Bhawana Anand, New Delhi
As they rightly said, “A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her”. Indeed, in this male-dominated industry like OOH which still has more than 99% men at the top rung, there are few women who have outshined their career path boldly yet beautifully. This International Women’s Day, Allaboutoutdoor.com conversed with women from different tables of business who deals with OOH industry quite closely including Clients, Agency & Media Owners.
Brand Lady - Bold & Bossy
When a lady is holding an authoritative position, especially on the business side of the table, then indeed she doesn’t only handle the male chauvinism but also get her job done gracefully. As Kiran Jain, Commercial Director, Air Asia India said, “To be honest I don’t see “male” in the OOH space. I see an opportunity to accentuate my brand and because the brand matters to me the most, I will also negotiate for the benefit of the brand, male or female”.
Echoed on the same note, Media Manager, Marketing of Ginoee Mobile, Suman Negi shared, “We are the clients and we have to interact with the other counter parts to achieve our business goals. When it comes to attaining business objectives then it hardly matters that who is sitting on the other side of the table- men or women. However, I believe that there is no male dominance exist as such in OOH, at least I have not come across any. It’s because Indian society, not entirely, but somewhere accepted the women as working professionals and this culture where women are heading the positions”.
Indeed there are some confrontations arrive while dealing with OOH men but as Kiran quoted it as purely professional. “The confrontation can only exist if I let the OOH culture supersede what I believe is right as per my organization. Given my experience, I understand the art of negotiation and therefore, can handle it quite well. I don’t see it is about the brand – it is more about the moment and the opportunity – and I am sure each one of us is charged with the same agenda – to do what is right by the organizations we represent”.
While Kiran certainly believes that with more women handling OOH business will improve the industry’s outlook overall, as she articulated, “The involvement of females at the top rung of any organization improves the organization – it is a proven fact. Intelligent sensitivity, inclusiveness and social responsibility naturally weave into the fabric of the organization”.
Agency Girls - Rough & Tough
While dealing with the agency girls, they make one thing very clear that they are the real boss and they know their job very well in spite which position they are onto. Lot many agency females have not only handled the hard nature of the business but also survived through the highs & lows of the industry and written their career biography with golden letters. First in the list is indeed the super lady Manpreet Kaur, AVP, The Social Street who has been part of this industry for a decade and being called ‘The Woman in the Mens’ World’ by her clients. “I have been part of this industry from pretty long now and to be honest, I am lucky that I haven’t faced any male dominance. I have been part of several teams where I have been given a meaningful status”, said she.
While asked to decode her magic powers to get the work done, she proudly explained, “Being in the OOH industry, we have to deal with people from all walks to life, whether it is from vendor side or brand’s side, I think women have this charm of being polite which helps them and this has definitely helped me as well. I handle my work with calmness and always regard the other person. Moreover, all kinds of business are two-way driven so it is a vice-versa thing”.
It is in their blood as another agency lady Deepa Gupta Mago, Deputy General Manager, (West Head), MOMS proudly said, “Women are problem solver by nature and we are in the business of providing solutions to our clients which makes a perfect combination for us (women) to handle anything without any reluctance. I feel it is only the hard work that matters. Being a women doesn’t make you less important than a man. It is the work which speaks for itself. Instead of harping on the gender differences I feel we should encourage women to lead with their strengths and work along with men. It is important to appreciate the hard work each one has put in regardless of the gender at the workplace and create better & stronger organization”.
“I am always on my toes, like any man would be, even better. I believe a woman is a tad more dedicated to her work, and that is not because we are a better species, but that is how we are created, the hormones for nurturing is applicable at work too. We take an account to be our own and are always worried about the direction or phases it is going through. We tend to get obsessed which is good for a brand”, said Abira Deb, Senior Account Manager, MOMS.
Media Owner Lady - Entrepreneur & Exotic
While talking about the Women & the OOH industry, one example that stands with high regards is of Alakh Advertising. The media owning firm started by a lady then instead of handed over to her sons, actually made two daughter-in-law the bosses- Neeta & Geetika. Over the decades, both OOH ladies have kept their business & personal standards quite high.
As per Neeta Gulati, Director, Alakh Advertising & Publicity, this industry needs both genders unbiasedness. “Over the years, God has been gracious that being women, we have been able to pull off this business very well. And the credit goes to the men around me which includes my husband, my business associated and surely my men employees. They have been my determination to survive in this male-cum-OOH industry. I think men & women should complement each other to execute any kind of work including OOH. Wherein male chauvinism is concerned, it has been there in the past, still exist in bits and will be there in after 100 years. So instead of cribbing over it, I think women should learn to caper it.”