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‘Building key relationships is our expertise’

Strategic Communications Specialist Archika Srivastava advises schoolchildren to, “Set sights on what you want. Don’t let people stand in the way.”

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An alumna of Apeejay School, Pitampura, Archika Srivastava, is a Strategic Communications Specialist. She completed a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in 2008. Then, she pursued a post-graduate Diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan.

But, her hunger to learn and ace her field didn’t stop there. She added to her knowledge by completing another course in Management and Marketing from Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad in 2010. She began her professional journey the same year and since then has specialised in the domain of corporate communications. A thorough professional who believes that women’s health and empowerment go hand-in-hand, Srivastava shares more about her key learnings and career journey. Read On:

How did you land up in Public Relations? Do detail out your career journey.

When I was in the final year of grad school, I got a call from one of my seniors in the college, who was working in a PR firm; someone probably told her that I was interested in the field.

Prior to that, I had planned to go for a PG Diploma course from Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan in PR. But she thought going for another degree was not relevant to my case, and offered me a job in the same firm. Luckily, the PR firm was only a few kilometres away from our college, and I could easily walk the distance and attend my classes in the evening after work. At the age of 21, this seemed like an excellent idea because I had the opportunity to get a degree with a job in hand. So, I took it immediately and the rest is history!

Today, I can proudly say that I am privileged to work with some of the leading brands like Sun Pharma, Roche, SRL Diagnostics, Edelman, Rediffusion, Mastek and Vaishnavi Corporate Communications. There are very few people in the industry with a perfect mix of agency and corporate experience, especially those who are able to bring the best of both worlds. I am happy to be one of them.

Why did you choose corporate communications and public relations? Why is the domain so relevant today?

After my class 12 Board exams, I went to a career counsellor who analysed my skills and advised me to opt for Journalism and Mass communication. I have always had the ability to understand communication intricacies, but to be honest, even after graduation and post-graduation, I knew very little about Public Relations.

After spending almost 15 years in this domain, I can now say that what we do as communication experts can never be taught entirely in a classroom. Corporate Communication Specialists are expected to don many hats, viz, Content Writers, Public Speaking trainers, Publicity Managers, Campaign Directors, Social Media handlers, Employee Engagement experts, Digital Marketing Specialists, Event Managers, (sometimes we have to be the emcee of our events too), Crisis Manager, Media planners, etc. At times, when we work closely with a CEO’s office, we even learn to analyse data as well.

So, Corporate Communication techniques and Marketing functions are intertwined to benefit the organisation and achieve desired goals. But a major part of our profile involves building key relationships. Be it with Sales and Marketing teams or Human Resources, including these teams’ plethora of internal clients, executive leadership members and even media houses, we are responsible for helping CEOs and other C-suite members keep their leadership ear on the ground by organising monthly lunches, weekly coffee chats, skip-level meetings or open house/ Town hall events and communication surveys.

Given your stints at pharmaceutical firms, you are also passionate about healthcare and women’s health. So what’s the latest?

A healthy body houses a healthy mind. So, the more we shape our body, the more our minds get sharpened. Speaking of these, I feel that women empowerment too is allied with women’s bodies. And, a known fact in India is that more than half the women face blatant discrimination. Be it education or the opportunity to learn to read and write, or access to nutrition, the chance to grow healthy and strong, they are mostly at the receiving end.


But as much as gender-based prejudice and inequality violates human rights, stymies social and economic development, it crushes the hopes and dreams of millions of young girls and women. It also has a grave impact on public health and wellbeing. For instance, the practice of early marriage and pregnancy threatens the health of young women and their children, especially in rural areas. These can be avoided via rapid social empowerment (including access to contraception) and implementing laws against early marriage.

Gender-based inequities likewise impede women’s access to essential health services, causing a range of adverse outcomes. Start with childbirth: Many deliveries still occur in the home, often in the presence of an unskilled birth attendant. This occurs partly as a result of women’s inadequate access to health-related knowledge and a lack of decision-making power and partly due to ongoing service gaps. Therefore, it is the right to conclude that women’s empowerment is more than a tool to advance social or economic ends. It is a public health imperative and one that demands our most strident pursuit.

What are the common health-based issues women face regularly? Has Covid-19 worsened those?

While all genders contracted various conditions, some health issues affected women differently. Furthermore, several conditions have gone undiagnosed and most drug trials did not include female test subjects during Covid-19. Even so, women bore health concerns such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, menopause and pregnancy. At present, they also suffer higher heart attack deaths compared to men. Depression and anxiety is exhibited more frequently among female patients. Urinary tract conditions often affected females, and sexually transmitted diseases usually cause more harm to women.

Health systems across the country have been overwhelmed by the pandemic, and in trying to keep up with the care demands, it has resulted in collateral damage to women’s health. Many states, especially in rural areas, have failed to keep sexual and reproductive health services available, resulting in neglect and increased risks to women’s health.

Your advice for students? How can they understand the differences better?

We must take a moment to reflect on how we have treated the people in our lives, of all genders. Have we called out inappropriate or sexist behaviours at home or school? Have we stepped up and done our fair share of domestic responsibilities? Or are we still relying on the women of the house to do them all? This change of mindset has to begin now so that when you grow up, these morals stay close to your lives.

Anything else you would like to highlight. 

I want to share the biggest lesson I have learnt in my career journey. And that is, when somebody tells you that you can’t do something, understand that it is their constraint, not yours. You should always believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who believe in you. Be tenacious, set your sights on what you want and don’t let people stand in the way of your plan.

Your upcoming plans?

I have always wanted to write a book. I have recently taken a huge decision to quit my job and write full-time for 2-3 months. So, very soon you’ll hear from me about this book. It should particularly interest women (both working and stay-at-home mothers).

How was your experience at Apeejay, School Pitampura?

Apeejay was the first stepping stone in my writing journey. To be honest, I was an average student at school but when I was chosen as a member of the editorial team for our school magazine, I began to believe in myself – my talents. I was also privileged to be in the school’s choir group. I feel lucky that the teachers at Apeejay School, Pitampura recognised my capabilities early on and provided me the support to flourish. 

Mrini Devnani is a Principal Correspondent and Marketing Coordinator at Newsroom. She covers student achievements, conducts interviews, and contributes content to the website. Previously, she served as a Correspondent specialising in Edu-tech for the India Today Group. Her skill areas extend to Social Media and Digital Marketing. For any inquiries or correspondence, you can reach out to her at [email protected].

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