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 Publicis 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.
Nidhi Lall, Senior Vice President, Publicis Business
Having traversed a corporate journey of over 20 years, it is difficult to mention a specific incident – our leadership skills are tested every day! But what makes me truly proud and touches me deeply is each time I get greetings from current and previous team members on… Teacher’s Day! It makes me feel like I did my job well. Revenue numbers, growth, are measured on an everyday basis – but if I managed to teach my team something, that makes me feel like a good leader.
I have been fortunate to work in an industry that’s welcoming of women – in media and communication, the gender diversity ratios are among the highest. I think my strongest advice would be to believe in yourself – whatever the world says, whatever it expects you to do, you know your capabilities, you are aware of your strengths – use these in your personal and professional lives.
Another thing I would like to see more of is for all women to be kind to each other, to have each other’s back – it is often said that women are each other’s worst enemies – a perception that’s not helped by saas-bahu sagas – but I have had tremendous support of my women bosses and that’s what makes me who I am today. And this is absolutely critical for all women – help, mentor, encourage.
Sridevi Nair, Senior Vice President, Publicis India
I recall a time when I was leading a big new business pitch with an integrated approach. We had to not only be better than other agencies, but also manage an internal hurdle of managing egos and getting all experts aligned together. That was the biggest test of my leadership, where I fostered collaboration in a competitive environment and got everyone to play to their strength yet seamlessly come together as one strong team. Needless to say, we won.
Till then I had never thought of myself as a woman, and always counted myself the same as my male colleagues. But that is when I realised the unique qualities we as women leaders can bring to workplaces. Ability to nurture and foster talent, qualities of collaborative and non-combative approach, and empathy that comes naturally to us and puts others at ease for the best output.
First of all relax. Have fun. Keep your spark on. If you forget, remind yourself what excited you about advertising in the first place. Leadership is really about empowering others, so one needs to learn to let go and be vulnerable…that’s where true strength lies. I believe it’s a level field and have never faced any gender bias or got any easy passes either. So play strong and play fair, that will always guide you as an inner compass.
Dorelle Kulkarni, Senior Vice President – Publicis Health
During my tenure of 25 years, there were several instances where I was often challenged in my workplace not just as a leader but as a daughter, sister, wife and mother too.
One of the most challenging experiences for me was leaving my then 2-year-old daughter behind to manage an international event. I had barely dealt with the guilt of returning to work post-delivery & now I was needed to travel out of the country! My role demanded it. I was the face of the agency and for the client, it was their biggest event. There was no room for errors. If I didn’t attend, it would have serious business implications. I was completely torn apart dealing with enormous guilt and feelings of being the worst mother ever. I still recollect the look on her face and tears in her eyes, as I left home. To make matters worse, she felt sick when I was away. While the event was a tremendous success and I had received a lot of accolades from the client, I had decided that I am calling it quits!
When I returned and discussed with her Paediatrician on her health and what had happened, she said, “Stop blaming yourself, you cannot control when she falls sick, it is irrespective of you being here or not!”
That was a turning point for me and I had decided that henceforth I will fight all challenges more objectively.
Today, I am proud to lead a team of dedicated healthcare specialists at Publicis Health, the healthcare unit of Publicis Worldwide, India. Needless to say, none of this would be possible without the unwavering support from my family.
Be passionate, be perseverant & believe in yourself. It is extremely important to love what you do and then keep forging ahead, success will always follow.
The golden rules that I follow in my personal & professional life:
Choose the battles you wish to fight.
I learnt it late and the hard way, but believe me, it works. Life throws us many situations that act as triggers for us to get involved, fight back, prove a point, etc. However, the key question that I ask myself in such situations, is that, is it worth it? If it does not help me to achieve, either my personal or professional objective, I step back. This approach gives you the time and energy to actually chase your dreams!
As you sow so shall you reap.
Although it may sound philosophical, it is purely mathematical. The equation in life is simple, input = output.
Whether it is a client brief, a presentation, a relationship or time spent with your kids, the outcomes are directly proportional to the effort or time you invest. This has helped me set my priorities in life.