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Ad Land’s Young Guns: Devika Shreyams Kumar, VP – Ops, Mathrubhumi Group

Devika Shreyams Kumar is Vice President - Operations at Mathrubhumi Group.  Her key responsibilities is to aid and assist in various operations of the company and work closely with all corporate heads – viz., Circulation, Response, Production, IT, Commercial, Finance, HR, Club FM, Public Relations, Brand Communications, Digital, Mathrubhumi News Television Channel and Mathrubhumi Books to ensure timely implementation of strategic decisions and to drive continuous improvements.

In conversation with Adgully, Devika Shreyams Kumar, Vice President - Operations, Mathrubhumi Group, speaks about her journey with Mathrubhumi, bringing fresh perspectives to the group, icons whom she looks up to, and more.

What particular skill sets do you think you bring to the table?

What I lack in terms of experience, I make up for in terms of fresh perspectives, which, I feel, benefits my objectives for the company as this perspective is more aligned with the current and upcoming generations who will be the target audience.

While the industry is becoming more digital, I see being the youngest as an advantage. I understand the digital ecosystem and can resonate with it. I am very open to building on new ideas and possibilities. Being part of a legacy organisation like Mathrubhumi gives me the opportunity to work with different generations. “You should have a fire in your belly,” my father constantly says, and being the youngest, I have the drive and fire to accomplish big things for the company.

How did you join your current organisation?

Mathrubhumi has always been a part of my life. From when I can remember, I have seen my grandfather be a part of it and now my father. As a child I was fascinated by the art of media and how people depend on such media houses to provide them with the information they need to know in order to succeed. I was involved with the affairs of Mathrubhumi since I was a child and kept going deeper into the organisation as I grew older.

Icons in this field whom you look up to and how they have influenced you and your work?

My biggest and most obvious inspiration would be my grandfather, MP Veerendra Kumar. He was the Chairman and Managing Director of Mathrubhumi for about 40 years. Throughout my life, I have seen him juggle politics and media. He was a true inspiration to many, he carried the company for years, which I’ve seen up close. He was someone who cared immensely for each and every one of his employees. The kind of loyalty and love people have for the company is very unique in today’s day and age. His work ethic and values like integrity, empathy have had a great influence on me and the way I work. If I could be even half the person he was, it would be a great achievement. I was always captivated by the power of media. In today’s day and age, when every incident can be made news, he taught me the importance of encouraging the truth and shining light on what’s important for sustainable growth.

What are the five most productive things that you do in your everyday routine?

  • Workouts – I prefer working out in the morning to boost energy. I like to work out consistently not only to stay physically fit, but it helps in keeping my mind sharp.
  • Scheduling – Accurate calendars to optimise my time
  • Stay up-to-date with industry trends
  • Networking – Constant communication and updates
  • Work life balance – I try my best not to work post 8 pm. It is important to take time for yourself and prepare for the next day.

Do you think a career in this field is a viable one in the long term?

People are going to consume information no matter what age we live in, just the means and methods change. I feel the necessary tools can always be acquired, we need to focus on effective and relevant information as this will never go out of demand. So, if one is passionate and ready to learn, a career in this field would be amazing.

What does it take to succeed in a career?

Sheer will and determination. The courage to take calculated risks and explore the unknown! Be open-minded and inclusive. Be focused and have patience.

What would be your advice to youngsters planning to enter this industry?

Youngsters need to be driven by curiosity and versatility. As this is an ever changing industry, we need to be ready to modify our skill sets and adapt to the environment we are put in and excel. Have the courage to believe and act on ideas, which you genuinely believe will help the individual and the organisation grow. Also, opportunities are plenty and around the corner. It requires the ability to catch hold of these opportunities, take initiative!

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

As we operate in a very unpredictable environment, I feel this question would not receive a justifiable answer. My goals are based on the end vision I have for the organisation and change my approach as and when it is required.

Is there any organisation that you would like to work with in the future?

I joined this brand for a reason. I intend to stay and ensure that Mathrubhumi reaches greater heights and upholds its values.


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