Greater reliance on data analytics is a trend that will shape PR in 2020: Rakhee Lalvani

Rakhee Lalvani, VP-PR & Corp Comm, Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris Worldwide, to find out her idea on the role of women in restructuring the industry, her future goals and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Aug 24, 2020 8:28 AM  | 5 min read

As part of our daily feature, today we speak to a woman leader who has built and integrated the corporate communications department of Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris Worldwide. Rakhee Lalvani, Vice President – Public Relations and Corporate Communications, won the 'Communicator of the Year' award at the recently held Women Achievers Awards 2020.
Proving that communication is truly her forte, Lalvani has been delivering award winning PR campaigns for the company for more than two decades now. e4m spoke to Lalvani to find out her idea on the role of women in restructuring the industry, need for more women leaders at the helm of organisations, her future goals and more.

Edited Excerpts

How do you feel being the winner of the Women Achievers Award?
This is indeed wonderful recognition and I am truly humbled to receive this award. I am privileged to work for South Asia’s most iconic hospitality company that has shaped and enriched my career and life. I am also fortunate to work with a great team and a leader like Mr. Chhatwal, our MD & CEO, who inspires us to do better every day.
I would like to thank exchange4Media for creating a platform for women achievers and celebrating all the great work being done by so many talented and remarkable women.

What are the attributes/qualities required to be a leader in the communication industry?
A leader is only as strong as their team and it is important to carry the team with you, recognizing each one’s strength and building on it. This way both the organisation and the individual grow. Leaders must always be curious and have a constant thirst and hunger for knowledge. Communication leaders must be very precise, creative, compelling, and effective in communicating. Having the ability to stay calm during a crisis or under pressure is an extremely important trait as this helps you think clearly. Building relationships with both internal and external target audiences, and last but not least, staying abreast of all your company’s priorities and issues to help you join the dots and tell a story.

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?
Women are playing a very significant role in contributing towards the development of the communications industry. So many women PR practitioners, agency owners are shaping the way for the next generation through their bold, compassionate, creative, and inclusive leadership styles. It's commendable how much progress women have made over the years and are holding more leadership, C- suite and entrepreneurial roles today. Credit also goes to companies who are embracing diversity more than ever. It is important that all companies realize the importance of equality, and here one is not only referring to gender, but race, religion, age, etc. I am truly fortunate to be part of Tata Group that has encouraged me to excel as a woman and continues to give me opportunities to grow.
Today communications have changed significantly and is far tougher. It is extremely demanding on your time with the 24-hour news cycles and the necessity to stand out of the clutter. Women need to thus manage their time more effectively and have boundaries so that they can achieve a work- life balance.

Why do we need to have more leaders at the helm of organizations in today's scenario and what value women bring to the table?
Gender should not be a factor in whether a person can be a great leader. A person’s leadership abilities should depend on their individual strengths and skill sets. Having said that, women can bring a lot of value to the table and there are certain things that come more naturally to women; be it high emotional intelligence which can help get the best from their employees. Women can multi-task, wear many hats and make everything look quite effortless. Women can handle crisis extremely well as they bring in compassion, empathy, and kindness.  Women are resilient as they learn from adversity and bounce back with renewed determination. There are many more strengths as there are for men and the best way forward is a gender balanced leadership mix.

What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry/society?
I would like to be a change agent for the industry by playing a role in elevating the status of the function to one that is at the board level. I would like to invest time in helping other communication professionals grow and realize their full potential. I would like to also be able to influence and inspire other aspiring women to come forward and achieve their dreams.

How do you see the PR and the crop comm industry shaping up in the years to come and your message to the future women leaders?
Public Relations will continue to shape how companies launch their growth, how they raise funding, and how they market their products or services. According to me, the emerging trends that will shape PR in 2020 and beyond will include greater reliance on data analytics and insights.
From Big Data to small, modern PR has become ever more dependent on data. PR is all about stories. To tell compelling narratives to our target market, important data has to be collected and scrutinised. The internet age has ensured that there is tremendous amount of information available at the click of a button. Therefore, companies that want to succeed in modern PR, must embrace effective metrics and analytics as journalists are now interested in stories that are backed by well-analysed data.
My message to all women leaders is one that is inspired by Steve Jobs: Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish. The only way to succeed is to keep learning, keep pushing your own boundaries, stay curious and always stay humble. You only live once so make it count.

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