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 Zee Entertainment Enterprise Limited (ZEEL), 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.
Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global.
Driving Strategy, and going after the next big challenge are second nature to me and what I absolutely thrive on.
I have had that opportunity on numerous occasions during my tenure at ZEE where I have driven right from blueprint and strategy to execution and launch/relaunch, not one but three of their digital platforms, dittoTV, ZEE5 India and now ZEE5 Global, and it’s been beyond gratifying to see some of these blueprints I laid out back then playing out like the proverbial prophecy.
Chief amongst those was the punt to chase the ‘Local Language’ peg long before it had become a catch phrase for the Industry at large.
In early 2017, when we were drawing up the blueprints for ZEE5 as the massive singular digital destination for the organization, one of the key decisions we had to take was to define what ZEE5 would really stand for i.e. what need gap it would fulfill, entering as it was into a crowded and commoditized market.
As we delved deep into the data we had from our two existing OTT platforms at the time, and into all the audience feedback across social and other channels, one pattern started emerging – that people were increasingly asking for TV shows and movies in the language that they were most comfortable in. This was also being driven by a changing audience profile. Crashing data prices were democratizing Internet access and enabling a whole new set of audiences to access the Internet, who were increasingly demanding content in the language of their comfort, beyond English and even Hindi.
It was this ‘Local Language’ proposition, I realized that was the huge need gap that ZEE5 could address, and I presented this to the management as the cornerstone for ZEE5.
Nearly a year later, the Google -BCG report strongly validated this in their own findings, and it has just snowballed from there to become the catch phrase for the Industry at large.
Today Local Language is the key peg for OTTs across the Globe and a strong driver of content consumption across the board.
By a happy coincidence I am currently working on yet another key project that I see making a powerful mark across the globe. These plans keep me permanently excited and joyous about work, and for that I remain eternally grateful!
At work, my biggest wish is always for equal opportunity in a culture of true meritocracy.
When I head into work, I don’t ever think of myself as a woman, as a gender. I go in as a Leader, with a set of tasks and goals to achieve and go about working towards achieving those. And I work with other skilled and talented stakeholders who collaborate with me to achieve these goals, again with gender having absolutely no bearing on my thoughts or actions, and thats exactly as it should be!
Forced diversity isn’t frankly something that I like or want, as I do believe it only creates a skew of another kind and is hardly a compliment to any woman of real talent and skill.
But yes, I do believe successful women leaders have a huge role to play in ensuring opportunity for women who struggle against all odds and yet show innate spunk and spirit, and I would urge every one of us in the industry to have their backs and support them to succeed. Especially in a world where patriarchy and inequity still exist.
In the past couple of years it has struck me with almost jarring clarity that true gender equality is still a long way off even in First World scenarios where one thought women were on a much more equal footing. However, at the Oscars. The Golden Globes, The Billboard Awards and such, women such as Patricia Arquette, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon and Madonna have shared their deep disconnect with the unequal treatment meted out to them in terms of lack of pay parity, a skewed portrayal of women, lack of strong women-centric roles and more.
If in the absolute bastions of first world emancipation, women are still struggling with such, then surely we are still some time away from true equality.
So as a woman leader, I would like to see more and more women leading true change in mindset and behavior by nurturing environments built on inclusion, opportunity and meritocracy.
Vibha Chopra, Head – Global Syndication & International Film Distribution, Zee Studios.
I was asked to head the portfolio of International film distribution and acquisition business 3 years ago when ZEE had decided to build its International film distribution network.
There have never been many women leaders in the Indian film distribution space and that made me question whether I was even the right choice? But I took it as a challenge to not only build a successful business but also to change external mindset that this wasn’t the ideal role for a woman.
I feel after my organisation empowered me with this role, I questioned this industry’s ‘norm’ and everything changed for me thereafter, the way I looked at my role and the way it was looked at outside of the organisation.
My advice to all aspiring women leaders is to follow your passion and be authentic. Always strive to push boundaries and aim to reach and break glass ceilings in your respective fields, whenever, however possible.
Shailja Kejriwal, Chief Creative Officer – Special Projects, ZEEL
It was the belief and backing of Punit Goenka, that I could launch a crazy idea like Zindagi! An idea that no one else saw any merit in, but an idea that went on to become the most loved channel within 6 months! An idea that brought a deeper people to people understanding between two nations.
I believe art is a tool to achieve social improvement and it is very rare that businesses get that. So it is important to present an idea that achieves social good while making business sense. This takes a lot of thought, hard work and dedication, to both the business as well as the philosophy. Zindagi was that and I am proud to have conceived, curated and created it.
What I would tell all aspiring young leaders is to look beyond just the business aspect of any work that they are doing. Leaders are leaders because they can change things and lead people. That is a great power and requires tremendous hard work and a greater thought. Leadership is not about profit, it’s about creating value while making a deep social impact of some sort. I believe women have the skill, empathy and work ethic to achieve the two together.