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The W-Suite|Women leaders are hard on themselves & each other: Vibha Chopra

With a rapidly evolving business and economic landscape, there is a dire requirement of fresh thinking, new skill sets, greater flexibility & adaptability, more collaboration as well as the ability to think on one’s feet. 

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. 

Vibha Chopra, Head - Zee Studios International (Film Marketing, Distribution, and Acquisition), has been working with the organisation for over a decade in various capacities and across geographies. Her experience is not only multi-national, but also multi-functional in areas such as Marketing, Branding, Digital, Research, Strategy and Live Events. She has lived, studied and worked across different countries such as Japan, Moscow, Cyprus, South Africa, USA and Canada. This has given her an exposure to various cultures and people, both professionally and personally. 

Her last assignment in the US was as Vice President - Brand Solutions & Special Projects, in which she was responsible for creating and setting up a new business lines for North America, such as original programming, production and live events along with helping sales to monetise properties like DID North America, Lil’ Champs North America, SRGMP North America, Super Moms North America and music tours like Unstoppable live in concert with Sajid-Wajid. She has spearheaded the launch of zeedilse.com a digital product from the concept to architecture to wire frames to launching the brand in the US market. 

As the Head – International Film Distribution & Marketing, Chopra is responsible for marketing and distribution of Indian films across the world. 

What defines a woman leader in today’s ecosystem?
The one word that can sum up this definition is – Balance. I think there is so much more expectation from women on fronts like family, home, etc., and yet you see women leaders emerging across fields. This can happen only when there is balance and efficient utilisation of time.  

Why do you think a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions?
Having lived across different countries and worked there, I feel this has changed quite a lot and you do see women as entrepreneurs and also as leaders across countries and across different fields. The creative and banking sectors in India are a clear example.  

Do you think women leaders are still scrutinised as much for style as for substance?
I think women leaders scrutinise themselves and are hard on themselves and each other. In the US, where I did have an opportunity to work for 8 years, this phenomenon is much lesser. The more that we think in this direction of style versus substance, the more we are ourselves fuelling that myth.  

Do you think the leadership effectiveness of women is higher than men? Why?
I don’t think one is higher than the other, I feel that both bring their distinct styles of leadership and both are equally effective. In a nutshell, a great leader is a great leader; I wouldn’t like to segregate it as a male leader or a female leader.  

Women leaders in the 80’s and 90’s and women leaders today – what are the key differences? And what are the things that haven’t changed much?
I think that women leaders today are challenging the norms more – whether it is on the work front or the family front, which is acting as a catalyst for their growth. 

How do you maintain a balance between career goals and family responsibilities? How frequently do you have to sacrifice one for the other?
That’s a tough one to really answer because I am very, very passionate about my work and I am lucky that my family is equally passionate about my work, so it just becomes that much easier for me. But I do feel that being multi-dimensional helps you grow as an individual too, which adds to your performance at work.  

Do you think pay parity exists in our corporates today across levels? What about pay parity at the leadership levels?
I wouldn’t be able to tell you about other corporate, but I have always felt parity on the pay scale in my work. 

What would be your advice to women aiming for the C-suite?
I think the most important advice I would give them is that just go after what you are passionate about with conviction and that’s all. 

What, according to you, are the 3 important lessons new women leaders need to learn?

  • Challenge the norms
  • A leader is a leader, not a male or a female
  • The world is changing but you can change it further
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