She Glorifying Businesses - Dr. Ankita Singh

Dr Ankita Singh: The HR Stalwart

Magazine Women

“HR, in order to achieve the identified Mission and Vision for the Organization, is and will forever remain an important enabler.”

Dr Ankita Singh (Senior Vice President &
Global Head of HR, Cignex and Founder, HR Association of India)

How does an option become the most preferred choice? Ask Dr Ankita Singh who landed in the progressive HR industry by default but then got so inclined towards this function so deep that she started adding value to it. Dr Ankita Singh comes with over 23 years of profound experience in managing & leading various aspects of HR, heading all business-enabling functions like admin, IT, travel, and PMO with ease, “but the core is still HR and will remain,” says Dr Singh in a flash.

A true epitome of the term ‘determined’, the passion to enter the corporate world hit young Ankita at the age of only 18. When people in her generation were busy finding their true passion, Dr Singh was working 36 hours a week to gain industry knowledge. After brushing up her skills in the ever-evolving industry for a couple of years, she enrolled herself in strategic courses to contribute more meaningfully. Learning, she believes, is a continuous process. To answer her innermost call to understand the management domain, she did a PhD in management. She is also a Gold Medalist in BBA as well as MBA.

Destiny had always chosen HR for Dr Ankita; She took no time to understand that she is meant for this profession and can take it to sky heights with her proven expertise. “As I started quite early, I was open to exploring different aspects, but my default allocation always happened to be in some department of HR, and with on-the-job experience, it didn’t take long to come to the conclusion that this is where I want to exist, learn and grow,” smiles Dr Ankita. 

Dr Ankita Singh

She is currently serving as the Senior Vice President & Global Head of HR, Admin, IT and Travel at CIGNEX. She is also the Founder of the HR Association of India. Prior to joining Cignex, Dr Ankita honed her skills by working in prestigious firms like Sahara India, Convergys, Zensar, Hexaware, and Datamatics.

Ankita’s expertise includes transformational change management and M&A initiatives. She has dedicatedly worked in all facets of HR with deep interest in different domains, be it leadership Development and Organisational Behaviour or Culture Building and Employee Engagement.

Ankita’s Journey In Cignex

Dr Ankita joined Cignex in September 2014 as Vice President and Head HR but roles got diversified as she scaled. Currently, she is handling various domains- HR, Admin, Travel, IT, QEG, Practices, Organizational Development, RMG.

“The last 8 years have been challenging yet magical as I was able to look outside my comfort and expert zone of HR and explore non-HR functions like Administration, Travel, Resource Management Group, and IT Support. I think the vertical growth would have reached a stagnant level soon, glad that I got a chance to grow horizontally, learn other people’s processes, and connect the dots to help the organisation excel,” says Dr Singh while highlighting how she has progressed over the years in Cignex. 

Dr Ankita always choses to find a new way to stand & fight back as she believes challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity. She follows a few simple steps to handle all the challenges:

  • Identifying what’s under control and what’s not
  • Having plans and not just a plan
  • Discussing it with people and seeking help
  • Never Giving up and the enthusiasm to always keep trying!

Upon asking about the future of the human resource industry, the first word that Dr Ankita utters is “Bright!” She strongly believes that the industry has to invest better and transform well to meet the need of today. She also thinks that the definition of HR has gracefully evolved over the years only because of the adaptations, and the fraternity has to accept, explore and modify itself to fit in as early as possible. No matter what, HR is and will always remain a great enabler to ensure that Organization realises the identified Mission and objectives.

HR Association of India

Human Resources runs in the veins of Dr Ankita. With a mission to shape the HR landscape in India, Dr Singh founded a non-profit organisation with the name HR Association of India (HRAI).

Via HRAI, she along with many other dignitaries in the HR landscape explores, discusses and the latest business scenarios, market trends, change management, and leadership in the HR domain.

“We envision creating a community of professionals, learners, and mentors who share their insights and learn from each other to elevate the standard of HR practices in the country,” asserts Dr Ankita. She further adds, “We conduct panel discussions, masterclasses, one-on-one talk shows, and Q&A sessions with thought leaders and provide a platform for professionals to gain in-depth knowledge that can be applied in real-time.”

When Challenges Become Opportunities

She keeps recalling the challenges she has fought as it gives her the power to prepare herself for more. She draws inspiration from Richard Branson’s words who once said, “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”

“The biggest hurdle that I have faced so far was when management gave me the responsibility to head functions that I didn’t know much about. I had no technical knowledge of IT support, Travel, Project management office, and administration. Yet, I survived well because I learned what was needed to play that role,” says Dr Ankita who believes in herself and stays ever ready to take challenges.

Learning Never Ends

‘Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.’ When Dr Ankita read these lines, she made this her success mantra.

Even after making her stronghold in the industry, she believes- There is still so much to learn and improve. In Dr Ankita’s words, “I respect individuals and accept that each individual is unique, and so are situations and the business. We can’t obtain solutions by employing the same formula universally because factors, peoples, and scenarios differ.”

She follows a personalised approach rather than a bland generalised approach. She possesses three distinct qualities which makes her different from others:

  1. First, she acknowledges the uniqueness before defining her next step, policy, process or plan.
  2. She remains true to herself and others.
  3. She considers that it’s ‘ALL ABOUT PEOPLE’, they are everything.

Dr Ankita is a strong believer in ‘Nothing is permanent but change’. She firmly explains that “Time will change, and we will have to change too to adapt to excel. So, never stop learning; stay adaptable and nimble.”

‘My Mother is My True Inspiration’

Dr Ankita gives due credit of her success to her mother as she has been her biggest motivation. She always told Dr Ankita that “Since we are a part of this society, interdependency is important but don’t ever disremember the significance of independence. We need to coexist in the defined system, but the self-core should be strong enough to survive alone if needed”.

Jewels In The Crown

Dr Ankita is adept at handling challenging situations, and her agile perspective enables her to respond to workplace disruptions, evolving employee expectations, and business needs in an efficient manner. Her unswerving commitment towards serving the HR domain has bagged her quite a few awards. 

  • Successfully completed one of the most renowned certifications from Harvard Business School Online – “Sustainable Business Strategy”
  • Awarded by Forbes India and Great Manager Institute as Top 100 People Manager in India for the last 3 consecutive years 2019, 2020 and 2021
  • Asia’s 100 Women Power Leaders 2023
  • Power Women Leader of the Year Gujarat Icons 2022 by Times of India
  • Asia’s 100 Power Leaders in HR 2022
  • Top 10 Most Influential Business Leader of the year by Times of India 2022
  • Rajiv Gandhi Award 2022
  • APJ Abdul Kalam National Award 2021
  • “Woman HR Leadership Awards 2021, awarded by Ms. Kiran Bedi
  • Global Women Award 2021
  • 40 under 40 for the Year 2021
  • Woman HR Leadership Award 2020 in the presence of Maneka Gandhi

And the list goes on.

Living Every Day To The Fullest

‘‘If at the end of the day, you can tell yourself that Today was my Best Possible day, it means your day was as successful as it can be,’’ asserts Dr Ankita. She believes that there is nothing like a perfect life or perfect balance; it’s all about finding meaning in life.

Dr Ankita’s deep understanding of every minute aspect of emotional intelligence has inspired millions of budding HR managers and will continue to do so in the years to come.

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