Mastek Blog

Will Leading Authentically as a Woman Affect My Leadership? No, it's My Superpower!

12-Mar-2024 03:24:41 / by Prajakta Talvelkar

Prajakta Talvelkar


I recently had a moment where I watched a young girl happily displaying her tiara and toy sword- a delightful fusion of princess and warrior energies. But it struck me how different it was from the stereotypes we often hold in our heads about leaders based on their genders-associating assertiveness with masculinity and vulnerability and empathy with femininity.   


These stereotypes feed into what I call the "authenticity tax" among women. It's the feeling of suppressing one's authentic self or natural qualities to conform to a predefined, male-dominated leadership archetype, or facing penalties for deviating from it.    

We are going to need women leaders who will break the mould  

Two decades into my professional journey, I can say leadership isn't about simulating stereotypes. It is about finding your own unique blend.   

For me, the blend was about embracing my femininity and inherent strengths like empathy and vulnerability (acknowledging I won't excel in everything), along with my natural inclinations towards assertiveness and decisiveness. It wasn't until I embraced my own style, an amalgamation of empathy and assertiveness, that I discovered my leadership superpower: my authenticity. And it has truly enabled me to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard.  

In the future, there will be no female leaders...  


Sheryl Sandberg has rightly said- “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders."

To me glass ceiling exists only in our heads, and there are no gender stereotypes — not in reality. As a leader, you need to be human, authentic, passionate, and backed by a strong team to support you. You need to be driven by purpose and not by emotions. Every leader irrespective of their gender has their own set of challenges and it is their grit and determination that helps them to steer the ship even in difficult situations.     

I had a wonderful opportunity to delve deeper into this topic with Pirie Jones Grossman from Authority Magazine. You may read my full interview here:


Topics: diversity and inclusion, leadership, thoughtleadership

Prajakta Talvelkar

Written by Prajakta Talvelkar

In her role as the Global Head of Marketing and Partnerships, Prajakta Talvekar plays a pivotal role in shaping Mastek’s worldwide marketing strategies and spearheading impactful go-to-market initiatives. With over two decades of experience in the IT industry, she brings a wealth of expertise encompassing sales, consulting, marketing, and alliances. Prajakta previously held a leadership position overseeing the marketing unit for Capgemini’s Local Business in India, the Middle East, and North America. Additionally, she served as the Manager of Marketing and Communications at Bristlecone, where she played a crucial role in establishing and managing the marketing function. Her distinguished track record includes consistently surpassing sales targets, implementing innovative marketing solutions, and optimizing business processes through a unique blend of insights and analytics. An alumna of IIM C, Prajakta earned her B.Sc. in Microbiology from Sir Willingdon College and completed the APMP Marketing program at the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. Beyond her exceptional professional achievements, she is committed to guiding and mentoring students, sharing her industry knowledge and insights.

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