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 international, 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.
I was fortunate enough to break the glass ceiling as I took the helm of a large business as CEO before turning 40. And I say fortunate because my journey has been a confluence of coincidences coupled with clarity of purpose, lots of hard work and a healthy dose of good luck.
I think I was clear about where I wanted my career to get me to, very early on. I remember when I was interviewing for the second job, I was asked where I wanted to be in the next few years. My response was that I wanted to be the CEO of the company.
However, clarity of thought and a bit of good luck has no meaning unless they are fuelled by hard work and relentless perseverance to achieve one’s goals. There always trade-offs but having clarity of purpose makes them acceptable and not a sacrifice.
Through a large part of my career, I took on challenging roles and scaled multiple brands/ businesses. It wasn’t easy being a trouble-shooter, and it’s not a normal career path. But I was clear that if I was to be a CEO, I had to differentiate myself and taking on tough roles, which my peer set was (maybe) not so comfortable with, was one way to do it.
Looking back, I think what worked for me was my heightened self-belief in myself, for which I thank my family. I never shied away from asking for the plum role or the rewards when I delivered the goods.
I think this is where sometimes working women hesitate and perhaps lose out to their male counterparts.
The rapidly evolving media landscape really excites me. We have never been more connected. These new connections are unlocking new possibilities in media. And creating more opportunities for never seen before innovations. This means that Media has never been more important as more spaces are being created where we can drive growth. Growth happens at the intersection of culture/technology/data & insight/content/ commerce. All these elements are increasingly interconnected and interdependent. Creating Growth for brands by identifying and developing strategies to exploit these intersects, keeps me inspired at work.
Personally, being a role model to my 8-year-old daughter inspires me. I want to raise her as a powerful girl who feels secure in herself. Teach her to take action, making positive choices about her own life and doing positive things for others. I want to encourage her to express her feelings and acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of others in caring ways. Above all, I want her to feel good about herself and grow up with a “can-do” attitude.
My message to all working women are one should have confidence in herself and never undermine her potential. Listen to your heart and make your career decisions accordingly. The important thing is that one should not feel guilty about the choices you make – there is no right or wrong, it’s what makes you happy. For those who say that women can’t have it all, there are women like me who say, yes we can have it all!
We at iProspect are trying to do our bit to remove/reduce some of these hurdles/difficulties that working women face. Women@iProspect, an initiative launched in 2018, is a small step towards it. Enhancing one’s chances to climb the ladder with much more confidence in our way of producing tomorrow’s leaders.
Similarly, we launched Female Foundry in India, last year, to support female entrepreneurs in the country. We want to build a healthy and rewarding digital ecosystem for all. Such small steps can create a big impact if we all come together.
Terms like the glass ceiling, concrete walls or career labyrinths have received significant attention in the last couple of years. And this has led to many organisations globally to relook at their hiring policies and diversifying the workforce. iProspect, globally, has women in leadership roles. Similarly, denstu too has some amazing women at the helm of various agencies and in fact, our global CEO is a woman.
We recognise that organisations benefit from diversity as it brings in varied ideas as well as enhances performance outcomes as well as ethics. We want to build on the progress we have made in recent years by holding ourselves accountable to achieve gender balance across all roles by 2025. This means aiming for 50% of our Executives to be female by 2025.
DIVYA KARANI, CEO, dentsu X India.
I have over three decades of experience in building vibrant and successful organizations. My aim is to create and lead happy, motivated and driven-to-perfection teams simply because that’s what makes for a productive work environment. And also, I don’t know any other way! I, along with my teams, have built leading media ecosystems within agency networks in India, South Asia, United Kingdom and the Asia Pacific.
Playing my part in our matrix organization, as part of the dentsu internationalglobal leadership team and a member of the Dentsu Management Institute, Dentsu Inc. Tokyo learning, this focusses on practicing design thinking, along with global peers. And a member of the dentsu Executive Committee Member and Board Director, Dentsu Advertising & Media Services, in addition to being the Chief Executive Officer, dentsu X India.
Complex challenges often become opportunities when seen through a different perspective. We, as a team, did just that by flipping the challenges to dentsu X’s advantage. We have been ambitiously and agilely transforming the business deliverables and moving upstream. We have also focused on partnering marketers as equals and trusted advisors who help us in shaping long-term strategy and real business outcomes. Basically, trying to achieve complete synchronicity across silos.
And I am proud to say that since 2011, we have together built a thriving organization by astute design. Thus, establishing dentsu X India in a league of its own!
We achieved this by setting a scorching pace and momentum and having extremely precise goals, such as-
Growing business @2X of the industry, year-on-year
Launching 3 dentsu X agencies; dentsu X-matrix, dentsu X-cubic &dentsu X-palette
Launching dentsu X specialists; dentsu X-labs, dentsu X-ideas &dentsu X-digital
I have only focused on doing what I know best, i.e., building and transforming organizations that thrive in the marketplace, today and tomorrow.
We live in a world where women before us have sacrificed much for our rights. In such a world, no excuses are justifiable or acceptable. My message to all women will be, BE YOURSELF.
There’s no one single formula; we need to find your own way to do it all. Know yourself and your own values, because jobs and titles will change.
We are not responsible for having all the answers. Be grounded & pragmatic and find the supports you need to manage your various roles simultaneously, because we simply don’t have the time to put all our roles on hold and we cannot do it alone.
March forth, stake your claim. I wish each and every one of you success, fulfilment& happiness!
All these years, I have always promoted absolute and complete equality amongst my team. I have tried my best to be there for each member individually, in my personal and organizational capacity, as and when needed.
Today, however, I realize that treating all as equal and empowered is still not enough. To quote Victoria N. McGovern, “No matter how inclusive we are working towards being, we can always do more. We can always do better.”
I am today, very consciously driving both equality and equity. And this is achieved by-
BEING A CHANGE AGENT AND ROLE MODEL FOR INCLUSIVE BEHAVIORS: We value differences and actively seek them out. Going out of our way, we consciously listen and understand different perspectives and, in effect, welcome the world as one in our thoughts and actions. When we do the right thing as individuals, it becomes who we are as a company. Every day at dentsu X, we strive to make an impact that matters – to our people, our clients, our ecosystem and society.
BRINGING OUT THE BEST EACH TEAM MEMBER CAN BE: dentsu X celebrates idiosyncrasies because we believe in harnessing differences as a source of strength. We aim at inspiring all to reach their full potential and come together seamlessly for a cause larger than any one individual.
ADDRESS OTHERS’ BEHAVIOURS WHEN NECESSARY: This though, is not needed often when we as leaders walk our talk. But when needed, affirmative and swift remedial action is taken.