Woman, the epitome of strength and vehemence is the leader in race and also at the corporate field. Today’s Indian women have come a long way from the household chores to the revolving chairs of the corporate world. You will amused to know  while Fortune 500 companies account for only 3 per cent of women CEOs, around 11 per cent of Indian companies have women at the helm.

These inspiring business leaders excel in the field ranging from banking, hospitality, health, food and beverages, fashion & beauty, pharma and technology have inspired many young women entrepreneurs and managers across the country. They have families, parents; some of them joined their family business and take the company to a new dimension. They did not say, “No, I can’t”. They replied with a smile, “Why not?” Let’s celebrate their journey and success with details to inspire you also.

1# Indra Nooyi
Current position:  CFO, Pepsico

Indra Nooyi, 56, is the current chairman and CFO of the second largest food and beverage business, PepsiCo. Born in Chennai, Indra did her Bachelor’s in Science from Madras Christian College in 1974 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (MBA) from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta in 1976.

Beginning her career in India, Indra Nooyi was appointed as the product manager at Johnson & Johnson and textile firm Mettur Beardsell. She joined PepsiCo in 1994 and was named president and CFO in 2001.

She has been conferred with prestigious Padma Bhushan for her business achievements and being an inspiration to India’s corporate leadership.

2# Arundhati Bhattacharya
Current Position: Chairperson of State Bank of India

Joined SBI in 1977 as a Probationary Officer  at a mere age of 22 years, Arundhati Bhattacharya has held several positions during her 36-year career with the bank including working in foreign exchange, treasury, retail operations, human resources and investment banking. This included positions like chief executive of the bank’s merchant banking arm- State Bank of India Capital Markets; chief general manager in charge of new projects. She has also served at the bank’s New York office. She succeeded Pratip Chaudhuri, as Chairperson. She introduced a two-year sabbatical policy for women employees for child or elder care.

In 2015, she was named the 30th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. In the same year, she was ranked among the FP Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine She was named the 4th most powerful women in Asia Pacific by Fortune.

3# Naina Lal Kidwai
Current position:  Group General Manager & Country Head – HSBC, India

Naina Lal Kidwai, 55, is currently the Group General Manager and Country Head of HSBC India.
Naina has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Delhi University and an MBA from Harvard Business school. In fact, Kidwai was the first Indian woman to graduate from Harvard Business School.

She started her career with ANZ Grindlays . Presently, she is also serving as a Non-Executive Director on the board of Nestle SA. Kidwai is also global advisor at Harvard Business School. She has been conferred with Padma Shri award by the Indian Government for her contributions in the field of Trade and Industry.

4# Chanda Kochar
Current position: MD & CEO – ICICI Bank

Chanda Kochar, 51, is currently the MD & CEO of india’s largest private bank ICICI Bank. She Born and brought up in Rajasthan and her got Masters Degree in Management Studies from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai. She received the Wockhardt Gold Medal for Excellence in Management Studies as well as the J. N. Bose Gold Medal in Cost Accountancy.

5# Kiran Mazumdar Shaw
Current position: CMD, Biocon

Kiran, 59, is the founder Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Biocon Limited. Born in Bangalore, Shaw completed her Bachelors in Zoology from Mount Carmel College, Bangalore University. She later did her post-graduation in Malting and Brewing from Ballarat College, Melbourne University. In the beginning of her career she worked as a trainee brewer in Carlton and United Breweries, Melbourne and as a trainee maltster at Barrett Brothers and Burston, Australia.

She started Biocon in 1978 and spearheaded its evolution from an industrial enzymes manufacturing company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical company. Today Biocon under Shaw’s leadership has established itself as a leading player in biomedicine research with a focus on diabetes and oncology. She has received  the prestigious Padma Shri (1989) and the Padma Bhushan (2005) from the government of India.

6# Indu Jain
Designation – Chairperson (former), Times Group

Indu Jain,76, used to be the chairperson of India’s largest and most powerful media house – The Times Group.
A strong votary of women’s rights and women entrepreneurship, Indu contributed immensely to the growth of Times group. Now, her two sons Samir and Vineet are running the company.

Indu Jain is also founder President of the Ladies wing of FICCI (FLO). She is the Chairperson of the Bharatiya Jnanpith Trust, which awards India’s most prestigious and highest literary award, the Jnanpith award.

7# Neelam Dhawan
Current position:  MD, HP-India

A woman with a brave heart, Neelam Dhawan is presently the Managing Director of Hewlett-Packard (HP), India. Neelam is an iconic figure in Indian IT industry. She is an inspiration for women working in IT sector. She dared to enter the IT world in early 1980s when there were few women in this industry. At the start of her career she yearned to be a part of the FMCG companies such as Asian Paints and Hindustan Lever. Unfortunately, these organizations did not want a woman to be a part of their marketing and sales efforts and hence she was rejected at the time. But a determined Neelam did not stop there and before joining HP, India as Managing Director (MD), Neelam was Managing Director (MD) of Microsoft, India. She had successful and rewarding stints with other leading players like IBM and HCL.

8# Sulajja Firodia Motwani
Current position: JMD – Kinetic Motors

Motwani is the Joint Managing Director of Kinetic Motors. Sulajja has single-handedly designed and developed marketing strategies to spearhead the company’s growth forward. She worked in a California-based Investment Company before coming to India to join her grandfather’s business.

Her good looks have been recognized by India Today group which named her the ‘Face of the Millennium’ and she has been selected as the ‘Global Leader of Tomorrow’ by the World Economic Forum.

9# Priya Paul
Current position: Chairperson, Apeejay Park Hotels

Priya joined the family business at the age of 22 and worked under her father as Marketing Manager at the Park Hotel, Delhi. After the death of her father Mr. Surrendra Paul, she succeeded him in 1990 as the Chairperson of the Hospitality Division of the Apeejay Surendra Group. Her contribution to the hospitality industry has got recognition from the government of India which conferred on her Padma Sri award in 2012.

10# Mallika Srinivasan
Current position: Director, TAFE (Tractor and Farm Equipment)

Mallika has an MBA from Wharton School of Business, Pennsylvania. She joined TAFE in 1986 and has since been responsible for accelerating turnover from 85 crores to 2900 crores within a span of two decades. Her innovative business ideas and excellent leadership qualities have won her laurels from every quarter. She was awarded ‘Businesswoman of the year 2006’ award by ET.

11# Shahnaz Hussain
Current position: CEO, Shahnaz Herbals Inc

Shahnaz Hussain is the biggest name in herbal cosmetics industry in India. Currently, the Shahnaz Husain Group has over 400 franchise clinics across the world covering over 138 countries.

Her pioneering work got recognition from Govt of India when she was conferred with prestigious Padma Shri award in 2006.

12# Jyoti Naik
Current Position: President Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad

Jyoti Naik, is currently the President of Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, an Indian women’s cooperative based in Mumbai. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission of India has conferred the Best Village Industry award on Lijjat Papad from the period 1998-99 to 2000-01. She has been conferred Businesswomen of the Year (2001-02) for corporate excellence by the Economic Times.

Dear readers, if we are missing any extra-ordinary women in the list, feel free to mention in the comment arena. We are celebrating their success and likewise to inspire who are still hiding in the shell.