Ipshita Chowdhury, Director – Marketing, South Asia, Signify Innovations mirrors the image of being a Superwoman in this interview.
Ipshita Chowdhury of Signify Innovations has survived various seasons in this industry and has witnessed several tectonic shifts, with her latest attainment being a winner of #Superwomen2019.
She commenced her career as a Media Research Analyst in Australia, moved to the Lintas Media Group after, since then she has been a part of two colossal companies – Nokia India and Microsoft India.
She now directs marketing at Signify Innovations (previously known as Philips Lighting.)
With her impressive career, she has expertise and experience in consumer understanding, marketing communications, digital marketing, brand activations, and more.
In this interview, she shares her learnings, inspiration and her point of view of the marketing meadow.
How would you define a Superwoman in today’s day and age?
For a long period of time, women have defined their success as per someone else’s and societal norms of achievement, today’s superwoman doesn’t do that. She defines, creates and rejoices her success and achievements per her own norms and benchmarks. And she is totally comfortable in her own skin, accepting her strengths and flaws with equal gusto. And of course, she is excelling in many more varied fields than ever before, breaking ceilings across.
One quality that you think every superwoman has and that helped you win Social Samosa Superwomen…
Having a constant desire to challenge oneself and being a persistent learner. A mindset that recognizes the fact that there are all kinds of stereotypes and prejudices around, sometimes from completely unexpected quarters, maneuver through those cleverly and create your own space, never play the victim. It never is easy which is why it is so worth it – a mantra to always keep at the back of your mind!
How successful have women been in shattering the glass ceiling in the Media & Advertising field? Does the ‘boardroom inequality’ phrase still stand true?
I would say there is still a long way to go if we look at marketing per se. Boardroom inequality is very much a reality and it does stand out like a sore thumb. In media and advertising, I would reckon the balance is slightly better and we are now seeing several women leaders leading important businesses and teams. A concerted effort is required from all quarters to break many more ceilings, we have just about managed the tip of the iceberg.
What are the key changes this industry needs in order to make workplaces gender-neutral, safe, and nurturing?
I think the biggest and the hardest one to make is a mindset shift from ‘but, she is a woman..’ to ‘she is a talent..’ We need to acknowledge that biases do exist no matter how much we say we are neutral; the fact of the matter is there are still so many roles within organizations wherein we do get subliminally gender-biased. I believe HR has a big role to play here by providing frequent coaching to hiring managers – this is a slow burn and a long-term battle, but we need to take this on. In the short run, of course, there are several quick interventions that one can adopt to make workplaces more gender-neutral and they are all rooted in empathy – virtual working, flexible timings, onsite childcare facilities, specific hiring mandates – all of these I believe are already getting implemented and should help. However, as I said the tipping point would be achieved only and only with the mindset shift and that is still quite a long way off.
One Superpower you wish you had?
A lot of us give in to negativity and social pressures way too easily, personally seen many young talented young women disintegrating due to lapses in their confidence. That is such a huge loss of potential. I wish I had the superpower to just perhaps get into their minds for a while and turn all that negativity into fuel so that they didn’t give in and persisted some more.
The ‘Superwomen’ you diligently follow and who inspired you…
Indra Nooyi is one person I get hugely inspired by, of course, her incredible achievements are well known. What impresses me most about her is her unfailing honesty and humility – it takes a lot of it to accept from the position she is that a woman can never have it all, and it is a make-belief that we are indeed capable of having it all. What I have learned from her is, real success does not lie in having it all but having the conviction to make the choices that are right for you in your scheme of things and then seeing them through with utmost focus and dedication.
One tip to women out there attempting to scale heights…
It may sound cliché, but the most crucial step indeed is to first and foremost believe in yourself, your abilities, skills and be confident in your own skin. All of this means years of hard work and preparation. There truly is no short cut or one magic formula. Focus, persevere, cut out those negative voices and just fly.