The “People First” Leader on a Quest to conquer World Marathons

Vaishali Kasture , Partner- Deloitte Consulting & Marathon Runner

Growing up in an intensely academic background environment and having spent her early years in Egypt & India, Vaishali has lead and managed the Banking & Capital markets practice across the globe with a 2500+ headcount. Responsible for Operations, Sales and Margins. end to end ownership of people and revenues, she personifies Women leaders with a fine balance of personal & professional goals, whilst nurturing her passion. An alumnus of JBIMS, Mumbai, she is also a merit holder CWA (Cost & Works Accountant) and a voracious reader.

Her experience of over 2 decades in Banking and Financial Services Industry includes heading the India Operations for a top Tier Investment Bank where she has managed Global process with functional ownership across the world.

Few years into the Corporate world, she realized her passion for fitness and took up running as a “serious” hobby and today she has several marathons and ultra-marathons around the world.  An inspiration to many women professionals, Vaishali Kasture’s office wall is decorated with a large number of medals and ribbons . The defining moment was when she Qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2014.

Team ABT reached out to Vaishali Kasture to know more about her interesting journey.

Who is your greatest inspiration & why?
My greatest inspiration is my maternal grandmother who was married at the age of 9. She had 7 children. She then went back and completed her schooling and earned a BA. She was one of the founding members of the Pune Mahila Sabha – which propagates equal rights for women. She respected the need to educate the girl child. All her children – girls and boys have a minimum of 2 post grad degrees. Most of my aunts and uncles had love marriages.  She allowed her thinking to be shaped and evolve as she saw the world through a new lens and travelled across the world in a wheelchair at the age of 70. She was a prolific writer and wrote in detail about her observations of the West. She was extremely progressive in her thinking and I think I get some of that DNA from her.

Tell us about your most cherished milestone
On the personal front, there are many – the most important being the arrival of my baby. That is the first time that you truly start thinking and caring about someone more than yourself.

On the professional front as well, I have enjoyed many special moments and successes … perhaps the best is yet to come !

What is your leadership style?
Leadership is about making others better, as a result of your presence and making sure that the impact lasts in your absence. That is pretty much my mantra.  But depending on the problem and the situation – I can take different approaches. But the most critical is to be there for your team. If the people who work with you are satisfied in their jobs – the customers and the revenues will follow. I am more of a “people first” person.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t push my people hard.I do that all the time to help them grow , to challenge them. But I have over time, developed a sense of intuition to know when to stop.

I like to empower my people and then move out of their way so they can be successful.

Do you feel there are more opportunities to Women Entrepreneurs today?
There are more opportunities for women as the women are more hungry to start out on their own. However, not much has changed on the funding side. Women led start-ups are on an average 18% more successful than a start up with no women founder/co-founder. But they are 40% less likely to be funded.

We have a lot of work to do to create a level playing field.

If you were to do one thing differently, what would that be?
I would have loved to have more children , especially a daughter 🙂 I have a 9 year old son who is amazing… but I would have also liked to have a daughter.

What is your advice to a younger self?
To play a LOT more sports in school and perhaps even take up track running and marathon running much earlier in life!

What would you like to achieve in the coming years?
I have a lot of things in my mind. Personal goals – to complete the 6 global world majors and earn that special medal. I have completed 5 out of 6. the last one – Chicago Marathon is scheduled in October this year. I also plan to complete the 7 continent marathons by 2018.

I have a lot to do on the professional front. You will soon see a news item which will take me one step closer to my professional aspirations.