Vrutika Dawda

WORK HARD, TAKE RISKS & JUST KEEP GOING.

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The writer is director at IdeateLabs, a Mumbai-based digital marketing agency that is committed to creating path-breaking strategies and creative solutions to help brands maximise the digital platform. She manages a host of portfolios including corporate affairs, corporate finance, legal and compliance, while also looking after the overall business operations of the group.

Most women choose a more functional career path for their growth instead of handling finance. I personally believe that if you don’t take up P&L responsibilities early in your career it is unlikely that you’ll make a jump to the CEO role in the future.

As I’ve grown across my professional journey, one of the biggest questions I’ve faced is: “Can this small petite girl manage to hold her ground in the already aggressive male dominated world?” Be it a small or a big organisation, this question I am sure haunts all women working across industries.

As you get to the management level you simply cannot avoid conflict anymore and I’ve witnessed this first hand. While women can certainly handle conflict at this level, it tends to cost us a lot of emotional anxiety to gear up for this, not to mention the negative reactions from male counterparts as we progress ahead on the path.

The most fundamental step is that you need to have a dream; second an idea of what your milestones are and how are you going to achieve them; while third and most importantly it is passion.

Obviously having the skill set and working hard is important, but if you don’t have a dream and a goal, then the chances of you getting to the very top are almost down to a whisker. And if you don’t fill your dreams with passion, then the chances of being disheartened during tough times can be high. And there are always tough times on the financial front in any business.

I am extremely inspired by some iconic personalities like Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar and Ekta Kapoor who have battled heavy odds and made their own mark in the industry.

I have had loads of situations in my career, which turned out to be challenging as well as turning points in my career.

One of the most recent ones was being appointed to the board of my company. It completely changed my perspective to life and work. From being the head of the department with a defined role, to going to an entrepreneurial role where I was responsible for stuff I hadn’t even imagined I’d have to handle. But to be honest, it’s been fun.

I’ve been very fortunate to have amazing bosses throughout my career, people who’ve given me opportunities to think and act independently and take decisions.

Most troubled instances have been when I’ve pulled up my counterparts or seniors for mismanagement. Emotionally it was a draining experience for me. But it also taught me a lot about how an organisation should be managed and when one must let go and when you shouldn’t at any cost.

I have been actively mentoring other colleagues as well as a few friends who have just become entrepreneurs. Being a student for life, my last two stints have helped me learn a lot about marketing and communication, coupled with my business understanding I believe in sharing knowledge to whatever extent I can.

I am excited with what we are currently doing in IdeateLabs and am sure the next few years will be satisfying and enriching for me personally and professionally.

Initially I was a little wary of voicing my opinion or challenging my peers if I knew they were wrong in their decisions or conduct.

Even when I did voice my opinions, I would more than not do it a little apologetically.

Gradually I learnt that if I really want to have an impact in what I do, I shouldn’t be apologetic about it at all.

On the contrary, stand for what you believe is right; I learnt this in both my current and previous stint in the agency business, and this learning has been transformative for me personally.

My advice for young women aspiring to enter the finance industry is to work hard and take risks. This is the best piece of advice I received from one of my ex-bosses, and I have lived by this rule ever since.

Just made a simple addition to this myself: “Work hard, take risks and just keep going.”

Life is full of opportunities and can spring surprises at you when you least expect it.

Face it. And in the face of all odds, try and smile as much as you can and do not over complicate your life by trying to please everyone else.