Communications is a highly disruptive industry, so be a lifelong learner: Sunita Venugopal

The Director of Corp Comms at Walmart Global Tech India feels a stronger community commitment and a more participative leadership style leads to greater motivation and better profitability

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Sep 14, 2020 1:48 PM
Sunita Venugopal

In the Public Relations and Corporate Communications industry today, women are first amongst equals and have been responsible in restructuring the communications landscape, making notable progress in the last decade.

Sunita Venugopal, Director - Corporate Communications at Walmart Global Tech India, is no exception. She was recently identified as “Communicator of the Year” at the e4m PR & Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards 2020.

Currently responsible for Walmart Global Tech India's external and internal branding, advising senior management on corporate brand and other associated topics, Venugopal has an experience of working across industries with leading organizations like IBM, WeP Peripherals, Good Relations and Enterprise Public Relations. With a stellar professional journey, she is a trusted name when it comes to public relations, stakeholder engagement, risk mitigation, crisis communications and campaign development.  

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

Edited excerpts:

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

I feel empowered and recognised. We worked really hard last year for this award-winning campaign (Spark of Inclusion), making it even more worth it.

Moreover, I am overwhelmed with the effort that goes into building such a platform, especially virtually. To appreciate all the strong leaders in an industry as diverse as communications, and showcase all the remarkable work – it’s phenomenal. It made me really proud to be a part of this event and learn from my peers.

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

It is a highly disruptive industry and, therefore you have to be a lifelong learner. Communications is a highly demanding career and your skills and competencies matter. It’s your attitude which makes you a great leader. Being proactive, strategic and risk-taking are some great ingredients for a fulfilling career in communications.

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?

No doubt, the number of women in communications has seen a significant acceleration in the last decade. We have come a long way in pay parity and career-advancing opportunities. What’s interesting to observe is that women in leadership roles have positively impacted the experiences of women with some measure of power and influence in this field.

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

Women at the helm, be it entrepreneurship or management have shown positive influence in organisations achieving their goals. Stronger community commitment and more participative leadership style leads to greater motivation and better profitability.

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

At Walmart Global Tech India, inclusion is a commitment more than a goal. In my professional journey, the learnings I have gathered from the organization on inclusion will stay with me for a lifetime. The way we action ‘Inclusion’ rather than talk about it, is what makes the change. Recently, we celebrated June as our Pride month with the ‘UNMASK’ campaign. During these testing times, front-ending a campaign like UNMASK was not easy and I would not have been able to do it if not for this organization. I am also a leadership coach, and my future goal will be to leverage my skills in both coaching and communications to lead impactful work in the field of inclusion.

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?

This pandemic has definitely made us think strategically about communications transformation. Traditionally, when we think of comms it served to generate awareness, maintain reputation and monitor crisis. Media and influencer environment will evolve. The communication industry ought to be metrics-driven and quantitatively focused on our results. 

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