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July 31, 2023

Superbloom Fellows: Helping Women Leaders Thrive Through Coaching

The rate of progress in populating major boardroom and executive roles with women remains very low, according to Deloitte Global’s Women in the Boardroom report, which also points out that companies with female CEOs have significantly more gender balance on their boards. It also turns out that placing more than just one or two women on the board helps the company culture be more inclusive.

Coaching is an excellent tool to help women reach and thrive in these higher roles. In the modern workplace, leadership coaching initiatives help employees feel empowered, increase their performance and productivity, and helps renew their confidence and job and life satisfaction. An ICF Global Coaching Study found that 86% of companies reported that leadership coaching provided them with a positive return on investment. The study also found that the top reason employees wanted to engage with a coach was to build self-confidence and self-esteem.



Superbloom Studios founders Aruna Seshadri, Kalaivani Mattern and Dr. Raji Baskaran


One program that has been successful in the past year in coaching female leaders has been Superbloom Fellows, offered by Superbloom Studios. The company was founded on the idea that organizations that develop female leaders by framing problems and processes with inclusivity in mind drive better outcomes. Started by three former Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) alumni and close friends – Dr. Raji Baskaran, Kalaivani Mattern and Aruna Seshadri – Superbloom Studios offers its flagship Superbloom Fellows coaching program online to accommodate busy work schedules. Critically, participants work with a small group of peers to share their experiences and provide support.

ImageSuperbloom Fellows was designed by Dr. Ramya Ranganathan, who has a Ph.D. from London Business School and was recognized as one of the top 15 innovators of Higher Education in India by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in the government of India.

Debbie Gustafson, CEO of Energetiq Technology, recently nominated Megan Dube, Senior Director of Sales and Service at Energetiq, to participate in the first cohort of the Superbloom Fellows Program.


“I think it pushed me a lot more personally than I expected, whether it was my own self-growth or confidence,” Dube said. “What really resonated with me was managing stress and fear of failure. I also think that the pods were absolutely phenomenal. They gave me insights into different people's perspectives that I probably would've never gotten within my standard working groups or friends. I've already put into practice so much of what I've learned and tried to pass it on to some of the people I mentor.”

ImageAnu Arun, Principal Engineer at II-VI Incorporated, also participated in the first cohort. “Attending the Superbloom program had a very positive influence in my life,” she said. “I am an engineer raising two kids and constantly juggling between family and work. The course helped me understand the way our brain works and how it processes emotions and stress. It forced me to assess the factors contributing to stress in my life, dig deep into my fears, strengths and weaknesses, dreams and aspirations. I came out of it with a toolbox that can help me navigate both personal and professional life with mindful awareness. I highly recommend the course to anyone who is willing to understand human behavior and wants to apply this to live an enriched life.”


Dana Sauter Van Ness, Director of Customer Quality, North America at Entegris, had a similar experience in the program. “This career coaching was so much more than coaching, it was truly transformative in the way I thought about work, my life and myself,” she said. “Not only did it make me think differently about how I can grow, it helped me to see other avenues to grow in ways to focus my energy and get the biggest return on investment. These tasks were not easy, but they are lessons that will continue to help me in my life, both professionally and personally.”

On International Women’s Day this year, Entegris declared a pledge to fill at least 50% of its engineering roles with women or people from underrepresented groups by 2030. This is an ambitious but much needed mission that other companies in the industry can emulate. Investing in women leaders today is a great way to reach this goal.

Nominations to the Superbloom Fellows program are open. If you are interested or would like to nominate a colleague, click here to register

Dr. Raji Baskaran is a co-founder of Superbloom Studios. Gayathri Arvind is a Communications Associate at Superbloom Studios.