We need to create conducive environment for women at senior leadership levels: Ruby Sinha

Ruby Sinha, Founder & Managing Director, Kommune Brand Communications, shares her views on gender inclusivity in the PR industry, the role of men in the corporate world, pay gaps and more

e4m by Nafisa Shaheen
Updated: Mar 24, 2020 5:44 PM
Ruby Sinha

An entrepreneur by chance, Ruby Sinha is one of the few female entrepreneurs in the field of PR and communications in the country. With an experience of more than two decades, Sinha has worked tirelessly with a team of working mothers to empower women in this field. Women entrepreneurs across the globe have a new online address, sheatwork.com, a one-stop knowledge hub for any woman aspiring to be an entrepreneur or any woman entrepreneur aiming to move up to the next level in her entrepreneurship venture, Sheatwork. It aims to be a mentor and guide for women from both urban and rural areas- to help them make their entrepreneurial dream a reality.

In today’s edition of Women’s Achiever’s Series, Ruby Sinha, Founder and Managing Director, Kommune Brand Communications shares her views on gender inclusivity in the PR industry, the role of men in the corporate world, pay gaps and more.

Edited Excerpts:-

You are one of the few female entrepreneurs in the PR industry. How has the journey been as an entrepreneur? What are your key learnings?

An entrepreneurial journey is like a roller coaster ride with lots of ups and downs full of thrills. It is your self-belief, grit and passion which will help you sustain the ride and not get intimidated by adverse situations. I am more of an accidental entrepreneur learning from my mistakes along the way. After becoming an entrepreneur, I realised the challenges most entrepreneurs especially women face in their entrepreneurship journey. This motivated me to launch sheatwork.com, a one-stop knowledge portal for women entrepreneurs.  One of my key learnings as an entrepreneur is to be clear-headed and have a business plan in place right from the beginning. Also, most women come into entrepreneurship especially in our industry thinking it is a good part-time option but believe me one cannot achieve any amount of entrepreneurial success by investing a few hours every week especially in a profession like ours where there is so much of constant learning required besides client, media and team interface.

Have you faced any kind of gender bias in your career? Any anecdote that you would want to share with us?

I have not really faced gender bias during my career. Ours is a profession where women are given their due respect. But I sometimes do feel that clients try to negotiate harder with a woman entrepreneur but then again that is my individual perception and maybe we as women need to become tough negotiators.

How supportive are the men in your personal and professional life?

Kommune started with a group of work-from-home mothers but I have got a lot of support from my spouse, male friends, colleagues and clients. In fact, it was a former male client who motivated me to be an entrepreneur while I was on a temporary sabbatical and my husband has been constant support though we come from two totally different professional fields. As an entrepreneur, you need to work towards creating a supportive eco-system around you to survive the journey.

How inclusive is the PR industry?

Compared to other industries, our industry is very inclusive, especially at the junior and middle management level. But there are few women at the senior management level, especially in PR firms. We need to create a more conducive environment so that more and more women do not drop out midway or move to corporate communications roles as soon as they have some professional experience.

Is the PR industry also under the pay gap syndrome? If yes, why is it so?

A lot depends on the margins also, especially in agencies. Clients are demanding more day by day within the same or lesser budgets, resource costs are increasing and hence wages get affected irrespective of any gender discrimination.

How do you keep women motivated at your workplace? How is the environment for working mothers?

Kommune started off with a focus on women, especially moms on sabbatical. Incidentally, we also started off with a crèche in our office initially to encourage more such women to come out and work! Today our employees are a fair mix of professionals of both sexes. We offer an environment of safety, inclusiveness and trust to our women employees and try to create a close-knit group of people who are empathetic towards each other. There are the mandatory facilities like work from home etc but being women ourselves we understand if another woman especially a working mother has a genuine issue with a child at home and are flexible enough in our approach as long as there is enough accountability and sense of responsibility.

What is the major challenge to women leadership in the PR industry?

Managing work and family, lack of mentorship and enough role models at the top are a challenge for women leadership in the industry. Women who take a maternity break or sabbatical need to stay up-to-date on industry trends and maintain contact with their networks to ensure a smooth comeback. Women leaders also need to be prepared to take more risks and be self-confident about being able to handle the outcome.

What is the message you would want to give to young, aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is not easy. Don’t become an entrepreneur because your friend is one but because you believe in it and then work really hard to achieve your goal.  Also, you have to decide on your self-employment goals. If you’re just interested in earning some extra money on the side or just working from home, freelancing is perfect for you. As an Entrepreneur, on the other hand, your focus is more on growing and managing a scalable enterprise.

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