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The W Suite | Choose your battles wisely: Poulomi Roy, RSH Global

Diversity in the workforce has become a necessity today, and more so in the leadership positions. It can’t be denied that women bring a high level of creativity and empathy while solving problems and handling crises. Women leaders bring to the table a different level of dexterity.  

AdGully’s ‘The W-Suite’ series features interactions with influential women leaders in India, who share some deep insights on what being a woman leader means in India’s business landscape, the mantras to succeed, achieving work-life balance, pay parity and much more.  

Poulomi Roy is an accomplished marketing, advertising and communication expert with more than 12 years’ experience and currently is Chief Marketing Officer with leading personal care company RSH Global. At RSH Global, Roy oversees key marketing communication responsibilities, while honing business strategies designed to seize new markets and increase profitability. As RSH Global’s marketing communications head, she conceived and ran a successful brand campaign with comedian Bharti Singh to revamp Joy, the flagship personal care brand of the company. 

When she is not busy with her work, Roy enjoys dancing and spending time with her family. 

How would you define today’s woman leader?
A multi ‘potentialite’ with high EQ (emotional quotient) and capable of nurturing a result-oriented team. 

What are the foremost attributes that women leaders in today’s business ecosystem must possess?
The ability to strategise and execute, one without the other is ineffective in:

  • Rational and quick decision making
  • Understanding of business processes for better decision making
  • Updating oneself, learning and de-learning should be a process

Despite the qualifications, aptitude and experience, why do you think we don’t see the expected number of women business leaders, especially when it comes to boardroom decision-making?
I think both men and women in our society are conditioned in a way that we are made to believe that men take better business calls. Having said that, the ways of doing business are changing, we ought to see more women in business leadership positions. 

What more do Indian corporates need to do to encourage and groom women leaders?
Having an unbiased gender neutral environment helps. Grooming of leaders is important, irrespective of men or woman. Woman leaders should be highlighted internally and externally to encourage other women leaders. 

According to you, what are the Do’s and Don’ts for today’s women to break through the glass ceiling?
Do’s:

  • Do not hesitate to accept and project your ambition
  • Plan your career growth
  • Consistency is key to be recognised as a performer
  • Keep learning and innovating
  • Challenge the status quo

Don’ts:

  • Don’t wait for the organisation to back you up
  • Don’t compare your growth with other women leaders

How acute is the gender pay gap issue in India today? What needs to be done to address this in an effective manner?
In some of the sectors it is there. It is important to demand the best possible talent for a particular role and acknowledge their contributions, nothing else should come in the way. 

Do you think the leadership effectiveness of women is higher than men? Why?
There are certain inherent traits of a woman like multi-tasking, sensitivity, etc., which, when coupled with the right experience, acumen, passion, attitude and hard work, can make a woman a good leader. Having said that, I have worked under some very effective men as leaders. 

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

  • Listening is important
  • Inclusive leadership in important
  • Choose your battles wisely
  • You are as good as your team
  • Keep the emotional quotient high

How challenging has it been for you to maintain a balance between career goals and family responsibilities? What is your mantra to maintain that balance?
I am just not ready to give up on either and that probably that gives me the strength to face whatever comes my way. Also, we need to choose our battles wisely. Sometimes you have lay down your sword and step aside. 

How prevalent are the instances of sexual harassment at work places in India? What should the industry collectively do to tackle such a serious issue?
Though I haven’t faced any, but it will be ignorant of me if I say that it doesn’t exist. There are a few ways to stop it, which include:

  • Make yourself indispensable at your work space so that the organisation recognises your contribution
  • Speak up when wrong is done to you
  • Strict HR policies need to be actioned
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