership positions in their organizations? How can they navigate the barriers and overcome the biases they may encounter?

For women aspiring to reach leadership positions in their organisations, I have some advice. One important aspect is to celebrate both the small and big wins along the way. Women often tend to be hard on themselves and downplay their achievements. Recognizing and acknowledging their successes, regardless of their scale, is crucial for building confidence and self-belief.

To overcome obstacles and biases that may hinder their progress, it is essential for women to work on getting beyond self-inflicted criticism. Many women have a tendency to be overly self-critical and doubt their abilities, even when they have proven themselves capable.

It is important for them to develop a mindset of self-assurance and believe that they are enough. Challenging and overcoming these self-imposed limitations can help them unleash their full potential and pursue leadership roles with confidence.

In addition to these personal strategies, seeking guidance can be immensely beneficial. A skilled mentor can provide valuable insights, support, and practical advice tailored to an individual’s specific goals and challenges. They can help women identify and address any biases or preconceptions they may encounter, and provide strategies for navigating the complex dynamics of organisational leadership. 

It is also crucial for women to actively seek out opportunities for growth and advancement within their organisations. They should proactively network, build relationships with mentors and sponsors, and seek out challenging assignments that stretch their capabilities.

By continuously expanding their skills and knowledge, women can position themselves as competent and valuable contributors, increasing their chances of ascending to leadership positions.

How do you integrate the concepts of self-acceptance, clarity, and courage into your practice? Can you explain how these intrinsic factors play a role in empowering women to pursue their untapped goals?

Self-acceptance is about embracing oneself fully, letting go of self-limiting beliefs, and recognizing one’s worth.

Clarity plays a crucial role in providing women with a sense of direction and purpose. Through introspection and exploration, I support women in gaining clarity about their values, passions, and long-term goals. This clarity enables them to make informed decisions and take focused actions towards their untapped goals.

Courage is the fuel that propels women forward despite their fears and doubts. I work with women to cultivate courage by creating a safe and supportive environment where they can take risks, step outside their comfort zones, and embrace vulnerability. With courage, women can overcome obstacles and persevere in the face of challenges on their journey towards their untapped goals.

By integrating these intrinsic factors into my coaching practice, I enable women to embrace their authentic selves, gain clarity about their aspirations, and develop the courage to take decisive action. I provide guidance, support, and accountability to help them overcome barriers and achieve their untapped goals.

Looking towards the future, what are your goals and aspirations for the Women Leadership Circle (WLC)? How do you envision it evolving and making a broader impact in the years to come?

The Women Leadership Circle (WLC) envisions a future where women have equal opportunities to thrive and lead in various spheres. Our goals and aspirations revolve around two key categories: Women Entrepreneurs and Corporate Women Professionals.

For Women Entrepreneurs, we aim to create a global impact. Despite women constituting more than half of the population and holding a majority of degrees, the representation of women in leadership positions remains low. The statistics reveal a significant gap between capability and opportunity. WLC aims to bridge this gap by empowering women to become successful entrepreneurs.

We believe that every corporate move counts, and with WLC’s support, we envision a world where women-owned brands flourish alongside their male counterparts. Nykaa, the successful Indian brand, is just the beginning; we strive to cultivate many more examples of women-led brands, both locally and globally.

In the realm of Corporate Women Professionals, we strive for more women to reach the C-suite level. Currently, the representation of women in top executive roles remains dismally low, hindering progress towards gender equality. WLC is committed to breaking through the glass ceiling by providing mentorship, networking opportunities, and skill-building programs.

We envision a future where the C-suite reflects diversity and women’s leadership is celebrated and recognized. By empowering corporate women professionals, we will reshape the corporate landscape, creating a more inclusive and equitable environment for all.

WLC’s impact will be far-reaching, transforming the business world and society as a whole. By empowering women entrepreneurs and nurturing corporate women professionals, we will unlock the immense potential that has long been overlooked.

Through collective action, mentorship, and support, we will pave the way for a future where women’s leadership is not only expected but celebrated. Together, we will build a world where gender equality is the norm, fostering innovation, economic growth, and a more equitable society for all.

In your opinion, what are some key strategies or initiatives that organisations can adopt to strengthen the female leadership pipeline and promote gender diversity in senior positions? How can they create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women to thrive?

Promoting gender diversity and strengthening the female leadership pipeline is crucial for organisations to foster an inclusive and supportive environment where women can thrive. Here are key strategies and initiatives that can be adopted to achieve these goals:

  • Offer leadership development programs

Create tailored leadership development programs specifically designed to nurture the skills and talents of women. These programs can include mentoring, coaching, and sponsorship initiatives that provide guidance and support to women throughout their career progression.

  • Establish gender diversity goals

Set clear and measurable goals for gender diversity at all levels of the organization, including senior positions. These goals should be integrated into performance evaluations and incentive structures to encourage accountability and drive progress.

  • Foster a supportive culture

Organizations should cultivate an inclusive and supportive culture by promoting flexibility, work-life balance, and family-friendly policies. Encourage open communication and provide platforms for women to voice their ideas, concerns, and aspirations.

  • Sponsorship and networking opportunities

Establish formal sponsorship programs where senior leaders actively support and advocate for high-potential women. Additionally, provide networking opportunities that allow women to connect with inspiring role models and mentors both within and outside the organisation.

  • Transparent promotion and succession processes

Ensure transparency and fairness in promotion and succession processes by establishing clear criteria and evaluation metrics. Regularly review and address any gender disparities that may arise.

By adopting these strategies and initiatives, organizations can create a more inclusive and supportive environment where women can thrive, ensuring a stronger female leadership pipeline and promoting gender diversity in senior positions.

Ultimately, this will lead to enhanced innovation, increased profitability, and a more equitable workplace for all.

Image credits: created on CanvaPro

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