Focus is the primary demand of success. Like described in great Mythological epic Mahabharata,” Those who can control their senses can acquire the world” Even if you have to set your journey alone, it hardly bothers you when you are focused and risen above the hurdles that the world throws at your way. Very few are capable of attaining this focus and imparting on the journey to their success. Mrs. Sujata Tilak is one of those personages who decided to walk alone.
Married at a young age, Mrs Sujata Tilak, took a bold step to pursue her further education which her husband was quiet supportive of. She was always intruded by computers, even before the era of PC’s in the 80’s. Driven by her passion she decided to pursue Instrumentation and Control Engineering from College of Engineering, Pune.
The fact that she was the only girl student in her class, did not hamper her desire to be an engineer. Instead it helped her to build her confidence and leave behind all the social inhibitions. The first encounter with a face that doubted her abilities did evoke a twitch, but that only made her even more determined on proving herself. It did not end at academia but still continues to happen in her field. Overcoming all these obstacles today, Mrs. Tilak is working in Industrial Internet of Things.
She still encounters clients who avoid having a financial discussion with her as it is considered to be men’s domain. These apprehensions would fade away once they see her knowledge and grasp at the issue. Her key to making things work in never shying away from any work that is put up to her, be it field world or hands on plant and machinery job, her gender never became her excuse and her work spoke louder than her words.
Her dedication to her work got her an offer from one of her German customers who offered to start a joint venture in India. Hesitant at first, she decided to grab the opportunity with the encouragement of her husband Arvind. In 2000, Ascent Intellimation Pvt. Ltd. (AIPL) was formed which offered its initial services to their German counterpart; in 2003 she expanded her customer base by offering industrial automation software to industries all over the world. In 2011 the organization became a product focused company and today are leading IIoT platform PlantConnect which is installed in more than 1000 industries in India and across the world.
AIPL pivoted in 2011 and became product focused company. Today AIPL is one of the leading IIoT products company in India with their own IIoT platform PlantConnect. PlantConnect based products are installed in more than 1000 industries across the country and outside India as well.
As she turned pages of her life for us she mentioned, “We (AIPL) were working in niche area and one of the challenges was getting good talent and training them in industrial automation domain.”
On comparing the change in entrepreneurship scenario in India now from when AIPL was incorporated, she described that aspiring entrepreneurs in this generation are ready to risk it all and have no fear of failure which lead them on coming up with disruptive ideas. Also praising the current economic favorable background she said “Today the entrepreneurs are spoilt for choices what with so many mentors, accelerator programs, angle investors, funds, and what not. The ecosystem is really good.”
Mrs. Tilak is also the president of International Society of Automation, Pune chapter, which is focused towards catering to ISA members and other automation professionals in and around Pune. “Our focus is to create a networking platform for end users, vendors, consultants and academia, to bring high quality content to our members and others through events, trainings, workshops, online resources, ISA publications etc.”
Gender gap is a reality in the engineering and manufacturing industry, and there can be no policy that can force to mitigate this gap. The mindset of people matters and is a catalyst to this change. "We should bestow our men and women with freedom to choose their filed and interest of work", in her own words, “It starts with breaking the stereotypes at home, in schools and colleges, in social settings and anywhere and everywhere.” Elaborating her ideologies on women and women empowerment she gave out three important steps that the society must implement to protect and nurture women in our nation and the world in short, “A. recognizing this; B. not constraining her from childhood because of this; C. respecting her professional choices and D. giving her all support to achieve her full potential.”
Under her leadership, Ascent Intellimation Pvt. Ltd. (AIPL) works towards bringing the two opposite sexes on the same platform providing same facilities and allowances to both. She acknowledges the responsibilities of a women outside professional sphere and hence provides a full flexible work schedule, with enough leaves allotted to ensure, for personal commitments with exception work quality being at par. “I firmly believe the concept put forward by famous novelist Paulo Coelho in Alchemist. If you start something with purity of heart and mind and a positive approach, the universe collaborates to make you successful! Of course there are challenges and failures, but dealing with these is as rewarding as dealing with success! So believe in yourself and go out there and live your dream."
For a person like Mrs. Tilak, freedom is the essence of life. She feels that one must have the liberty to make one’s choices. Respecting other’s idea of living and functioning is in her nature and that’s what defines her as an individual.
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