'There is still a long way to go for adequate representation of women in the industry'

Kaul, Executive Director, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, shared her thoughts about leadership, the role of women in the restructuring of industry, her future goals and more

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Aug 24, 2020 4:22 PM
kalpana kaul

The e4m PR and Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards has been established to acknowledge distinguished female leadership in the industry. One of the leaders, Kalpana Kaul, Executive Director, Corporate Communications and Public Relations, has been awarded the “Mentor Of the Year in the Corp Comm”. As part of our daily feature with our winners, Kaul spoke to e4m on her win, her thoughts about leadership, the role of women in the restructuring of industry, her future goals and more.

Edited Excerpts:-

How do you feel being the winner of the Women Achievers initiative?

First, I would like to applaud exchange4media for successfully holding the awards to recognise the achievements of women in the field of communications and PR. I am humbled and honoured to be named the mentor of the year for Corporate Communications. I’d attribute this award to all those who have been mentors and guides to me during my 30 years of experience as also to all those who have accepted me as their mentor because learning is a two-way process. 

What are the attributes/ qualities required to be a leader in the communication industry?

The most challenging as well as the rewarding aspect of the communications industry is the fact that you have to be very certain and meticulous about the communication that is sent out from your company. This is especially important in the public sector since you do not just represent your company, but also the government. You will always be in the public eye where there’s a lot of scrutiny and the ramifications of that can be severe. So, meticulousness is definitely one thing which makes communication a challenging yet exciting industry.

The other quality that one should have is continuous learning. Since the communications industry changes and evolves rapidly in terms of the society, the modes of communication and the technology, amongst other things, communications personnel must absorb new information and techniques like a sponge. In this industry, you might have decades of experience but there is always something new to learn.

What role have women played in the restructuring of the industry and How has the communications industry changed over the years for the women workforce?

Women have always played an important role in the communications industry. With time, we see even more participation from women which has been possible with the society progressing as a whole, as well as, with the increasing need for gender diversity in the organisations. With more women in leadership roles today, the needs of women employees are understood and catered to better in the communication industry as much as in several other spheres. Moreover, with the democratisation of discourse through social media, more women are speaking up and putting ahead their thoughts in the public domain. Therefore, there are more and more women influencers and public figures emerging today. Hence, to engage with an increasing percentage of women consumers and influencers, it is indispensable for organisations to have a gender-inclusive and sensitive culture at work. All of these changes have also led to greater acceptance of ambition and assertiveness in women in society.  That said, there is still a long way to go for adequate representation of women in the industry and to accept them in all of their roles and responsibilities, beyond the stereotypes. 

Why do we need to have more leaders at the helm of organizations in today's scenario and what value women bring to the table?

Diversity and inclusion at all ranks in an organisation are key to creating a healthy environment which provides the necessary platform for the employees to grow as professionals. When there’s diversity and people from different cultures and backgrounds join the organisation, there is cross-pollination of culture. People bring with them different worldviews, different ideas and perspectives to the table. This is essential for an organisation’s holistic growth, as also to maintain a good culture.

Since women are increasingly contributing to the socio-economic growth of the nation, it is only logical to include women in decision-making roles in the organisations to eliminate gender bias and make the work environment more conducive to the growth of women employees. Representation of women in organisations needs to match the representation of women in the total population which will, in turn, encourage more women to join the workforce and to break the glass ceiling.

What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry/society?

As I gather experience and knowledge through the years, I feel the urge and the responsibility to pass it on. I’d like to play an active role in knowledge transfer.

I believe the essence of what people need and how they interact and form relationships has been more or less the same from time immemorial. Only the modes and the tools may change. Therefore, while there are already resources about adapting and evolving with technological changes, I’d like to focus on the human aspect of communications. Through over three decades, I have learnt how people behave, what sort of communication they need in various situations and what motivates them to take certain actions. I have especially worked on communication strategies targeted at benefitting the citizens of the country in our towns and villages. I would like to transfer all that I have learnt from my campaigns and experiences with the younger generation, especially with those working in the public sector.

 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.

With rapid changes in technology, its access and the information consumption pattern, I believe, the PR and corporate communications industry is one of the fastest evolving industries. Overall, I see the industry embracing a younger, dynamic, diverse and inclusive set of people.

My message to the future women leaders is to support new and upcoming women leaders. Having lacked rights, opportunities and benefits for several centuries, it is time that women encourage each other, push each other forward and create more opportunities for women.

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