‘Inquisitive mind & empathy key attributes of a leader’

Ranjini Chalam, Group Head at Adfactors PR, talks about bagging the Emerging Leader title as part of the e4m PR & Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards, her future goals and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 17, 2020 12:02 PM
Ranjini Chalam

Ranjini Chalam, Group Head at Adfactors PR, who won the recognition of ‘Emerging Leader in PR’ at the e4m PR and Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards, says such recognitions motivate women to excel in their career and is an inspiration for women in the PR industry.

With an experience counting to more than 18 years, Chalam in a candid conversation with exchange4media spoke about attributes of a leader, 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?

Pride, honour and exuberance - these three words sum up my feelings of being awarded as ‘Emerging leader in PR’ at Women Achievers Awards 2020. It’s a great recognition for me and especially for the women in this sector.

I feel this is indeed a great initiative by exchange4media to recognise women leaders and further motivate them to excel in their career. The award is also an inspiration for us women in PR with great aspirations.

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

As strategic communicators, we play a crucial role in shaping the image of the brand and connecting the organisation to its customers. One thing which is critical for leaders in the communication industry is being a big-picture strategic thinker – see beyond what is and envision what could be. An inquisitive mind, being fearless, audience minded, respect and empathy for team members are few of the softer skills that I feel are important for becoming an effective communication expert.

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?

In my 17+ years of experience in the field of communication, I’ve seen growth in the number of women workforce in the sector. Today, the PR and communication industry is probably one of the most inclusive of women. Whether its consulting for agencies, building big brands, or working at in-house departments, females are the majority. However, there’s always room for improvement. We still fall short when it comes to the presence of women in leadership roles.

 Nevertheless, we are on the right growth path and I am confident that with our sheer determination and talent, women will gain more impactful presence and leadership positions across industries. 

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

I am a firm believer in the power of mentorship. I am really grateful for having been mentored by great leaders throughout my professional journey who have guided me in shaping my career. Now, I consider it as my responsibility to empower and guide the next generation of women in PR and communication.

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?

In an age where digital tools are impacting every walk of life, much about PR and communication industry has also changed over last few years, from publishers moving to online-only to organizations using social media as a direct news delivery vehicle. Hence, as a leader in today's digital-centric world having skills when it comes to digital is paramount. An innovative approach is need of the hour to navigate these changes by honing our skills along the way.

My message for all the aspiring lovely ladies – admire your self-knowledge, your self-awareness, say what you think and invest in yourself. Lots of sunshine and success will sprout for you. 

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