In times of crisis, it is women’s inherent instinct to find solutions: Smita Shah

We, at Adgully, have always saluted and honoured women managers and leaders across diverse fields. W-SUITE is a special initiative from Adgully that has been turning the spotlight on some of the most remarkable women achievers in M&E, Advertising & Marketing, PR & Communication industry. In the refurbished series, we seek to find out how women leaders have been managing their teams and work as well as how they have been navigating through the toughest and most challenging times brought about by the global pandemic.

Smita Shah is the Co-Producer and Founder at WOOT Factor Events, a full-service events & marketing agency that has its expertise in the verticals of Corporate Events, Brand/ Product launches, MICE & RNRs, BTL and Creatives & Designing. In conversation with Adgully, Smita Shah, Co-founder, Woot Factor Events, speaks about how remote working has turned out to be a boon for women professionals, what makes women so efficient in problem solving, the lessons that she learned as a woman leader and more.

How do you think the role and scope of women leaders have widened in the post-pandemic world?

The pandemic forced almost every organisation to switch to a work-from-home model. Remote working emerged as a boon for female employees and business leaders across the board. It gives them more freedom to focus on their work while giving them the time to take care of their families. A flexible work structure helped open more doors for women. For instance, working mothers or soon-to-be mothers could continue doing what they love without hampering the well-being of their young ones. Such work models are a positive sign. They help reduce female employee turnover due to factors like time and distance. 

The rapid transition to digital, an uncertain economic landscape, charting unknown waters, working from home – how have you been navigating during the COVID-19 times? How are you maintaining work-life balance in the new normal?

The business landscape has always been dynamic and full of challenges. The pandemic is indeed a black swan event, but it is not the first obstacle faced by companies. It did change most aspects of our everyday lives. However, with time everyone learnt how to manage their responsibilities; in the new normal. I have created a workspace that helps me focus and gives me a sense of home office. I like planning my day – this helps me identify how much time I am allocating to what. Maintaining a planner allows me to get things done faster and in the correct priority order. 

Multiple studies have shown how women leaders performed better during the COVID-19 crisis. According to you, what makes women the best in crisis management?

Women have an appetite to do better. We are typically problem solvers and not creators. In times of crisis, it is our inherent instinct to find solutions. This solution-centric approach has allowed women leaders to perform better during the COVID crisis. 

What are the five most effective lessons that you have learned as a woman leader?

As a professional, you get immense opportunities to learn. Most lessons become a part of your journey. Some things that I have learned over the years are:

Patience: Your efforts will not promise you success the very next day. You should never quit because it is taking longer than expected to reach your target. Keep knocking, and the door shall open. 

Clarity of thought: A cluttered mind will see the simplest task as a mountain. Your ideas and solutions will also take a hit because of the confusion in your mind. Thus, whenever approaching a new project, plan or idea, make sure you tackle it with a clear head. 

Perseverance & hard work: There’s no alternative to consistent and dedicated work. Avoid taking shortcuts because they will take you nowhere. If you want to be a successful business leader, then you must do it right. 

Never be scared of failure: Ups and downs are a part of everyone’s journey. Take your downfalls as learning experiences. Let your mistakes teach you, and never discourage you. 

Seek help: Everyone needs support. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. While you work towards improving on your weak spots, never think twice before reaching out to experts for advice. It will help you focus on your strong suits and manage your weaknesses better. 

Gender sensitivity and inclusion in the new normal – how can organisations effectively encourage and groom women leaders in challenging times?

Open communication, flexible work models, consistent appraisal, and fair allotment of tasks are some ways to prepare women to become future leaders.


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