'We should endeavour to communicate with honesty, transparency & consistency'
C Leekha, Director – Corp Comm & Brand Reputation, Indigo, shares her thoughts about women restructuring the industry, the need for more female leaders, her future goals and more
There's no denying that women ace the art of communication. The fact that 67% of the PR and communications industry is comprised of women bears testimony. To acknowledge this fact and to recognise and reward female leadership in the communications space, e4m recently held the PR and Corp Comm Women Achievers Awards. Female leaders from different organizations and sectors were acknowledged for their perseverance and communication skills. Among the winners was C Leekha, Director – Corporate Communications & Brand Reputation, Indigo as ‘Communicator of the Year in Corp Comm’ winner. As part of our daily feature ,today we speak to her on her win, her thoughts about women restructuring the industry, the need for more female leaders, her future goals and more.
How do you feel being the winner of the Women Achievers initiative?
I am extremely thankful, humbled and at the same time thrilled to receive this honour. Winning an award amidst this hard-hitting situation is indeed a different kind of a victory and self-achievement for me which makes me feel empowered and in fact motivates me to do more for my people, IndiGo and the communications industry. I believe that this winning is a result of cumulative efforts that I have been able to leverage throughout my career with great teams and adroit people around me. I would also like to congratulate Exchange4Media for this great initiative which provides a platform to all the emerging women in this fast-paced industry and also recognises them for their contribution.
What are the attributes/ qualities required to be a leader in the communication industry?
A communicator should have different traits and qualities to become an effective leader. And when I see what’s happening around us, empathy is foremost. Moreover, I believe that the qualities in a good leader should also encourage the trust and integrity of the team as well as the brand. Strategic communication and Integrity, both in task delivery and interactions are the most important qualities in a good leader specially in the communication industry.
It is very important for a communicator to analyse, interpret and communicate in the most authoritative manner. As communicators, the onus lies on us as to how the brand will be perceived across all stakeholders. Moreover, I believe integrity is also one of the most important qualities in a good leader where he/she should understand the need of being honest and transparent to build the brand reputation. We cannot sell delusions, as at the end, we need to maintain the integrity of our brand to connect and win hearts of all our audiences. As leaders in the communication industry, it should always be our endeavour to communicate with honesty, transparency, and consistency.
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?
The communication industry is largely dominated by women across the globe. So, that’s delightful. In fact, as per a report by International Association of Business Communications, there are around 67% women working in the PR and communications industry. This motivates me as I can see that women have been doing stupendous job in this field which has evolved so much over the years with their continuous assiduousness and contribution. Today, there are so many big brands and even emerging start-ups where women are leading the role of communicator and representing the brand with different narratives to the world. This certainly implies to the fact that women have immensely contributed towards shaping this industry and will continue to play a major role in influencing the same in the years to come. The industry has in fact enhanced their career paths and has enabled them to explore beyond their strengths and capabilities.
In addition, over the years, I believe that the industry has become more open, equal and evolved with the time which has sharply lessened the gender gap at the C Suite level, encouraging women to take up more leadership roles.
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?
Owing to the current scenario and an ever-evolving world, communication tends to play a bigger role where we need to stay agile and connected. With the help of proper communication strategy in place, we are able to manage the brand and its communication effectively. Leadership brings authoritativeness and credibility to the brand and women have the ability to manage communication with the most sympathetic and emotionally sane manner. We are not surprised to see the talented women standing as leaders in the industry. A refined communication needs empathy, good communication skills, flow of instructions, flexibility, resilience, multitasking and creativity which are somehow inherent to women. Besides, women are known for their engaging and relationship building skills which helps in maintaining strong bond with all and shareholders at large.
What are your future goals? What initiative would you like to take as a responsible woman leader for the industry/society?
If I had been asked this question 6 months ago, I would have told that possibly I want to be the seen as a respected leader in a reputed Fortune 500 firm with a seat at the table. And that goal and vision stays very much.
But there is an addendum to this aspiration. Ever since this pandemic has taken place, the world now needs more empathy, emotional connect and compassion. I would now want to work as the drive communications for the brand, that’s ‘purpose led’, one that impacts and enriches human lives and bring a positive impact not just on the business, but our society as a whole.
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?
A world which is evolving so fast, PR and communication has indeed become an imperative part for all the brands. With this, I see the industry to grow by leaps and bounds in the years to come. In fact, the comms team will now have larger roles to play with integrated marketing being at the centre of the organisations. And like I said, communications, going forward will need to have a larger purpose. It will be a lot more about authenticity. Moreover, with evolved tools and innovative technology coming into play, communication will become progressively complex and enhanced. Digital will take a giant leap and hence it will be important for teams to stay updated and shape their storytelling process accordingly in order to advise the brands efficiently.
My message to all the future women leaders is to always stay strong, focussed and believe in themselves, and voila! You will conquer the world.
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