Kalpana Chauhan of Interactive Avenues talks about how the industry has changed in the last few, in line with the changing role of women in a hybrid work space.
Kalpana Chauhan, Senior Director- Data & Intelligence at Interactive Avenues and winner of Social Samosa Superwomen 2022, talks about work-life balance, why her mother is her superwoman, and how the pandemic has changed things for working women.
What do you think it means to be a superwoman in the New Normal?
The pandemic has put pressure on everyone, at a personal as well as professional front. We all have witnessed one of the worst experiences that one can have. Our daily lives have changed and while a lot is reversing but there is a new normal now and that normally requires women to be more agile, and more innovative in handling work. I personally feel it has brought more responsibilities in leading and mentoring the team.
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 is a very tricky subject. With the kind of digital world and profession, we are part of, the boundaries of work vs personal times are highly blurred. The solution, however, is not that difficult. Flexibility and trusting team members are the key.
I also believe that it’s a leader’s job to ensure that people understand their responsibilities and are motivated. This coupled with flexibility not only ensures work-life balance but high productivity as well. Also, an environment of open dialogues goes a long way in building that trust and I think I have been able to do it for my team. The same is valid for me and my leaders who give me enough flexibility and don’t micromanage.
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.
The biggest challenge that has been there forever is the importance of networking in the industry for growth and the lack of women being part of that. This industry is a lot about show and tell. The work from home and hybrid has added to the challenge to a great extent.
Even the interaction with the senior leadership, other than work, has reduced drastically for most women, restricting their opportunity to grow.
What in your opinion, helped you excel in your career?
I wouldn’t say I have excelled in my career in terms of where I have reached but I can say with confidence that my constant itch to use my knowledge and desire to be able to do more and better towards the work I do as well as towards the people I am associated with various capacities, helps me grow as a human being and as a professional. I am blessed with a good brain inside my head and it’s a privilege I shouldn’t abuse by not using it to the fullest.
One Superwoman you look up to & why
Without a doubt, my mother. She was one such person who imbibed many values in me and my siblings by her actions. As Mahatma Gandhi, I can say for her, her life was her lesson.
She was an embodiment of putting knowledge into action. A lot of us study maths, physics and whatnot and don’t realise how to use them in real life but thanks to her, I am able to function better in my small to big challenges in life. She made us learn the value of helping others and I think I am doing a fairly good job on that front. I wish though if I could be half as fast and efficient as she was
One thing you would like to change about this industry. One thing that this industry desperately needs
The industry needs a better recruitment system and needs more organized industry bodies and forums.
One tip for all aspiring A&M professionals out there.
Be real and try to be good and do good. It doesn’t matter if you came here by choice (for the love of advertising, marketing, digital or data), or because other opportunities didn’t fructify.
What matters is you are here and to excel, never ever discount the value of good theory and constant learning. Make your base strong with time tested A&M theories and broaden your horizons with whatever is happening in the industry and ecosystem. Don’t accept something because you are told. Think and Question. And lastly, don’t lose your originality as that makes you, you.