Spotlight: Sarika Bhattacharyya

When Sarika Bhattacharyya came to the Global Ambassadors Program in India, her biggest challenge was balancing her career as a human resources consultant with her passion for women’s empowerment. She had both a consulting firm, Altavis, and an NGO, Biz Divas. With the help of her mentor Donna Orender and Geraldine Laybourne, another GAP India Global Ambassador, Sarika was able to achieve a clearer vision of how to manage what at first seemed like competing interests.

After the program, Sarika went home and immediately implemented the plans she had discussed with Donna and Gerry. Today, Sarika has achieved what she describes as a synergy between Altavis and Biz Divas. Rather than dividing her energy between the for-profit and non-profit sectors, she has made Biz Divas the corporate social responsibility arm of Altavis. Furthermore, Sarika has expanded her business to include diversity consulting. She counts companies such as Bank of America, PepsiCo and Intel among her clients.

In addition to expanding her consulting business and joining her two organizations, Sarika has strengthened Biz Divas, introducing an annual women’s leadership conference called I Inspire. Before its inception in April 2013, Donna assisted Sarika by reviewing its marketing materials. That first year, GAP South Africa Global Ambassador and Bank of America executive Jennifer Taylor participated as a panelist in the conference. Donna currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Biz Divas, which now runs mentorship programs in Delhi and Mumbai.

L to R: Sir Peter Westmacott, British Ambassador to the United States; Donna Orender; Sarika Gupta Bhattacharyya; Alyse Nelson; Anne Finucane; and Susan Davis

In June 2014, Sarika was awarded the inaugural Leadership in Mentoring Award by Bank of America. In presenting her with the award, Anne Finucane, global chief strategy and marketing officer for Bank of America, noted that Sarika demonstrates both a personal and professional commitment to advancing women’s leadership in India. Sarika embodies the “pay it forward” spirit that GAP encourages, even organizing several Mentoring Walks in India during Vital Voices’ Global Mentoring Walk. This is an initiative Sarika plans to continue growing each year, engaging more women across the country.

Donna came to Washington, D.C. to watch Sarika receive her award, and to toast her achievements. Sarika has stated, “having a mentor who listens to your challenges and guides you through can change the way you see not only your business, but your passion in life.”