Self-belief and passion differentiate a leader from the pack: Pooja Garg Khan

In today’s edition of ‘Women Achievers 2022’ series, Khan, Head Corporate Communications, Panasonic India, speaks on how right mentoring can help one become an effective leader

e4m by Shrabasti Mallik
Published: Mar 11, 2022 12:21 PM  | 4 min read
Pooja Garg Khan

Celebrating the contributions of women in the PR sector, exchange4media PR & Corp Comm is running a 'Women Achievers Series'. It will feature the journey, success and achievements of some of the top women leaders from the Public Relations and Corporate Communications fraternity.

Today’s series features Pooja Garg Khan, Head Corporate Communications, Panasonic India, a communications specialist with over 20 years of experience in Corporate Communications, Public Relations, Government Relations and CSR. During the course of her career, she has worked across sectors like BFSI, FMCG, IT and Lifestyle. In addition, she also possesses a good understanding of brand building and the role of communications.

Excerpts from the interview:

Now that the industry is opening up workplaces and resuming operations from the office, what are the initiatives, measures and precautions that should be adapted/ taken to ensure a smooth transition?

With employee safety as the primary goal during the third wave of Covid, we continued operations with a limited percentage of employees in the office and gradually scaled up to 100 percent with all safety protocols in place. As we have manufacturing plants across India and a large sales force, we did not really have an option to shut down completely. Summer season is around the corner and we had to keep our appliances and electrical factory operational to manage the supply chain for air conditioners, refrigerators and some other products. However, we have made exceptions for expecting and young mothers to continue working from home. A couple of initiatives that have helped us ensure employee safety in these times:

  • All employees are double vaccinated and eligible lot is getting the booster shots
  • Regular temperature and health checkups when attending office
  • We continue to maintain social distancing in office with all meeting rooms converted into workstations, encourage wearing of masks and ensure regular sanitisation of the premises
  • Employees are encouraged to use virtual platforms for meetings and avoid travel as much as possible

    The last 20 months have been trying for every professional, especially with the hybrid working model. How did you strike a balance between office work and household duties?

    It has not been an easy time. Adapting to a digital environment, balancing work with the support system ruptured was tough. What got me through this was maintaining a strict routine and not giving in to negativity. Even when I had to work from home, I would maintain the sanctity of office and home by balancing tasks. I count myself lucky to have a supportive spouse and wonderful colleagues at Panasonic who helped me sail through the last 20 months. Practicing yoga and meditation was therapeutic.

    Women have been carving a niche for themselves and paving the way in the communications industry for the next generation of women leaders to follow. Tell us about your achievements and your contribution to the fraternity.

    Its been an exciting two decades for me in communications. From being mentored to becoming a mentor, from listening to inspirational speakers to becoming one, from being part of a team to leading one, from being trained to training its been quite a journey. In my opinion, even if I have touched the lives of a few women positively and inspired them to dream big, I consider my job done. In my personal capacity, I hope to keep learning and unlearning as I move ahead.

    What are the roadblocks that you have had to overcome to reach where you are today? What, according to you, are the makings of a leader?

    I believe I have been extremely lucky with managers who understood my potential and supported my aspirations. I must have been in my twenties when I got the opportunity to lead the communications and CSR functions for a prestigious brand like Aviva. There were challenges that came with being a young leader but with the right mentoring and training, I navigated through the same and this was my stepping-stone leading me to where I am today.

    In my opinion, leaders are not necessarily born but made along the way. A quality that differentiates the leader from the pack is self-belief and the passion to make a difference.

    What would be your advice to the young generation?

    Dream big! Believe in yourself.

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