'A good leader will empower others to grow into the leaders of tomorrow'

Flovie Martins, AVP & Head - Corp Comm, Brand Advocacy & CSR at Future Generali India Life Insurance, advises her peers to adapt to the changing environment and be open to learning new skills

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 9:29 AM
Flovie Martins

Recent times has witnessed the rise of gender agnostic and progressive atmosphere at the workplace, leading to a rise in female leadership, especially in the PR and Corp Comm industry. To acknowledge trailblazing female leaders, e4m organised the PR and Corp Comm Women Achievers Summit and Awards 2020.

One such leader who took away the title of ‘Mentor of the Year in Corporate Communication’ was Flovie Martins, Associate Vice President & Head - Corporate Communications, Brand Advocacy & CSR at Future Generali India Life Insurance.

Martins is a seasoned communications expert having spent two decades in the communications industry with 14 years of hands-on experience in the field.  She has worked for industries like FMCG, Retail, Healthcare, Education, Lifestyle, Corporate, B2B  and others with experience in international markets too. Martins has some major campaigns and brand wins to her communication repertoire along with handling PR strategic planning and implementation for some of the renowned and respectable brands.

In today’s feature, we speak to Flovie Martins on her big win, her thoughts on female leadership, the role of women in restructuring the industry, inclusivity, future goals and more.

Edited Excerpts:

How do you feel being the winner of the Women Achievers initiative?

This is my second award in the same year related to Women Achievers. Hence, it is a proud feeling to be handpicked and recognised individually for the efforts put in. Especially so, as there are so many hard-working women out there making a difference every day in so many fields. It is indeed a delightful experience to see more and more industries coming forward to felicitate and celebrate woman, specifically for what they bring to the table. e4m did a commendable job on touching upon relevant topics of discussion and inviting a range of amazing women achievers to share their insights on them.

What are the attributes required to be a leader in the communication industry?

To begin with, I don’t think the qualities required for any leader are gender or industry agnostic. A good leader will lead by example. There is no other way to show your peers how things need to be done than by doing it yourself. People best learn by having a mentor to lead them who has real-time experiences to share of how to handle situations.  Next, a good leader should always have a continuous willingness to keep learning for people and situations. Last but importantly, a good leader will empower others to learn and grow into the leaders of tomorrow.

 What role have women played in the restructuring of the industry and how has the communications industry changed over the years for the women workforce?

The communications industry predominantly already has a sizable workforce of women as compared to men. When attached to their counterpart – the marketing industry, however, is where the ratio fluctuates and many times within the same department vertical as a whole in a corporate environment. But individually on the PR agency side of things, though almost equal in gender today, women still continue to dominate the workforce. Twenty years ago since when I started my career, the ratio would be 5/10 or fewer men in the entire agency. It is good to see the transformation since then of more men taking up communications as a career – it does have a lot to offer. I don’t know of any other industry where one wears so many hats and to think that women dominate this industry just proves, why very rightly so.

Why do we need to have more women leaders at the helm of organizations in today's scenario and what value women bring to the table? 

Women are built by nature to see things a bit differently than men. For example, we see more colour variants than men apparently which means we are good at detailing. Secondly, I would like to think women are again natural multitaskers, juggling between home and career-related responsibilities. Even if a woman is just a housewife, she is still running a family and house with various everyday tasks that have to be complete no matter what on a fixed budget. Many times, wise decision making has to be instantaneous and without delay to the problem at hand. At the end of the day these are qualities required by a leader or head of a business. So, naturally, a woman is built for the lead role and should be given a seat at the table. It is rightly said and proven, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”.

What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry and society?

The new normal will be something like no one has ever imagined in this lifetime. I would like to continue to keep learning new digital ways of doing things that will enhance my career and life. I would like to branch out from Corporate communications, which is my core area of work and get into marketing communications. In five years,  I would like to be heading a job portfolio that is a summation of social media communications, marketing communications, media communications, internal communications and CSR by using up to date digital platforms. If there is scope for more, I would like to learn that too.

Apart from a healthy career, I would like to aim at becoming a motivational speaker the path to which has already begun. I strongly believe in the “She for She” concept. Women need to uplift other women in need in whatever way possible. Having real-life experiences to share, I am sure I will be able to provide value, motivation and inspiration to other women in need of a push to overcome their life difficulties.

How do you see the PR and the corp comm industry shaping up in the years to come and your message to the future women leaders?

We are living in an amazing time. More than ever today the opportunities for women to empower themselves are abundant. As a society too and as an Indian one, we have evolved to be far healthier than the Western world in empowering women even in our rural belts. But for women to become more than what they think they are capable of – it is first imperative that they recognise the need to change their outlook on life or their current situation. They must wake up and want to go out and make a difference in their everyday life and that in my knowledge and experience is the foundation of becoming a future women leader.

Commenting specifically on the communications industry shaping up, it is important today to re-skill and up-skill. Over the two decades that I have been in this industry, I have seen it evolve so many times to adapt to the changing requirements of the job role. The current times require digital and technological knowledge of things. Digital revolution has just leapt ahead during the current unprecedented COVID times and as such adoption and adaption to it, has to be quicker than ever. Hence I would advise all comms professionals to be attentive to the changing environment around you and be accepting of learning a new skill or you will be left behind.  

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