As a prelude to International Women’s Day 2022, observed on March 8, EducationWorld is publishing a series of interviews with inspiring women in the field of education and parenting.
One such is Dr Grace Pinto, managing director Ryan International Group of Institutions. She shoulders the responsibility of providing strategic direction for one of the largest groups of private K-12 institutions in India while also staying committed to making excellence in education a reality. In her journey from being a teacher to donning the hat of a top executive, here are some challenges she overcame…
What inspired you to start the Ryan group?
Dr A F Pinto (chairman) and I saw the need and were inspired by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ to make affordable quality education accessible to all and thereby contribute to social and national development.
What are the challenges you faced as you navigated this career and life as a whole?
In the process of serving the students through our organisation, I was blessed with a skill set to complement the vision of my husband which we were both committed to. Our organisation is mainly run by women at various levels of leadership and management. So the key challenge was to help them navigate through their family/personal obligations and continually motivate them to remain focused on the institutional vision, develop intolerance for mediocrity and to aspire for excellence in their professional and personal development even when the going gets tough.
As a woman, what are the challenges you faced while growing up/the liberties you enjoyed as a woman?
Despite the societal restrictions, I am grateful to my parents for ensuring that I was provided a good education that laid a strong foundation for my life.
What inspired you to become the person you are today?
Mother Teresa is my role model who is as real as one can get to the reflection of Christ in her service to humanity.
How do you balance between your personal and professional lives?
There is always a sacrifice involved for being at the helm. I am grateful to my family for supporting and understanding the greater need out there and for enabling me to stay invested in the work we are doing. Balancing family and work is an ongoing challenge, and I am grateful that I am able to do justice to both.
Any women specific issues in education that you would like to highlight?
Over the last several decades, there has been a steady rise in importance being given to girl child enrolment and their education. However, a lot remains to be done to ensure that every girl in the country gets equitable access to higher education, research and development, as well as skill training so she can contribute to the overall growth and development of our country.
What is your definition of feminism? As a woman, what do you think we can do better?
To me, feminism is an approach to recognise my potential and be confident of my own identity. As women, we need to have faith in ourselves and believe in our own God-given abilities and accept our unique skills and talents and use them effectively and optimally to make a worthwhile contribution to the world.
What are your future projects in the pipeline?
In alignment with the overall organisational vision and mission, we will continue to provide holistic development which includes skill training and development, as well as vocational education by leveraging technology to reach the remotest parts of this country and ensure no child is left behind and help our students become lifelong learners and productive citizens of this country.
Your message for women on Women’s Day?
I urge every woman to happily embrace your own individuality and identity and ensure that you use it to make a difference, to transform the world around you. You are born to win…Think Big…Dream Big…Achieve Big.
Also read: Leaders who can revive Indian education – Grace Pinto