'Read more, be updated with evolving times & focus on building media relations'
Sonam Shah, Founder and CEO, Treize Communications speaks about the attributes of a leader, role of women in restructuring the industry, her future goals and more
At the e4m Women Achievers Awards 2020, trailblazing women leaders from the PR and corp comm industry were felicitated for their contributions to the industry. Among them was Sonam Shah, Founder and CEO, Treize Communications. Shah is a young entrepreneur who believes effective and timely communication is the key to good leadership.
Starting relatively young in the industry, Shah has successfully completed a decade and has brought many groundbreaking ideas and campaigns to fruition. She speaks to e4m on being chosen as the “Emerging Leader in PR”, attributes of a leader, role of women in restructuring the industry, her future goals and more.
How do you feel being the winner of the Women Achievers initiative?
It feels good. It is also humbling to be recognised with other women achievers of the PR and Corp Comm community. This is a niche, though fast-growing community within our marketing and advertising industry and was simply great to see everyone together at the online event.
I, once again, would like to thank the entire team at e4m and the jury for this recognition. This year has bought along with it a great uphaul of events that are challenging and has impacted our industry as well, but it is moments like these that keep us going and motivate us to stay afloat.
What are the attributes/ qualities required to be a leader in the communication industry?
Effective and timely communication, both with the internal team as well as clients is important. Keeping abreast of industry updates, focusing on long term strategy and outcomes, and having a sense of alertness are some of the basic qualities needed to stay a step forward in the communication industry.
What role have women played in the restructuring of the industry and how has the communications industry changed over the years for the female workforce?
The last decade has seen the PR and Communications industry evolve massively and women have played an integral role in it. Be it journalists, PR managers, consultants, and agency owners, women have contributed across all levels which have helped shaped the industry. We have seen a lot of PR Firms come up and grow, which are helmed by women, and that is a very good sign.
Communications and PR Strategy has evolved massively in the last decade. From just focusing on press release dissemination and events, PR is now more strategically driven and goal-oriented. And in this evolution, it is not just the PR practitioners but also the media fraternity which has played a vital role.
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?
Today women are present in every sector and field, holding decision making positions. The world today does not need to know why women leaders are essential but try and accept, along with making it easy for women. Women need to be given more opportunities, at the same scale as men so that there can be more women in leadership and decision-making capacity. I think women in India are still not getting a fair chance to showcase themselves, and this needs to be addressed.
Women, in general, bring in empathy and have soft skills which are vital for any organisational growth, and especially in PR and Corp Comm, where maintaining media relations holds more than 80% of weightage. Multi-tasking is yet another thing, which women can do with ease, and these collectively are important factors in leadership, which women bring on the table.
What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry/society?
Continue doing what I am doing right now with more dedication and perseverance. I think that is how I would sum my goal for the near future. We are living in challenging times, where every day is a new day, so it is best to take each day as it comes.
As a women leader, I would like to build more awareness around the challenges women face, especially now, while working from home. Build trust and confidence in women at an individual level saying that whatever they are doing is perfect and completely worth it, do not look for outside validation and never give up on their dreams and ambitions. The young generation today is supremely talented, ambitious, and want to bring in a change in society, and gender should not be a barrier for them.
How do you see the PR and the Corp Comm industry shaping up in the years to come and what is your message to the future women leaders?
The PR and Corp Comm industry is going to grow massively in the coming years in India. Brands and clients have just started to realise the importance of PR and the value it can bring for them. Saying this, while the market opportunity looks positive, the budgets are very minuscule currently, since ROI is not easily measured in earned media. We need to collectively address this and hope that it changes too with time.
My message to the future women leaders in our industry will be to read more, be updated with evolving times, focus on building media relations, and learn how to maintain them in challenging times. And lastly, never stop believing in yourself. Be the best version of yourself so that people around you look up too.
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