Alumni Speak

‘Career and motherhood can go hand in hand’

Divya Sahni, Senior Project Manager with McCann Worldgroup and an alumnus of Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication says women employees who become working mothers are no less committed to their job.

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Divya works with McCann Worldgroup, a global marketing and communications agency. As a project manager, her role is to manage and plan projects from the beginning till the end. She serves as the liaison between the creative team and the client to establish expectations, provide status updates, schedule deadlines, write briefs, and execute other supervisory activities. She also has to perform detailed market research on a service or a product and analyse the competition to create the most effective marketing campaign. In an informal interview, Divya, who has done her PG Diploma in Advertising and Marketing Communication from the Apeejay Institute of Mass Communication (AIMC), talks about the skills needed for a successful career in advertising, working with advertising professional, lyricist and poet Prasoon Joshi, motherhood and its impact on career progression, and more. Edited excerpts:

What are key learnings from your time at AIMC?

What I like about AIMC the most is that it focuses a lot on hands-on experience. The faculty thrust us into various ‘mock environments’ so that we had a robust idea about the work that advertising agencies do. That’s how I learned a lot about handling overall marketing and branding strategies for clients. This really helped me in my career. Also, AIMC has some of the best mentors from the industry who go out of their way to support students in every possible way.

What are the desired skills to be successful in advertising?

Brevity along with creativity is the secret recipe for Advertising. Our field works on the principle of ‘Less is more.’ A message must be communicated in a short, clear and concise way. The challenge is to compress your thoughts into a small amount of content. Secondly, you need to have excellent communication skills. Talking about myself, my job is to align everyone on a single goal and ensure that all the right information finds its way to all the right stakeholders. For that to happen, I lay special emphasis to the creative brief as this is the foundation of any successful campaign. It outlines the client’s vision for the brand and the product. A clutter-free communication connects every member of a project team to a common set of strategies, goals, and actions. Thirdly, it’s important to religiously keep a tab on the latest market trends and consumer behaviour.

Famous lyricist Prasoon Joshi is the CEO & CCO of McCann Worldgroup India. Did you get an opportunity to work with him?

I am grateful to Almighty that I got a chance to work closely with him on a couple of projects. Prasoon Sir has the ability to brief the team in the simplest manner possible. Let me share an anecdote with you. We got a complicated brief from the client and were struggling to make sense out of it. Prasoon Sir broke that two-page brief into one simple sentence. Such is his calibre.

You are a mother of a one-year-old son. How do you balance motherhood and your career responsibilities?

A career and motherhood can go hand in hand. I agree it’s not easy being a mom trying to juggle a full-time job with a family life. However, the key is to focus on a plan and find the right balance between profession and parenthood. For example, I have communicated with my clients that I don’t work on weekends and they understood where I am coming from. This doesn’t mean that when there’s an urgency I am not available. I share an excellent rapport with my clients. They are like my family and this bond has cemented over a period of time. Also, when my clients see the kind of effort I put in my work, they too support me wholeheartedly. Having an open discussion with your clients and the management hold all the aces to maintain a healthy work-life balance. There are so many working women who are doing great in their professional life.  It’s not as if women employees who become working mothers are no less committed to their job. Importantly, working mothers positively influence children. They inspire them, help them become independent and responsible and make them value time and effort.

Dheeraj Sharma is Asst. Editor (Newsroom). He covers events, webinars, conducts interviews and brings you exciting news snippets. He has over 10 years' of experience in prominent media organizations. He takes pleasure in the small things in life and believes a healthy work-life balance is key to happiness. You can reach him at [email protected]

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