Future leaders should know how to lead with blurring of boundaries between work, home, society: Fable CEO Padmasree Warrior at IIT-D convocation

Warrior highlighted some key technology trends that graduating students should watch out for, including digital transformation, AI and data, sustainability and climate tech, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, and cryptocurrency.

Padmasree Warrior, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) alumna and founder & CEO of Fable – a virtual book club app – on Saturday said leaders of the future needed to learn how to lead in the post-pandemic world where there are “no boundaries between work, home, and society”. She was speaking at the 52nd convocation of IIT-D.

Addressing graduating students virtually from Chicago, Warrior, who’s also a board member at Microsoft and Spotify, said, “In my view, leaders of the future must know how to lead when there are no boundaries between work, home, and society. We all experienced this blurring of boundaries in 2020. When I started my career – work, home, and society had a clear separation. This is not the case anymore. We work from home, and our work is influenced by (and, in turn, influences) society, politics, culture. As leaders we cannot turn a blind eye or close our ears to everything that is happening around us.”

“As future leaders you must develop and exhibit three important skills. First, empathy – the ability to bring opposing viewpoints together. Second, active listening – the aptitude to understand issues deeply, going beyond the surface level. Third, the ability to learn – this is the most important ability for a leader, especially in the fast-paced technology industry,” she said.

Warrior also spoke of ‘The Global Mental Wellness Movement’ post-pandemic and the role of corporations. “Today, coping with burnout, stress, and depression is the burning platform. Corporations must provide employees with the support they need to improve retention, and doing nothing will only reinforce an outdated stigma,” she said.

Warrior highlighted some key technology trends that graduating students should watch out for, including digital transformation, AI and data, sustainability and climate tech, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, and cryptocurrency.

IIT-D Director V Ramgopal presented his report and mentioned all the steps taken by the university during the pandemic, as well as the opening of new centres and departments. He also reminded students to “pay their debt” at some point.

“I am sure that you would work for a better world where science and technology are used in socially-responsible ways, and in harmony with nature. We wish to see you become job providers and not remain as job seekers forever,” he said.

“Do not also forget that your education here was subsidized anywhere from 100% to 70% from the taxpayer’s money, the money that could have gone to provide food for a hungry child. You need to pay back your debt at some point in time. That is the only way India can nourish and sustain excellence in her higher educational Institutions,” he added.

A total of 288 PhD students, 843 undergraduate students, and 986 postgraduate students received their degrees on Saturday. The convocation was conducted in hybrid mode in parallel venues – all visible to one another – keeping in mind Covid-19 protocols.

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