Leading Marketing at OLX India, Sapna Arora is also one of the Social Samosa Superwomen 2020 winners and sharers her perspective on gender equality in the industry.
Sapna Arora, CMO, OLX India is hailed as a marketing innovator with extensive experience in leading major brands through a creative turnaround and inspiring engagement with consumers in new ways. Her experience spans building brands, creating new product categories, expanding businesses to newer markets, and leading innovative and fully-integrated marketing programs.
Below are the edited excerpts from an exclusive interview with Arora.
How would you define a Superwoman in today’s day and age?
The definition of a Superwoman is not simply limited to how women are able to straddle their work and personal lives. A Superwoman is someone who is ready to go the extra mile to achieve her dreams by defying the odds. A Superwoman doesn’t take no for an answer and despite insurmountable odds is willing to build something completely out of scratch. She constantly puts herself out there despite any odds and is a multitasker, benevolent, hustler, ambitious, resilient in the face of anything.
One quality that you think every superwoman has and that helped you win Social Samosa Superwomen?
I think perseverance is the key that brings about clarity of thought and impact of an action. During the course of our lives, there will be situations that can influence your decision and even may compel you to give up. However, true grit and perseverance despite the odds is a severely underrated trait. Throw in a mix of adaptability to it and together they form a resolute force strong enough to withstand any obstacles out there.
How successful have women been in shattering the glass ceiling in the Media & Advertising field? Does the ‘boardroom inequality’ phrase still stand true?
As per market studies, as India is poised to become the fifth largest consumer market by 2025, women will play a pivotal role in the same as key decision-makers. Over the last couple of years, women have been increasingly making their presence felt across the domains of Media & Advertising.
The industry has changed over the years by setting the right example of favorable work culture much suited to women, not just in terms of facilities and infrastructure but also in terms of broadening its thinking within an organization across various levels in order to inspire women to shatter the glass ceiling and rise higher through the ranks. OLX, as an organization, is working on taking baby steps in creating empowering workplaces for women.
A couple of years ago, we at OLX embarked on a journey to evaluate the gender diversity ratio and actively worked to encourage more women in roles such as data scientists, engineers, front line sales and more. This is a conscious choice we have made under our global diversity and inclusion program which seeks to improve the gender ratio across STEM and leadership roles.
Globally, we are slowly inching towards women accounting for 30% of the boardroom representation. Boardroom inequality does stand true and in order to tide over the same industry needs to constitute in place more gender-inclusive policies.
What are the key changes this industry needs in order to make workplaces gender-neutral, safe, and nurturing?
Lack of understanding of unconscious workplace biases, lack of building a dignified work culture, a gap in implementing gender-inclusive policies and making every voice count can be some of the challenges which the industry needs to resolve in order to make workplaces gender-neutral, safe, and nurturing.
One of the most prominent ones is cognitive biases and gender/race/caste stereotypes. The inclusion of women in leadership positions and training of the leadership teams to understand what gender inclusion and diversity truly stand for is extremely critical.
One Superpower you wish you had?
One superpower I wish I had was telepathy which would enable me to understand the consumer mindset better and propagate the cause of more gender-inclusive communication across the media & advertising industry.
The ‘Superwomen’ you diligently follow and who inspired you?
Learning is a constant cycle, therefore, I feel, the best way is to keep learning from different women you meet along the way. There are inspiring people all around us. It is about how you perceive things and experience life. You could be inspired by someone in your team who turns up at work every day despite personal challenges or it would be corporate leaders like Indira Nooyi to a lady who helps you at home and maintains her dignity despite challenging social limitations. Inspiring examples are all around us and we need to draw inspiration from each of them irrespective of their social standing.
One tip to women out there attempting to scale heights?
Believe in yourself. Believe that you can make big, believe that you’ve got it, believe that there is enough for everyone to win. Be real and fight for your right, no matter how tough or insurmountable the outcome is.