Recently, Comms News put together an insight event – The India Impact Communication Conclave 2021 – that took place virtually on 9th March 2021.
It had five-panel discussions with senior professionals from the fraternity as panellists. The second session ‘Leading from the front and raring to go – what it takes for young leaders in communications to make it big’ was moderated by Mukta Lad from Comms News and had Akanksha Jain – Bharat Pe, Shree Das- Lenovo, Sanghamitra Bhargov – Byjus, Hepsibah Razario – Razorpay, and Abhilasha Gupta – Tech Mahindra.
The discussion started with the question ‘How do you grow in your organisation’. Bhargov said that “If you are passionate about it, you can do your best, irrespective of which place it is.” She added that because of start-ups, women and young people have got more roles in leadership positions.
Gupta answered that her in-house team is full of women, and her agency is 90% female. “I have been lucky enough. Quality is achieved when not all are equal but when you cherish the diversity and work on merit”. She added that “You need to feel that it is okay to work and not perform a duty that the society expects you to such as taking care of your child. You have to accept it and not feel bad about it. Ask for help from relatives if you need to.”
Jain closed the question by saying that “You need to play by your strengths. You have to find out what works for you. Be assertive, get your points in place, and then go and talk about it to your superiors. If you have great leaders who promote and trust you and let you do what you want to do, it is great help. It is very essential to find such mentors.”
The question that followed up was how shall one become more assertive and how shall one convince that women deserve more than what they get.
Jain believes that “You have to show them the value that you bring to the table. You have to prove to the seniors by achieving your target and goals. You have to make an impact where it counts. You have to show them the larger picture.”
Adding on to that, Das said, “A handful of people in the organisation knowing what PR does is not enough. It has to be spread out to all the stakeholders and they have to be explained what PR is bringing to the business.”
During this discussion, there was an audience question about how women are often seen as ones that say several things but back out when its time to act.
To this, Das feels that “It is true to a very limited extent” but she also believes the fight isn’t for just woman but for all. Rozario said, “Focus. Focus on growing and not on looking at what is negative. There was time, that might be true, but now, it isn’t.”
The next question that Lad asked was how can one manage work-life balance.
Rozario replied to that saying, “Nobody can say they can perfectly balance it. But it is about voicing your opinions. Example: people switch on video just because they are asking you to. Voice them out and tell them you are doing something else but you are listening to what they are saying. Tell them about your work times. Live by it. It is difficult but draw out your boundaries.”
The next question that Lad asked was how shall one negotiate a pay package, an important discussion that crops up several times in a career.
Das feels that “It will come with what have you bought to the table and what values does it hold. Introspect. Do your own PR. You will be able to ask for your worth.”
Bhargov added to this with, “If you have done the work and you can show it then ask what you are worth with a full conviction.”
The discussion ended with a very vital question from the audience – “The fundamentals are in place for years, why are we still getting this so wrong?”
Jain feels that “It is easier to preach, honestly. We also have to do that for ourselves rather than just talk about it. We end up getting in the rat race. We want to earn more money and grow over others. We then side-line these things.”
Session report by Sourov Kanungo