UCO Bank’s Singapore Chief, Kalpana (Iyer) believes that women at work must conduct themselves with the firm belief that ‘gender’ per se is a non-issue and that they will not stand any nonsense
3/17/2015 11:42:34 AM
|written By : Nithya Subramanian|
Doggedness, determination to excel and the willingness to learn newthings are Kalpana's (Iyer), success mantras. The banker who uses only one name is General Manager & Chief Executive Officer of UCO Bank, Singapore.
In the hard-nosed world of banking and finance, she comes across as someone who is firm yet gentle. While she places great emphasis on professionalism at the workplace, she displays her softer side by bringing home-cooked meals for herself and colleagues. She is practical, not flashy given the fact that she chooses to ride in a reliable Toyota rather than a fancy Mercedes used by many in the banking circle. Her pleasures are simple - preferring to discover Singapore and its hidden gems by going on long walks during the weekends and not indulging in luxury vacations.
Born and brought up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh to a Tamil Brahmin family, Kalpana’s multi-cultural childhood and upbringing ensured that she was at ease in any part of the world. On a busy Tuesday afternoon, Kalpana took time off to have lunch with India Se and spoke at length about her life and her career in UCO bank.
India Se: Could you share some of the major challenges or important milestones during your long career with UCO bank?
Kalpana: My career, like that of any upwardly mobile woman, has been interspersed with challenges. I entered the banking scenario in the late 1970’s-early 80s when the Indian Public Sector Banks were amongst the most sought after. The ever-varying dynamism of the banking profession including interactions with customers of all hues, potentially diverse roles and assignments, posed an exciting career opportunity for the young motivated person in me. I naturally had a personal calling for this sector. However, hailing from a traditional Tamil Brahmin family, my parents, being also well-placed, unfortunately, did not then want me to work and were of the view that a banking job being transferrable as one rises up in careeer, magnanimously allowed me to work provided my job did not take me beyond the city. I acquiesced to that, cheered by the thought that as I progressed in my career, I could cajole them to allow me to take up higher responsibilities outside the city. Thus started my career in a Public Sector Bank , when I was barely 20, from Bhopal (MP) India, the place where I grew up.