Organisations need to build trust with women as marketers & employers: Shaili Chopra

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 and Communications 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.

Shaili Chopra created the game-changing SheThePeople.TV, India’s first women-only platform focused on content, community and skill development. SheThePeople.TV has an annual digital reach of over 400 million and receives nearly 10 million monthly views across its network. It’s a multi-lingual channel in Hindi, English and Bengali.

This was after 18 years in mainstream television journalism. She has been one of India’s top television editor-presenters. She has worked at CNBC, India’s largest news network, NDTV and ETNOW - part of the Times of India Group, before venturing into social entrepreneurship.

In conversation with Adgully, Shaili Chopra, Founder, SheThePeople & Gytree, speaks about women leaders in the current market ecosystem, lessons learned from the pandemic period, why she doesn’t look for work-life balance, ‘Sisterhood Economy’, and more.

How do you think the role and scope of women leaders has widened in the current market ecosystem?

Women leaders are role models and each time we see more and more women join organisations, take responsibility and drive new business, it has a direct impact.

In the current market ecosystem, I see women across the marketing spectrum are pushing for new ideas that break stereotypes, building inclusive brands and changing the way customers perceive their brands.

A new thinking, fresh talent is infusing much more in the marketing ecosystem than pink washing campaigns and efforts. Marketing to women has become much deeper than just having them in ad campaigns, and certainly beyond just sanitary and beauty products – and I say this with tremendous experience of working with the country’s most credible brands with the SheThePeople community.

What has been your major learning from the pandemic period?

Pandemic has taught customers and brands how to separate genuine efforts from gimmick marketing. Empathy, engagement and meaningful recognition are the new buzzwords of real campaigns.

Today, it is imperative to understand the needs and requirements of modern women for companies to make their business more inclusive and meaningful.

For our platform SheThePeople, the aim is to help brands promote their existing campaigns in a targeted fashion, but also help them curate custom social and digital content that could spark conversations and get the right set of consumers to them.

When we had started, we had asked ourselves how we can transform modern brands and give them a platform to communicate in a meaningful way with the modern woman, someone who is a powerhouse and is investing in her own career, building her own business, or making sound financial decisions.

What is your mantra for maintaining a successful work-life balance in the new normal? According to you, what makes women the best in crisis management?

I don’t look for work-life balance because I don’t believe it can be balanced. Instead I find life along side my work and enjoy all moments I can in whichever way I can.

I am a drummer in the making, and I find time to learn the instrument at least three times a week. Hooping is a hobby and so when I am stressed, I will blast up music and hoop. May be I will go back to work right after these on any given day.

If your life inspires your work and your work inspires your life, moments of pleasure can be found in the middle of all of this.

I don’t want to make any claim that women are best for crisis management because that will put undue pressure on them to believe they are.

What are the five most effective leadership lessons that you have learned?

I think there are many, but I like to keep them simple as I have addressed the same in my new book out recently, called ‘Sisterhood Economy’.

  1. Lead by example
  2. Don’t be ashamed to admit you are wrong and say sorry
  3. Spark new ideas
  4. Listen
  5. Have fun together

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

I just want to tell brands and organisations that they need to build trust with women – as marketers and as employers. This will happen when women are not just numbers or a ratio for their organisation but decision drivers.


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