Mindset is the biggest hurdle for female leadership: Arneeta Vasudeva,Ogilvy

Arneeta Vasudev, Senior Vice President & Capability Head PR & Influence, Ogilvy India, shares her thoughts on women leadership in the industry and how it leverages women in this dynamic space.

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Nov 27, 2019 5:50 PM

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Arneeta Vasudeva

Arneeta Vasudev, Senior Vice President & Capability Head PR & Influence, Ogilvy India, heads the influence & PR Capability in India for Ogilvy. She leads the role of driving business strategy, growth and development plan for the agency and steer large-sized global mandates. With close to two decades in marketing communications, combining agencies and corporate roles, Vasudev has worked in a 360-degree environment and led multi-stakeholder and integrated campaigns in India and the ASEAN region.

She is driving the nationwide influencer outreach programme, promoting use of DNA Forensics to solve crime with the aim to bring in a social transformation through DNAFightsRape-Save the Evidence initiative.

In a candid conversation with exchange4media, Vasudeva spoke about women leadership in the communication industry, their importance and the changing communication landscape.

Edited Excerpts:

How has been your journey in the industry?
My journey in the field of communications of over two decades has been really dynamic and a great learning experience. I started my career working in a corporate role and later moved to the agency side.

I have worked across sectors and this communication field is a really dynamic space to work in. This is an ever-changing space with everyday posing a new challenge. I really enjoy working in this field.

How has Ogilvy been able to curate a niche market for themselves over the years?
Creativity is the backbone of Ogilvy. It is central to our design and function and that’s what differentiates us. Our solutions are idea-led and channel agnostic. We stand for a truly integrated structure in communications with the best of industry talent. We make brands matter.

How significant has digital become these days and how important is the amalgamation of traditional and digital media in today’s times?
Digital communications and digital outreach has gained a lot of significance. The dissemination of news and content at large has become far easier, faster and real time. It also proves to be a more cost effective mechanism. The trend maps directly with our lifestyle and worklife in general where the use of all the gizmos and gadgets are now literally indispensable. That said, in a country like ours where we cannot dispense with the importance of traditional platforms yet, a large chunk of our population still heavily relies on the print mediums. Old habits die hard, and a lot of people continue to enjoy the experience of reading a newspaper versus epapers and news links. The integration of online and offline has to happen, and is already happening. They are both complimenting to each other.

How does it feel to be on the other side of the table and how is the scenario for women leaders in the industry?
It feels absolutely great to be here. Women in our industry are very dynamic, high energy and very high impact. We are quite unstoppable and the industry scenario looks very positive to me.

What are some strategies you have learned that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?
There’s only one way of growing and achieving desired milestones, and that is by way of proving competence and performance in the work space. In a highly competitive environment, it is as true for women, as it is for men. Nothing changes there, but I think constant effort towards upgrading knowledge and learning is a definite function of success. Irrespective of the number of years and experience one may have, there’s so much out there evolving, that it is important to go grab before you go obsolete and redundant.

What was our organizational culture like 10 years ago for women and working mothers? Do you feel the company makes annual efforts towards improving the culture for this cohort?
Organisations today are certainly more evolved than what they were, maybe a decade ago. The work environment and culture is getting better and more conducive for working mothers and women at large, I feel. Almost, everyone sees this to be important in the current scheme of things where women are equally performing a substantial role in driving the business. And just like any other person in the organisation a working mother needs that flexibility and room to perform better, at the same time live up to responsibilities on the personal side. For example, increasingly, we notice organsiations have introduced the creche culture as part of its work space, making life smoother for working mothers with little kids. This definitely speaks a lot about the change over the years.

What has been the growth spectrum for Ogilvy over the years?
I view growth at two levels, one in terms of brand evolution, the other being business performance. And people are integral to driving both. Our lineage and brand stewardship stands as tall as always, and it continues to build the fort with the best of leadership, across the globe. There is a lot of upward movement and in that sense I have witnessed in the last three years. We are now a fully integrated machinery, ‘One Ogilvy’. Within that the prominence of Public Relations and Influence domain is catching up and deepening its impact with the drive for ‘earned influence’. This is bound to power up business performance.

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
The biggest barrier is the mindset. The question in itself poses a gender bias, and I strongly feel that we should stop distinguishing the women leadership. As I said earlier, it is all about competence and performance, and the pace you keep up within this dynamic world.

What are your 5-year-growth plans?
As I see it, my growth path clearly aligns to my organisation’s growth plans.

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