'It is important to invest in the people you work with'
Pallavi Chandra, PR Lead at HONOR India, believes that there will be an increased role of multimedia content & new platforms and PR agencies/ Corp Comm managers will branch out beyond PR
Today, women are taking charge, helming brands and reputations along with navigating the industry through unforeseen changes. Exchange4media recognized and felicitated such female leaders in the communication industry in the recently virtually held ‘e4m PR and Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards 2020”. Pallavi Chandra, PR Lead at HONOR India - Huawei Telecommunications Co. Pvt. Ltd, was one of the winners to be felicitated as ‘Communicator of the Year’ title.
Chandra is a PR professional with over a decade of experience in the industry. An ambitious public relations strategist with extensive experience directing PR campaigns in both agency and in-house settings, she has proven her repertoire in success developing, managing and implementing media strategies and measuring results across traditional media and digital channels.
In today’s feature, we speak to Pallavi Chandra on her big win, thoughts on female leadership, the role of women in restructuring the industry, inclusivity, future goals and more.
How do you feel winning big at the Women Achievers initiative?
It is an amazing feeling being recognized for your work, and to be part of a group of women who are dedicated to their job plus have a balance personal life. It is an honour to receive this award and it gives me motivation for 2021. I am grateful to exchange4media team for the recognition.
What are the attributes/ qualities required to be a leader in the communication industry?
There are certain things which I have learned on my way to the position I hold currently and the respect I have in the PR industry. I have held on to these learnings and I believe it showcases the leadership qualities in me.
It is very important to invest in the people you work with. Give them time, handhold them when required and work together as a team and not be a dictator.
Break down the complex ideas or work in simple terms; this leads to effectiveness and understanding of the job.
Always remind yourself and your team that learning is a constant process and one should not work with an all-knowing mindset.
Next is prioritization. When it’s done well, it creates space and allows for creativity and efficiency.
Be a good listener: it makes a difference in productivity and motivation to pay attention to others and really take in what they are saying.
It is important to always be helpful by nature when working in a professional environment even if it’s towards another team.
One of the other qualities I have learned in the past years is empathy. It allows you to take a few moments before constructing an email, distributing company news or providing your team with critical feedback.
If a particular team member was responsible for our success, I would make sure to single them out in discussion with the higher-ups. I learned that appreciating team members at the right time not only inspires them but everyone else to continue working at their full potential.
Lastly asking them to lead the project, this not only makes them accountable but gives them a sense of ownership.
What role have women played in the restructuring of the industry and how has it changed over the years for the women workforce?
The communications industry is always been dominated by women workforce especially PR. I personally feel it's women who can bring calmness to the madness. With time, the women in this industry have helped build an inspiring work culture by bringing in healthy competition, fostering teamwork, bonding and thereby helping their workplace grow to its full potential.
There is certainly a change, the industry has surely understood that a woman leads two parallel lives which are equally important to her – personal and professional. There are policies for women now such as - work from home for new mothers, an extension on maternity leave, travel arrangements are taken care of by companies etc. Most importantly women are not judged or treated differently than men in this field now, but there is surely come improvement which is needed in some areas.
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 make great leaders. One of the qualities that women bring as leaders is that they inspire others, particularly other women in the workplace. In my opinion, female leaders tend to be generous and fair. They lift up the people around them. Women are good communicators; they’re great at conveying what they mean with tact and honesty. Women leaders are good at multi-tasking – they can be excellent team players, as well as mothers and partners. They are good at establishing routine and continuity, which in turn provides stability in their environments.
The amazing qualities that women bring to the workplace help to solidify our role in the business world and to make that world progressive and innovative. Through these qualities and skills, the workplace can be more productive, peaceful, team-oriented and successful.
What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry/society?
In the next five years, I would like to be recognized as an expert in the communication industry. I have the potential to lead projects, lead a team and provide them direction. Five years from now, I see myself leading a global PR mandate for my current organization or any other fortune 500 company. It is important to understand your potential, trust yourself and push your dreams forward. It is only then that you can achieve it. I also see myself managing my work and personal life similar to what I am able to do now. I try to give my 100% to my daughter and my family when at home.
I strongly believe that there should be a mandate for each company to have women in the leadership team i.e. have a certain percentage kept for women staff and this should be part of the company policy. Women are powerful they bring patience, calmness and empathy to the table. The second most important thing for me is equal pay i.e. not be gender-biased. I feel women in any industry are not paid equally as compared to men. Women bring the same kind of passion and dedication to work like men at any workplace.
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?
PR has become very diverse, there are different elements which are added to our jobs now. There is an integrated approach which we take when crafting a PR campaign and not just do basic vanilla PR. Now, PR professionals are considered as advisors/consultants for the brand. It has become an essential part of the brand’s organizational structure. In the coming years, the PR approach will change drastically. There will be an increased role of multimedia content and new platforms and PR agencies/ Corp Comm managers will branch out beyond PR i.e. manage multiple roles for example manage PR + digital for their organization.
I feel honesty is still the best policy, it is when media and internal stakeholders show immense trust in you and respect you. Be honest to yourself and to your work. The nature of our job is such that it is important to adapt to the given situation, be open to learning new things. Thirdly, look at the bigger picture. The desired result of every PR activity/program should have a contribution to the bigger –picture i.e. advancing the business of the brand. Lastly, be humble and respect your co-workers and clients. The work environment is healthy if there is mutual respect.
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