As part of the Star Plus Nayi Soch initiative, we unveil a series of father-daughter interviews that challenge gender stereotypes and give a glimpse into this very special bond.
Sam Balsara, Chairman & Managing Director of Madison World, is one of the most influential persons in the Media & Advertising world. He is also a loving dad to his two daughters, Lara and Tanya. Lara Balsara Vajifdar works with him as Executive Director at Madison World. Here, Balsara and Lara tell us how they drive each other to be the best version of themselves.
Creating a legacy
The proud father tells us about how he wanted his daughter to find her own path to success. “Ours is a culture that celebrates achievement. People respect you for what you do. Looking back, I always encouraged my daughters to have fun and enjoy their lives, while also urging them to achieve something significant. I am delighted to have Lara join me at the workplace. She helps me take important decisions in a very cool, distant manner without getting too emotionally involved. I learn from her every day,” he says, adding that she challenges the common stereotype that women are less rational and more emotional at the workplace.
Lara tells us how her early years at Madison set a strong foundation for her future. “More than 12 years ago, when I started working at Madison, I received no special privileges and had to work my way up from an executive level. My father’s philosophy, integrity and the way he conducts himself have really inspired me and helped me make tough decisions as I took on bigger roles.”
Why daughters are special
Balsara tells us he never felt disappointed at not having a son. “I was delighted to have two daughters, and now I have a little grand-daughter too! I am not sure why we, as a country, focus on having male children but I am confident that this attitude will change eventually. In fact, I never treated my children differently just because they were girls. I gave them the space and encouragement they needed to grow, and I would have done the same if they were sons.”
Lara is specific that being a woman is no impediment to success. “It is advantageous being a woman in the Advertising & Media world. This industry is full of successful and talented women. I take it for granted that I am an equal in this organisation, in the industry and even at home,” she says.
Balsara adds, “While our family has never believed in gender typecasting, there is a need to gently nudge the vast majority of the country towards gender equality. Parents need to recognise that their daughters can do as much as their sons, if not more. The Nayi Soch campaign is an excellent step in that direction.”