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Being the great grand-daughter of Mahatma Gandhi, is not the only thing that makes Sonali Kulkarni distinctive and extraordinary. The President and CEO of Fanuc India, a unit of Japanese industrial robots maker Fanuc Corp is one of the very few women corporate leaders in the sector.


During her interview for her first articleship in Ahmedabad, she was told that there weren’t any separate washrooms for women and that she would be the only female employee at the organization, Kulkarni still took it. She goes on to say that difficult conditions never wore her down that she was never paid less than he male colleagues. “I have worked in three countries – the US, Japan and India. I find the least [of a] glass ceiling here,” she told Business Today


Since Kulkarni joined Fanuc India in 2006, the revenue of the company has doubled. She has taken several initiatives to maintain the Japanese Company’s share in the Indian market. Last year she proposed to scaled-down versions of robots and CNC machines.  Difficult at first, her idea too off and by April this year, Kulkarni had sold 1,200 of these products.


[Picture Courtesy: Business Today]

Kulkarni is highly praised by her clients as well. Vikram Kasbekar, Head of Operations at two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp, told Business Today, “Once, we had some problem in operations, and they [Fanuc] tried to work on it even though it wasn’t an equipment problem. It didn’t work out but even proactively coming forward shows the positive outlook of that person.”


Shrinivas Shirgurkar, Managing Director at Ace Designers, adds, “Many times we have urgent requirements of systems that we have not pre-ordered, but she would get that done. She is also able to connect with the headquarters to get the correct pricing for us. India is a low-cost country, and price plays an important role.”