What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I had separated from my husband when my daughter was born in 2010, so I chose to live with my parents until my daughter turned 6 months old. I then had to choose between being a full-time mother or returning to work and my career. It was the most significant decision I have ever had to take. Ultimately, I decided to get back to work because I wanted my daughter to understand and experience the importance of independence, career and role-modeling. Since then, my daughter and I have never looked back.
If you weren’t doing your current job, what would you be doing and why?
Music is my passion, and I took tuition from the age of 10. From singing to the piano and even playing the drums, I remain endlessly captivated by sound, tone and rhythm. I suspect that had things turned out differently I would have aimed for a music career. On reflection, I try to create harmony and tone in my current role at WPP, so perhaps those lessons were not for nothing.
What should the industry do to encourage more women and people of color into its ranks?
The conversation needs to shift from “good to do” to “must do.” The whole DEI agenda needs to become a strategic imperative for the industry, with gender at the forefront. We must demonstrate that diverse and inclusive organizations perform better and attract the best talent. We must celebrate leaders from all underrepresented groups by sharing their stories, breaking industry stereotypes and positively influencing our peers and clients.
What is the biggest lesson you have taken away from the pandemic?
My biggest lesson from the pandemic has been to never take anything for granted. India went through a terrible second wave, and many people in my professional and personal circle lost lives to COVID. At the onset of the lockdown, I moved back to live with my family. Those two years have been invaluable in demonstrating the power of family and community, a rare positive from COVID. I can say that I have truly learned the importance of work-life balance, well-being and resilience and have managed both relatively smoothly and successfully so far.