It’s important to embrace each other and celebrate our differences: Shivani Gupta
Celebrating the contributions of women in the PR industry, exchange4media PR & Corp Comm is hosting a “Women Achievers Series”. It showcases the journey, success, and accomplishments of some of the best female leaders in the public relations and corporate communications fraternity. Today’s series features Shivani Gupta, Managing Director and Co-Founder, SPAG and DYE.
Gupta has a dynamic and multi-dimensional work profile in different avenues of the communications industry and her role as co-founder and Managing Director of SPAG encapsulates this experience to form the founding pillars of strength behind the company’s success. She has worked with some of the leading public relations firms and companies, and her journey through various roles in media relations, training, marketing, community relations, crisis management and internal communications has contributed immensely to provide strategic and business direction to SPAG.
Excerpts from the interview:
Now that the industry is opening workplaces and resuming operations from the office, what are the initiatives, measures and precautions to be adapted/taken to ensure a smooth transition?
This recent pandemic has significantly changed the work environment. Organizations had to reinvent and evolve new ways of working. As we return to physical offices and meet people physically, this will require a more creative and daring style of working. Organizations need to create a safer, progressive and caring environment for their employees. The precautions or measures for a cordial and productive workplace are not just about focusing on the physical space, but also about being mindful of people’s emotional well-being. As we return to a new normal, it takes a lot of collaboration, a lot of deep understanding of each individual’s current situation, and creating a framework that helps individuals and organizations grow.
At SPAG, we believe in encouraging and empowering individuals. We believe everyone has a strength and potential that requires a defined journey and guidance. To define the same in a more structured way, we have introduced a practice called “unleashing potential”, which is about recognizing and setting individuals on a path of rapid growth, as the name suggests. Additionally, to stay in personal contact with my team members, we also have individual sessions called “Cup of Bond” where I regularly interact with each team member for general conversations. It helps me understand them better and keep in touch and I totally enjoy interacting with them.
The last 20 months have been challenging for all professionals, especially with the hybrid work model. How did you find a balance between office work and household chores?
The past 20 months have been challenging for everyone in their own way. It was certainly difficult to balance initially, but as we learned and evolved with this era, it helped us to see things in a more structured and collaborative way. There were times when it was very important to be with each team member who was going through a personal crisis and needed that emotional support during those times. I just believed in one thing, which was to take each day as it comes. What has helped me balance things out is planning my day, sticking to my routine, and keeping in touch with everyone.
Women have carved out a place for themselves and paved the way in the communications industry for the next generation of female leaders. Tell us about your accomplishments and your contribution to the fellowship.
Women have carved out a place for themselves in almost every industry, not just in communications. I believe in gender parity where it is not only women who support women, but also men who are an ally. As leaders, it is important to lead by example by being fierce but compassionate. Any equation that mathematically follows this rule will form great future leaders. I was recently selected as the G-100 country chair for the public relations wing. The wing’s vision is to create access and opportunity in the global ecosystem by educating women in this sector through strategic roadmaps that highlight role models and mentors, thereby expanding training and networks educational, and promoting career paths and empowerment in various supporting industries. .
What obstacles did you have to overcome to get where you are today? According to you, what are the qualities of a leader?
As women, we are either surrounded by societal expectations or self-imposed competition. Our culture and our conditioning are such that we unconsciously strive to prove our abilities or our worth to pass for a perfectionist. Fortunately, I had the support of my leaders as well as my family. Yes, there are times when you get too hard on yourself and you can go on these trips of self-blame, but my motto has been “it’s ok to not be ok”. It’s important to embrace each other and celebrate our differences.
As leaders, it is essential to see a situation from all angles, to ask the right questions and to be communicative. Be a champion of what you expect from your employees and stay connected.
What advice would you give to the younger generation?
I totally admire the way this generation thinks and is so passionate about giving back to society. I can say this with so much pride as we meet so many people who want to work in health communications and who want to do real work, which helps build a better world. They are clear with their thought process and open dialogue about values. As this generation now steps into leadership roles, I would say continue to believe in yourself and work collaboratively with a vision to make your subordinates ethically distinguished global citizens.
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