Sam Balsara: Impact Top 50 Women should be on Fortune 500 list

The media veteran, who was the chairman of the jury that put together the list, was happy to see that many of the names from the list have gone on to occupy the mantle on other lists

At the ceremony for the announcement of IMPACT’s 50 Most Influential Women in Media, Marketing and Advertising List 2018 last evening, Sam Balsara (Founder, Chairman and Managing Director of Madison World and Madison Communications) was happy to know that many of the names from this list have now “gone on to occupy the mantle on other lists that now almost all magazines have started to bring out.”

“It wasn’t like that seven years ago when we started. There weren’t too many women’s lists,” he said.

Nadia Chauhan, Joint Managing Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Parle Agro, has topped the list this year owing to her contribution in contemporising Parle Agro products and moving them towards market leadership.

Balsara, who was the chairman of the jury that put together the list, said preparing this list of top 50 women in advertising, media and marketing fields was a lot more difficult than those put out by the general magazines.

He made the statement on the basis of his experience at a similar session that he participated in last year. Balsara said it took just 45 minutes to an hour to arrive at a list of India Incorporated top 25 women list as against the 4.5-5 hours taken for the Impact Top 50 Women list. He was delighted to mention that the IMPACT list was getting more and more popular and looked forward to. 

Balsara pointed out the diversity of the jury which reflected in the final list. “This is never really a perfect process, but we want to bring in as many diversity and points of view into this list. Jury was also represented by advertisers, media owners and agencies. This diversity is reflected in the final list, which had 21 from media, 19 from advertisers and 17 from agencies.”

“Every year, we have a lot of discussions on young entrepreneurs who have set up a new business or factory or are running even consumer product companies like fashion houses where advertising and marketing play a big role, but they are the CEOs and the bosses. We have religiously kept these names out of the list because we want to preserve the sanctity of the fact that this is the list of media, advertising and marketing people only,” he said.

Balsara ended his address with an important observation about the Fortune 500 list. He said he was surprised to see that only 5 per cent of the CEOs in the Fortune 500 list are women.

“Even if you expand this list to Fortune 1000, the percentage does not really move up. As you can see there is a lot of headroom for women. I look forward to the time when someone from our list will begin to add to that percentage of Fortune 500,” he signed off.

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