The PR industry gives equal opportunities to men and women: Akshaara Lalwani
Lalwani, Founder & CEO of Communicate India, speaks to us about female entrepreneurship, gender equality at the workplace and methods to keep women motivated
Akshaara Lalwani, Founder & CEO of Communicate India who has always been known for breaking stereotypes, started her career in banking but soon realised that communications were her calling. At age 23, she started Communicate India with a single client. Today, Lalwani's agency is a hub for innovative ideas and high-quality results. Headquartered in Mumbai and present in New Delhi and Bangalore, the business has grown leaps and bounds.
Communicate India now in its 9th year has serviced over 300 brands like Thomas Cook, VU Television, Mindshare, Fitternity, Nuvoco Vistas Corp Ltd to name a few and has over 120 people, multi-location offices, and international alliances in the UK, MENA and SEA regions- fully independent and owned. Lalwani has also developed five new business verticals and continues to consistently grow the business by over 50 per cent, year on year.
Lalwani has established a 90:10 gender ratio at Communicate India, with women constituting 90% of the workforce. In today’s edition of our Women Achiever’s series, Akshaara Lalwani talks to us about female entrepreneurship, gender equality at the workplace, methods to keep women motivated and more.
What is your view on women's leadership in the male-dominated industries across the domains? How is the PR industry different in this regard?
I have always been a firm believer in gender equality. I do believe that there should be equal opportunities for a man or a woman. The most appropriate person should be given the job irrespective of gender. The corporate world has started to exhibit changes in their notion of male-dominance. The change is slowly and steadily coming. We are seeing more women leaders in the corporate industry now.
Talking about the PR industry, I think it is blessed to have more women in the industry. The inherent qualities present in women are complementary to the PR industry.
What are the prerequisites for a woman entrepreneur to become successful?
Irrespective of gender, the pre-requisites required to be a successful entrepreneur is to have a clear vision, be passionate, confident, work extremely hard, believe in yourself to achieve the goal. If encountered with failure at any time in life then try to accept it and work tirelessly to fulfil your dreams.
What is the outlook of the PR industry in terms of the gender gap at the organization? Have there been instances of you facing any kind of bias in the past?
The PR industry is extremely inclusive in nature. It is a completely talent-driven industry which gives equal opportunities to men and women on the basis of work, knowledge and experience.
During my initial days, I would admit that there were instances of gender biases. My presence was refused to be acknowledged at times. Gender not being the only factor but less age was also among the factors.
Is there a pay gap in the industry? If yes, why is it so?
I would like to look inwards rather than outwards for answering the question. At Communicate India, it is talent, competence and capability that matters when it comes to giving financial compensation to the employees. Gender has no role to play.
What are the ways to motivate women employees at work?
According to me, there can be numerous ways to keep women motivated to work. The recommended ways could be giving fair compensation, the culture of merit first at the workplace and giving women leadership roles.
At Communicate India with 90% workforce being women, we have kept young women in leadership roles which are an important step in bringing young women leaders at the forefront of decision making.
\What are the major challenges to woman leadership?
Mindset is the major challenge to woman leadership in today’s time. Women need to feel that they are equal and do not require to justify themselves.
What is your message to young, aspiring woman entrepreneurs in the PR industry?
- Take the plunge
- Follow your dream
- Never look back
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