What Leaders Look Like

In our attempt to support leaders from under-represented groups, I feel like constantly labelling these leaders in the media only ever as women founders or Indian entrepreneurs does not assist in solving the clear disparities we are trying to solve for.

There’s a very obvious problem in the entrepreneurship ecosystem when it comes to lack of support for under-represented groups :

Highlighting that a leader comes from an under-represented group is very useful and important in reducing stigma, removing barriers of entry and paving the path for the next generation of leaders to participate in careers that they previously might not have considered.

The business and ethical case has already been made on why diversity and inclusion is important.

Increasing the talent pool = better innovations = better world

We need more smart, creative and compassionate people in the world, not less.

My gripe is that most publications only every highlight the demographic of an under-represented founder in their headlines. For me, this only entrenches the narrative of the ‘other’.

These leaders are not just best in their [insert any demographic] category, they are actually best in class.

And I’d love for that to be highlighted more – This I feel, will help reshape what we subliminally think leaders look like.


[Below is a short impromptu series I put together on LinkedIn highlighting some of my favourite leaders. Let me know yours!] :

What a *Founder* looks like:

Falguni Nayar is the first Indian woman to take her company, Nykaa (an e-commerce retailer) public, making it a unicorn.

Nykaa has a market cap of $14 billion + is profitable!

She launched it when she was 49 and became a multi-billionaire at 58.

What a *Corporate CEO* looks like :

Indra Nooyi was :

– The first woman and South Asian CEO of PepsiCo (the $100+ billion giant)
– One of 10 women CEOs running a *Fortune500* company in 2006
– Successfully ran the company for 12 years

What an *Investor* looks like:

Anna Fang, CEO and founding partner at ZhenFund, makes the 2022 Midas List:
– # 1 on the Midas Seed list (as the most successful seed investor in the world)
– # 12 on the overall Midas List (ranking top tech investors)

Her work:
– Backed 30+ seed-stage startups that have become unicorns
– Backed 90+ startups that reached a successful exit
– Oversees a portfolio that has backed 600+ startups