Mou Chakravorty, Associate Director Marketing Communication, Deloitte India talks how the biggest change the industry needs is to break myths and perceptions about women not being tough and intellectual
Mou Chakravorty of Deloitte India and a winner of Social Samosa Superwomen 2022 talks about the changes the A&M industry has witnessed post-pandemic a thing she would like to change about the industry, and some more insights on the workings of the industry.
What do you think it means to be a superwoman in the New Normal?
In the context of ‘Superwomen’ as a concept, the pandemic has brought in a lot of realization for women. At one end the spotlight suddenly has been on DEI which has helped women voice out the deep-rooted biases existing for years, leading a way to leapfrog and navigate those hurdles.
Whilst at the other, expectations from them are only amplifying as boundaries blur between personal and professional mandates leading to an even more ‘always-on’ mode.
There seems to be an extra layer of pressure of ‘perfection’ at the job and home constant connectivity raising the ‘responsibility’ tag with absolutely no room for self-focus and happiness.
In this renewed context, a Superwomen of the new normal as per me is expected to be.
- Someone who is pragmatic, agile and knows the ‘art of prioritization’ well.
- Someone who believes in herself instead of proving her self-worth; she is strong, fearless and exudes confidence.
- Makes choices for self-happiness including taking care of growth by investing in grooming her physical, intellectual, and mental skills.
- She believes in networking and giving back to her community and practices the culture of culture to speak out when needed.
- Has in-depth knowledge and is a constant learner ready to take on additional responsibilities. She is seen constantly upskilling and reinventing herself.
A big part of success is mental health & work-life balance - how do you ensure to create work-life balance for yourself & those around you?
Work-life balance as a term seems a myth to me in today’s digital world, as most professionals especially in the A&M field are on a ‘always-on’ mode.
My mantra for maintaining sanity is to set some simple ground rules for myself:
- Planning and prioritising work, both personal and professional and doing that not just for the day but for a week at least. This is like setting up smaller goals to achieve that ‘bigger goal’ of success.
- Acceptance of the fact that productivity dips after a point, so focusing on quality over quantity in deliverables, mandates or engagement matters.
- Building a ‘culture of courage’ and ‘empathy’ in self and the teams, so there is always a way to know the problem in advance and no surprises come to create stress.
- Respecting time-offs and weekends for self and others and ensuring there’s a detox process happening from time to time for creativity to persist.
- Do what makes me happy – music, and my ‘me time’ help rejuvenate which are my priorities too.
Also Read: Superwomen 2022: It’s important for women to continue to carve out time for themselves says Bhuvana Subramanyan
While a lot has changed for the better in the A&M industry, what kind of challenges continue to exist for women? Especially with the whole WFH & hybrid work situation.
- Constant connectivity mode in the ‘digital age’ has redefined the way we operate in the A&M world. While work isn’t disrupted, work and social media lifestyle has penetrated deeper with no room for ‘self-time’ impacting mental and physical wellness.
- Stress and sleeping issues have been a constant issue, especially for women who are obviously overworking and constantly trying to juggle office and household work.
- Performance Pressure has amplified as the constant connectivity has raised client demands leading to a huge talent crunch. This brings a lot of performance and operational pressure at work.
- Existing bias: While India Inc. has been advocating ‘gender equity’ , there’s a lot that is yet to be done and with the pandemic, sometimes these prevalent biases takeover as clients look up to ‘leaders’ who would get the work done (often indicating to a-gender) which leads to a constant cycle of proving self-worth.
- DEI focus leading to a push on personal brand building and upskilling has increased dramatically.
What in your opinion, helped you excel in your career?
- The key traits that have helped me excel in my career are passion, hard work and the dream to make it big in life.
- Added to this was my hunger to do creative work got me to work with some of the best brands as clients and great workplaces where I could learn the craft from the Industry’s exceptional leaders.
- Third, a very supportive family who gave me the independence to follow my heart and explore every move on my own.
- Lastly, thanks to those professionals who either inspired me, criticized or mentored me. Their contribution helped me to become tough every day and despite multiple challenges, I could rise and make a mark for myself.
One Superwoman you look up to & why?
From an early age, my superwoman was my ‘mother’ who was the live example of ‘grit’ , ‘sacrifice’ and ‘success’ all at the same time. However as I grew up, I think I was deeply inspired by Leena Naair, CEO of Chanel now and ex-CHRO Unilever. Navigating through so many challenges, yet shining bright amidst a world that often judges us women and pulls her down when traversing the leadership ladder. Leena’s contribution to the community is unmatched, her LinkedIn posts are so inspiring and authentic shouting loud that ‘ Determined Women are unstoppable’, thinking of which I feel her journey from Kolhapur to London must have been tough and inspiring too.
One thing you would like to change about this industry?
The biggest change that the industry needs to see is to break myths and perceptions about women not being tough and intellectual.
The industry needs to truly break the judgements and biases to let women lead from the front rather than struggling for years to prove their self-worth and work on the periphery.
One thing that this industry desperately needs?
Favourable policies for women that can help them rise and shine.
Despite being talented, compassionate, and hardworking to collaborate across teams/geographies, there is a huge dropout of women in the middle management level which needs to stop. This is possible only when ‘merit’ become the single most attribute of leadership positions and corporate management steps up to work cohesively both with their women employees to listen to the issues and with HR heads to nurture, promote and sponsor the deserving to reach the top. The industry needs to collectively bring this change and women need to bring in the culture of sisterhood to support each other in such a revolution.
One tip for all aspiring A&M professionals out there?
Dream big and follow your passion without setting limits. The world is there for women to conquer so they need not stop or feel apologetic about anything.