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 across the spectrum, 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.
Priyanka Bhatt: Founder & CEO, Equations PR, and Media
Creating a niche in a man’s world
Stereotyping women as homemakers has been a trait of Indian society for ages. However, that has been changing for the better with women shattering the proverbial glass ceiling across professions. Right from the corporate world to defense forces, women have carved out a niche for themselves in every field that once was considered to be male bastions.
Media, marketing, and advertising were surely one such profession where this was predominantly the case. More so in the field of public relations where women were considered nothing beyond a ropeway to efficient media relations and client servicing. Considering that, the journey for me so far has obviously been quite challenging. But It is fair to say that the path has been impeccably fascinating in terms of learning, projection, and perspective — both personally and professionally.
I initially wanted to pursue a career in art direction. However, but ended up doing Post graduating in PR and Corporate Communications. Albeit masked in failure, the seeds of inevitable pastures were sown.
I gained instrumental experience during my three-year tenure at Text 100 Public Relations and another three years as the Managing Partner and Head of PR at Canvas Entertainment & Public Relations. All of 24, I was exposed to formidable corporate responsibilities such as seeking new growth opportunities and managing in-house businesses of the entire group. It was a crucial learning period that gave me the impetus and fed my drive to venture alone, after truly understanding that unstoppable forces are bound to break restraining shackles sooner or later – Equations was born.
I didn’t seek financial assistance from my family because that wouldn’t have been true to my principles of independence and self-sufficiency. I started ideating and exploring entrepreneurship in the latter half of 2014. It was a quintessential challenge to start from scratch where the first two months were spent working on small projects from a basement office.
In December 2014 we moved to a 150-sq-foot office in Santacruz, Mumbai where we got off to a good start – a few media launches and our first reputed client the following year. We have had rough patches too. Growth was slow and many other operational challenges sapped energy. To give a vivid picture, there were times when we had to cut down on small expenses because each penny was, and still is valuable.
The unwavering, unsuppressed voice deeply rooted on the beds of passion, ambition and desire always drives you beyond your perceived limits. It is the perseverance of delivering and in turn exceeding client expectations that got us through the toughest times. It’s true that entrepreneurial journeys may end in abysmal failures, but the other side of the tale also reveals that positive arrogance blended with pro-activity will reap dividends.
Especially in a field that is predominantly male-dominated and where women are only seen as a means to the end, it has been a very interesting journey so far. There are instances when being a woman in control of this business has been looked upon with scepticism. What matters is how well you deliver on client expectations, manage talent at your disposal, and of course create a good work-life balance.
The reason I have penned my thoughts is to encourage people to take that leap of faith. Success and failure are both guaranteed, but unhinging belief and hope will get you out of the most desolate valley.
Believe, Hope, Conquer.
Neha Kulwal, Country Manager, Admitad India.
Today’s women are able to go beyond societal stereotypes and familial constraints to deliver results at all levels. Through their empathetic approach, perseverance, and vision, they are redefining what leadership means for organizations, showing us how women in positions of power can be agents of change. In fact, the digital world provides a great avenue for women to create unique identities for themselves. They have the freedom to explore their careers and break new ground, get recognized for their talent, skills or even, hobbies. In line with the theme of “Choose to challenge”, here’s wishing a Happy Women’s Day to all the courageous women in power, who know nothing can stop them.
Mauli Bhatnagar (Founder-Maulikta)
I have always believed that you can draw inspiration from every individual around you. But certain people always leave a more profound impact on every person they come across. One such individual is Ms. Indra Nooyi. Observing Indra, her career trajectory and personal growth have had a deep impact on me and my approach to building sustainable businesses and careers. I have always tried to live my life with utmost dignity and perseverance, which has helped me achieve my personal and professional goals.
In, earlier times women’s career ambitions and dreams of driving business growth were often underestimated. One of the biggest challenges we have faced during the initial days was the lack of acceptance towards working women’s ambitions. While today, mindsets are slowly changing, women at workplaces still face many challenges and stereotypes.
While 2020 has been a tough year for all of us, it has also taught us many important lessons. As a woman, I completely understand how stressful life’s many unpredictability’s can be for working women. The past year has been quite stressful and has affected our lives in so many ways. But it also taught us how to live life in a minimalistic way. It has also taught me the importance of chasing my dreams, no matter what the circumstances are. I will always encourage my women co-workers to have their own goals and to remember that against all odds, their hard work and a positive attitude will help them scale new heights. If they set their minds to something, have a sense of purpose, and let it drive them, then nothing is impossible.
Here are a few more things that I want every working woman to keep in mind in their professional journeys:
Women Support Women
Every woman needs to realize that instead of competing with each other collaborating and sticking together is the way to change the world we live in. Women should view success as being plentiful and understand that all successes come with taking things in stride and being flexible. Most importantly, women must commit to supporting other women and teaching, encouraging each other, and fostering the talent of fellow women. We have to focus on self-growth while at the same time pushing each other to be better versions of ourselves every day to become successful together. Remember, we’re all in this together!
Celebrate each other’s success
One of the best ways for women to smash the glass ceiling is to support, celebrate and promote each other loudly. When you see another woman doing something inspiring with her business, share it. If you notice an opportunity that you think someone would be a great fit for a woman, pass it along.
If you have two women in your network that you think should meet, make the introductions. As clichéd as it sounds, the power of women coming together is incredible. If you have an idea that you love, share it with a woman who can contribute and help you. Women working together will slowly change the narrative that business is all about competition, pure money-making, and no humanity. Building your business based on your energy, skills, and natural instincts for creation, sustainability, and life itself, is essential for building brands that truly matter and create value for all.
Support Your Female Employees
Sometimes, women hesitate to speak up in the boardroom, particularly if they work in a traditionally male-dominated industry or are facing aggression from co-workers. As a leader, it falls on me to stomp out this behavior and make room for all voices to be heard by calling upon every person to contribute. I always encourage women to join the debate. I’ve seen many women choose the seats against the walls, instantly sending the message that they’re lesser than their male peers. I always invite them to take a seat at the table.
Divanshi Gupta, Director, The Marcom Avenue
I have confronted several ups and downs along my way, especially for being a woman. The marketing industry was no different, but I worked my way up to becoming the Director of The Marcom Avenue. From getting clients on-board to retaining skilled employees at the organization, I have been able to build an inspired team who are not only in line with the company’s goal but are working towards the growth of the organization. Another fact, along the way I picked some of the best talents in the industry, and women formed a major portion of my rockstar team.
In any other life, if I looked 10 years back from where I stand today, I would have felt terrified, but now I can pat myself on the back and contently say that I made the right choice and that I chose to challenge myself.
There are several things that inspire me, and of all, the ‘Freedom to Choose to do what I want’ inspires me the most. We, women, are always guided by the norms of society, men in our lives, or even family, but having the ultimate control over your finances, decisions, and or facing your own challenges inspires me.
The only message that I have to give to my women co-workers or any other women out there working one’s fingers to the bone is that do not give up on your dreams. Women must learn to challenge what comes in between them and their goals because they can and must. Despite the fact that we are living in a progressive world, many may try to belittle us, even one of us, but it is us who have to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. So, just learn and #ChooseToChallenge.
There is no better way to empower women in an organization than to offer them equal pay, equal status, equal opportunity to grow, and equal voice in the operations.
Furthermore, to encourage and empower women at the workplace, we organize various team-building activities and sessions. Apart from the standard, I invest time to engage with every woman employee in the organization to help them track their progress while pushing them towards becoming an even better version of themselves. I help them set new goals and targets, which not only helps them overcome the fear but also helps them stay motivated through the long run. Also, I, as a woman in top management at The Marcom Avenue, feel and believe that it is the abilities, skills, and sheer hard work of an individual that nourishes their future, and with due respect to the male community, women are no less in any field.
Vrutika Dawda, Director, IdeateLabs
I believe that success came to me without design, but definitely by choice. In this male-dominated industry, I have been able to break that glass ceiling and have proven to be amongst the best women leaders across the nation. A self-driven, growth-oriented professional-turned-intrapreneur with an ability to turn challenges into opportunities. My capabilities go beyond what is imagined possible is the defining force in leadership.
I thank my parents and family for giving me massive support and standing by myside during the toughest situations. I believe that my parents are my driving force who inspire me each day to bring a sense of ownership and motivate me to climb the steps to success. I proudly say that every family must support their women so that they get the motivation to go beyond what they have ever imagined and build their careers.
A message that I always give to my women counterparts is that – ‘When men can do it, you can do it too’. There is nothing that a woman cannot do in fact, if the right efforts and approach are taken, you can do a job better than anyone else.
“Follow your passion and dreams, the world will get inspiration from you and adore you!”
I believe in giving equal opportunities to everyone and reward the one who deserves it the most. I ensure that there are no biases within the organization, and everyone is exploring themselves, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, and are working on improving on a daily basis. The company has also introduced a menstruation day leave policy for all women. They can take one day of paid leave during their menstruation cycle. The organizational policy is such that the women are not asked a single question on taking these leaves on a monthly basis.
I have further ensured that there is over 50% women staff in the organization that is in the male-dominated industry. I have given a chance to various women to be in leadership positions even to those who have resumed work after taking a long leap. Encourages women to think out of the box, take risks and opportunities, have created several roles and designations which are bias-free and have women who are most deserving.
I have ensured that there is an open-door policy i.e. anyone who is having any issues/suggestions, can walk up to me or the management to discuss their issues and she ensures that they get all the required support at the same point in time. I also don’t believe in having a bias in the pay-structure.
Parita Rathod, Director & Chief Operating Officer (COO), Koffeetech Communications
A true marketer at heart hailing from an engineering background, my career graph has been quite diverse from being an IT graduate, senior software engineer, a business development rep, holding a strong track record of delivering growth to the company helped me build my own path. Witnessing the disruption that digital marketing was set to create, I decided to take the plunge without any prior experience in this industry because of my passion which has been no short of a rollercoaster ride. In 2017, I attained as the Director and Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Koffeetech Communications. Innovation and a result-driven approach are the mantras that I live by, and have been imbibed to the ethos of the company since its inception.
It has not been an easy journey but the zeal to grow has kept the momentum ticking. My vision to serve small and medium business owners in India has motivated me to take on a new challenge each day overcoming any obstacles that come my way.
Every individual has ‘that’ moment; an experience, self-motivation, lucky enough to have the right mentor who inspires them to come on their own and identify their true calling. It should be a question for all of us; Why do we do the work we do? For me, the purpose has always played an imperative role in professional as well as personal life. When you have a sense of purpose at work and in life, you feel passionate, innovative, and committed to the job.
A message that I would like to deliver to my co-workers is to strive for the things that they have always dreamt of and only focus on the things that actually matter. To freely live your life without fearing other’s opinions and have the courage to leave the comfort zone to chase the ultimate goals.
We believe in working with a diverse workforce, creating a female-friendly environment as we want our team to feel a sense of belonging, being valued, equal participation in the decision-making process, mentoring and treating them more like family than employees. In a year marked by crisis and uncertainty, we saw our women employees standing strong with us to help us sustain, with a serious sense of dedication towards their work.
At Koffeetech Communications, we work towards granting Freedom to our employees to make their own programs, gain new skills and gain autonomy. Time has changed, and it is time to modify the “usual” job pattern, as women offer a unique and different perspective to the corporate world.