Celebrating the contributions of women this International Women’s Day, exchange4media is running a women’s day series highlighting the journey, success and achievements of women leaders. Raji Ramaswamy, the CEO of Contract India, Wunderman Thompson India Group Company, shares her journey, thoughts on women in sustainability and how marketing is shaping a just world for all genders in today’s edition of exchange4media’s special coverage celebrating International Women’s Day 2020.
With over 25 years of experience in advertising, Ramaswamy describes herself as a brand creator and digital evangelist. She is credited with building the DeBeers business in India and has spearheaded the development of the first diamond brand in the world – Nakshatra. The creative powerhouse played a key role in promoting Kellogg’s in the country and has worked for numerous big brands including Tata, ITC, Berger Paints, Exide, among others.
Excerpts from the interview:
What are your thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’? According to you, how can women leaders and workers in the formal space create a sustainable future?
Women represent half the talent in the world. Not having them fully participate in the corporate world or a government body would mean we are not realizing the potential of the brightest minds of this generation. And there is already a dearth of talent that we are facing across industries. Equal opportunities for women pave the way for more gender-balanced views on making this world a better place. For any company, diverse talent, commitment to quality, ability to build a more empathetic business, a collaborative and inclusive culture, great team dynamics, intuitive decision making, insightful ideas are important to achieve excellence. And such excellence demands a gender-fluid and gender agnostic ecosystem to thrive. And having strong women leaders in a company sends signals to the new workforce that the environment in the company respects equality, rewards excellence, has world-class sustainability and future.
What is your idea of a gender-just workplace? Please draw from your own experiences to share how a supportive work environment helped you attain your goals?
Excellence and commitment need to be rewarded irrespective of gender, potential to implement new ideas. All hiring needs to be gender agnostic and there should always be equal representation of talent in the shortlist so that the best makes the cut, promotions based on performance, leadership development courses, supportive environment for women to deal with challenges of home, kids and work , work-life balance, learning opportunities through conferences, online courses, mentoring sessions.
How are women in the marketing world reshaping the course of the industry? How do you see women’s representation in Indian advertising (both on and off-screen)?
The insight and empathy of women are beginning to make an impact in the world of marketing. The real change will happen when there are enough women CEOs in the country across all industries.
What is your advice to the young women who are either working in or planning to join your industry?
You can change the world if you put your mind and might to it. No one knows what you are capable of and sometimes even you may not recognize your own strengths so don’t doubt yourself and your ability to make great things happen. Having the confidence to take on anything new can only make you grow and view any setbacks early in your career as a learning experience. Be positive and open to new ideas always.
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