This Women’s day, MediaNews4U.Com is acknowledging women leaders of the Media, Marketing, Broadcast and Advertising fraternity who have given more than expected.
WatConsult is an Isobar company & the globally awarded hybrid digital agency from dentsu India. The agency continues to create ripples with its effective creative campaigns and digital-first integrated services.
In this segment, Manika Juneja, EVP Operations, WATConsult shares her experiences and breaking the gender stereotypes and how she continues to inspire many other women who are true leaders in the making.
My journey so far has been like a roller coaster ride, or more like a Bollywood film filled with suspense, drama, twists, and turns.
Moving on could be a good option!
Against all odds, I decided to shift gears from a very prominent role at the brand side and a handsome monetary component, managing Marketing and Strategy for a renowned brand, to an offer that I knew will not pay my bills came purely out of my passion towards advertising. And here I am working with WATConsult for more than a decade.
Always be Ambitious!
Having been associated with the digital industry since its inception, I have evolved with it. I have consulted more than 220 clients on their social and digital journey. My superpower is my business and leadership skills paired with extensive experience in solving brand challenges which helped me break the glass ceiling and grow despite various challenges. My passion and hunger for growth led me to deliver numerous award-winning campaigns, some of which left a real impact.
In my current capacity as the Executive Vice President – Operations, I drive key client relationships with a multi-discipline team, lead business operations, planning, and the agency’s scale for growth with P&L responsibilities. My motto has always been to; Challenge Your Limits, all you got to do is BELIEVE and this has helped me fuel my ambition and contribution to the agency and the industry at large.
Face the Challenge!
Being an ambitious woman, I have faced a lot of hiccups during my journey.
Firstly, there have been days when I simply failed to accept the undeniable unconscious gender biases; but when you face reality, you realise such biases exist on a significant scale. In several instances, my assertiveness has been perceived as arrogance, vulnerability as weakness, my direct feedback has been misconstrued as something in a view of the fact that I am worked up – all of this because I was vocal about what was right and wrong.
Secondly, consulting and taking decisions in boardroom meetings at a very young age had its own challenges, when age was measured over talent and skill set, gender bias and hesitation did not let the other party make eye contact during important discussions. These situations challenged my confidence, but my perseverance and constant support from people who are my pillars of strength helped me every day. Learning through the experiences of other industry leaders has also given me additional support in these tough times.
Learn new things to broaden your horizon and apply them!
Overall, I could say that one of the biggest milestones both professionally and personally for me is that despite a list of IFs & BUTs, I pursued my passion and to date, I am consistent with it because I wanted to lead by example. I never shied away from failure.
With my strong opinions and non-stereotypical decisions, I have knowingly and unknowingly ignited a spark to break the societal norms at various discussions and forums. With the learnings I have imbibed over the years, I have been empowering people towards making decisions and identifying the gaps. I am helping them improve for the better, encouraging a diverse and inclusive culture and becoming great leaders in the future.
My inspiration began at home. Since childhood, my paternal aunt (non-biological mother) and my mother inspired me every single day.
My aunt became the first lady lawyer in a small town, Ujjain, back in the day and age when females were not allowed to step out of the house for work. She decided to stay single because she wanted to focus on her career to become one of the most successful lawyers. To date, after 46 years of being a successful leading lawyer, she is thriving at work and most importantly inspiring many other females to become independent and self-made individuals.
My mother taught me the true meaning of patience, persistence, and selflessness. She has the knack for making a difficult situation stress-free, easy, and most importantly fun to deal with. While some of these qualities come naturally to her, the rest she has picked up on the job. What job you may ask? The most difficult job of being a homemaker.
My work family, team members and colleagues inspire me every single day with their passion & most importantly celebrating efforts as a team and in return, I make sure to inspire them by following the thumb rule of walking the talk.
I believe in echoing the voice of Michelle Obama when she mentioned that ‘No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.’
Women need to shoulder each other by sharing their experiences for others to learn from them. They should not get bogged down by the societal pressure and predefined norms of how and what women should do. They must exist on their own terms, be responsible for the life they want to live, do their best at this moment to put themselves in the best place for the next moment. The shift in a woman’s own thought process is the catalyst for the Empowerment of Women. Stand up, speak up and do what you think is right. Go get it, girl!