This Women’s day Medianews4u.com is acknowledging some women leaders of the Media, Marketing and Advertising fraternity who have given more than expected.
Presenting to you Women leaders from Dentsu Aegis Network India, who share their experiences of breaking the gender stereotypes and how they continue to inspire many other women who are true leaders in the making.
RUBEENA SINGH, CEO -iProspect India
Over my 20-year-old career, I have faced several challenging incidents that were overcome by a combination of good teamwork, skill and a bit of luck.
One incident that comes to the top of my mind pertains to my time at Moneycontrol. I had just taken over as COO and Business Head and had identified the need for developing an integrated content marketing solution suite that would be implemented across the network and not just on Moneycontrol. The idea was good but had its own set of challenges –it had never been done before. It was a digital-first solution – back in 2012. Lack of faith in the idea, cross-functional teaming across the network, alignment of vested interests and priorities to those of the client and actually selling the concept to the client, in this case a large global Healthcare Major were some of the challenges.
Against this background, my team and I worked for weeks and were eventually able to get this off the ground in a satisfactory manner. The client was happy and achieved the desired results and we had to ourselves, a template for implementation of a B2B solution.
What makes this incident special was that it was one of the major leadership challenges I had faced, one where I had to not just lead my team but also win the conviction and belief of my peers in the organisation and also the client; who liked the idea but had lots of doubts regarding our ability to pull it off in an integrated manner and delivering the outcome. This experience taught me new things about people management.
I feel humbled that you are asking me to give advice to the fantastic women out there that are working hard on their journey towards becoming leaders. Rather than advice, I feel better framing this response as sharing what has worked for me:
Clarity of thought on what you want – Professionally as well personally. Every decision has trade-offs. If you want a great career, there will be trade-offs, on free time, family time etc. Be clear on what you want and what you are ready to do to get it.
Don’t be guilty about what you have decided – Be it having a rocking career or be it lots of family time. Lots of women who work end up feel guilty about family time sacrificed etc. Don’t do that – I try not to. Be happy with your choices – coz it’s only when you are happy can you make others happy. There is no need to sacrifice self fulfillment.
Show appreciation to family and the support Infrastructure that allows you to pursue your dreams. Be it your spouses, family members, domestic help, school, etc. They all have a role to play in the upbringing of our children, more so when we are away at work. Never take this support Infrastructure for granted.
Aakriti Sinha, National Head, Social Media – Isobar India
With social media, new and unexpected challenges come in any and every form every day. Challenging and exciting nonetheless. From meeting crazy timelines, to execution, to those last minute “changes” in the presentation, to battling out the negative sentiments to people challenges etc.
There are many unforgettable moments that I can recall at work, but the biggest struggle has come in the personal form. To overcome personal medical challenges (fight with depression) and let your energy be utilized for the work that you always wanted to shine through irrespective.
From a stage of denial to seeking help to a strict regime of self-care, and maintaining the individual and team’s performance at work is a challenge that no one is trained for and nothing can prepare you for it. It is not a disease that is visible for others to understand or a lifestyle change that can be cured with popping pills.
Demotivation, mental health which is still a taboo, reflects in your behavior, attitude, the performance needed to be dealt with. The big step was to be open about it with your team, seniors and anyone who is ready to accept and understand. You never know where does support, encouraging words come from that help your battle a bit easier.
But eventually self-care, leading to self-motivation and team-motivation for the desired outcome at work has been the greatest difficulty that I have overcome and those have been testing times.
But Hey! we did win key businesses during this period and got to work with some great people, evolved and learned in the process. Things that matter!
“Women Leader” might not be a term I agree with principally, I believe a leader, is a leader – irrespective of the gender. But yes, no denying that it is not easy to for women in this industry, it is a little more hard-work and a lot more patience is required and more often than not, we do walk around the eggshells and feel guilty about not being good at work-life balance.
I suggest this and follow this myself – times are changing, but we can’t afford to spend our precious energy and mind-space on individuals/ groups who judge, are biased or constantly try and prove our skills and worth. Keep your work, learning and your goals above everything.
Embrace the chaos, try and thrive in it (these are not easy and confusing times and if it is difficult for you, chances are it is equally difficult for the other guy or woman as well).
Be more vocal about your thoughts, be transparent and honest and always stay-true-to-your-work and your support system.