Gayatri Sriram

Digital Creative Head

I realise today how fortunate I've been to have found great leaders from the day I started working. Each one of them have set me off on a path of discovering myself as a leader, and finding my own leadership style. Being a female in a heavily male dominated industry, it's very important for me to be aware of the biases my team and I may have to face, and develop adequate responses to them. For instance, for the past few years, I consciously stop people from interrupting me or my female colleagues. I've successfully campaigned with my boss for better gender representation within the office, across departments. We've also developed an active sense of responsibility towards creating ads that better represent women. Led by our CCO, who's the first female CCO in India, we are slowly but surely educating our brands into embracing a narrative that is evolved, and more truthful. No more sacrificial mom, or jealous wife, or perfect home-maker, in a country with diverse women from all kinds of backgrounds.

My leadership style is developing into one that can be described as inclusive and collaborative. I constantly look towards working with people who're better than me so that I'm constantly evolving.

Lastly, being part of this year's See It Be It program gave me the inspiration and urgency to start an initiative of my own. In Indian advertising, every article, every feature, and every interview keeps featuring the same set of men over and over again. The media makes it look like we have no successful women in advertising, which is nonsense. It's merely a lack of research and creativity from those who run the features. As a result, the same men keep getting more and more powerful. A recent annual list of 'most powerful ad professionals' had 9 men and 1 woman. And it further motivated me to form a task force, and fight this power imbalance. I'm working with some of my journalist contacts in launching a program that provides the names of female creatives, every time there's a media opportunity. If there is a weekly roundup of ads, we want to provide 5 ads by women. If there is a critique of recent work, we want to hear from 3 female creatives, and if there is "power ranking", we want to see 5 women in a list of 10.

 

 

 

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