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W'day Spl'13 | Dedication & passion, not gender: Axis' Manisha Lath Gupta

Her multiple talents can be described in one word, ‘Versatile’. An apt description for the young working woman to today –who is an go-getter, achiever and wearing many hats at the same time. As chief marketing officer of India’s third largest private sector bank, Axis Bank, Manisha Lath Gupta, is doing many things at the same time. Driving the bank’s brand strategy & communication across all product verticals and all customer touch points; the digital interfaces of the bank  including all websites, internet banking, mobile banking and ATMs; the customer strategy and loyalty initiatives; managing the product portfolio & customer experience regarding the bank’s savings/deposits business and; new product development.

Over the last two years, Manisha has led many initiatives at the bank like building its salience through impactful media, driving activation across liability and asset products, improving the customer experience through customer focused branch layout, superior design of tangibles & differentiated customer strategy, enhancing the digital experience, launching new products like youth account & ‘Ladies First.’

Prior to Axis Bank, Manisha spent six years (2004-2010) across two different roles at Colgate Palmolive. In her last role she was the Associate Director- Marketing and was responsible for delivering market share and profitability for the toothpaste business in India.  Under her leadership, toothpaste shares for CP touched an all time high. Before that, Manisha was the Consumer Innovation Centre Head for India where she set up the innovation team and processes to deliver new products both for India and regional markets. Manisha started her career with Unilever in India where she spent almost eight years across different roles like Sales, Consumer Insights, Brand Management and New Product Development. In Unilever she worked in the personal products business, handling Ponds & Vaseline during her brand management years.

Manisha is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore (1997) and holds a Masters degree in Biotechnology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. On the occasion of Women’s day Adgully caught up with Manisha Lath Gupta to understand her expression about the industry.

Adgully (AG): How would you describe your journey?

Manisha Lath Gupta (ML): The journey has been quite interesting. It has been full of discoveries and learnings if I may say.

AG: What kind of problems or challenges did you face in the initial years? How difficult was it to get a breakthrough in the industry?

ML: I think I never faced any problems and one thing I believe is that when it comes to work gender makes no difference. Your dedication and passion matters. In terms of break through, since I am an IIM Bangalore graduate so I actually got everything on a platter and haven’t seen the struggling phase actually.

AG: How has the industry evolved in its outlook towards women in today's time?

ML: Well, I mean everybody is becoming conscious about the fact that apart from work there are other things too that play an important in a person’s life in terms of spending time with family and friends. Today not only women but everybody is trying to strike a balance in his/her own life. So looking at that, Yes I believe things have changed a lot.

AG: There must have been many milestones in your career, one specific achievement that made you take pride in yourself as a woman.

ML: There have been many achievements though but it’s the fact that if you don’t look at those daily and monthly achievements you cannot move with more passion. They motivate you to a large extent. I have always believed in giving pride to smallest of achievements too hence it is really difficult to chalk out some though but my current job in Axis is quite rewarding. It was quite good to come up of my own and to redefine the marketing principles here at Axis on my own.

AG: Did you ever encounter a biased attitude or perspective as compared to your male colleagues?

ML: Not really, there has never been a biased attitude though and to be very honest I have never thought in a way that ohh they are men and I am a women, I have always taken them as my colleagues. I think today we have grown doing all the work that men do around you so the matter of biasness gets over there and then.

AG: Was there any moment that you felt dejected by the challenges that lay in front you because of being a woman?

ML: No not really, I have a really supporting husband and family so I have never faced anything as such.

AG: Do tell us about your current role and what's that one thing which gives you a maximum happiness in a day’s work?

ML: Well I am a CMO at Axis and I look after all the marketing and promotional initiatives of the company. I look after the digital interfaces of the bank, which includes all websites, internet banking, mobile banking and ATMs. I also manage the product portfolio and customer experience on for the savings bank business, including new product development. The most rewarding part is the fact as to how one manages and guides the team as a team leader.

AG: Is there anything specific you would want to do to bring about a change in people's perspective towards women?

ML: I would personally like women to change their own perceptive for themselves. I guess women should stop sacrificing their careers and show more passion for their work and career.  I have seen many women who have stopped working just out of their choice.

AG: What is your advice to the young professionals who want to make it big in the corporate world?

ML: Work with love and passion and be ready for all the ups and downs that are going to be there in your corporate career as this is what you have studied and dreamt of. | Aanchal Kohli [aanchal(at)adgully.com]

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