Women Power: Anita Kotwani

As the International Women’s Day approaches, catches up with some of the leading ladies in the media business to discuss the role of women in the current scenario. Mindshare’s Anita Kotwani shares her views on how it is to function in the media industry as a woman. With 16 years of experience in media planning, business development, marketing, media management, product promotions and team building, Kotwani is currently principal partner, client leadership at GroupM’s Mindshare.

Q: How has the business of media changed in the last decade?

A: It has been an enriching and rewarding experience through the years as the backroom media function of the erstwhile years has come to the forefront with the media agency getting an equal stake as compared to the creative agency in front of the clients.

Q: How conducive is the environment for women to thrive in the media business today?

A: This is one industry where we have seen women standing up at par with their male counterparts and in many cases are the ones leading the businesses. Recognition of the value that they bring to the business has been seen across the board and their efforts have been rewarded and recognised.

Q: What are the major challenges women face today in the media business?

A: The foremost challenge is to keep pace with the changing environment. Recognising the importance of new and emerging media, newer technologies will be critical going forward. Ensuring that we start the process of training on these mediums from the seniors would be important as otherwise you will have the younger lot being a lot savvier on the newer environments than yourselves.

Another aspect that is challenging is respecting one as a senior. As a boss you need to ensure that you add value to your employees or the staff reporting to you. The respect that you gain from them when you are able to direct, guide, motivate or delegate as per the skill / will framework is an integral part for their development. In their success lies yours and you need to ensure that you carve out their growth trajectory in the organisation.

Q: What changes would you like to see in the work environment to make it a better and more conducive place for women?

A: The constant struggle that I do see for our industry is the work-life balance that is so hard to maintain. And for women with families and children to take care of, coping with both home and work is a challenge. I would really like to see flexible hours for women so that they can balance out their family and work life. As long as they are able to deliver on the work load, giving them the flexibility to work as per their convenience would help women to continue working rather than taking the necessary sabbatical that many do once they have kids to manage.

Q: What advice would you give to the young girls entering the business of media today?

A: For a person from a law background coming into this industry accidentally, I would really like to state that this industry grows on you. It is challenging and fun, yes stressful as well, but the satisfaction of making a difference and helping brands grow is another high. To add to that, the recognition and accolades that you draw for some path breaking work you have done on brands challenges you time and again to raise the bar on the businesses one handles.

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