Kavita Rao, CEO of H+K India was named one of the most powerful women influencers in 2018 by communications trade publication Adgully. View the original article below.
What is the maxim that you adhere to professionally?
I have three . One, dream big because when you can dream it, you can achieve it. Two, deliver what you promise because it builds trust and long-term respected partnerships . Three, surround yourself with people who believe in you even when you don‘ t believe in yourself.
Tell us about three accomplishments in your career that have given you most satisfaction.
- I successfully transitioned from working in an agency (Genesis Burson–Marsteller) of about 100 people to working with a global organization of over 3,30,000 (HSBC) employees. The scale, complexity and change were overwhelming at first but I was fortunate to have people who believed in me and who mentored me. I went from having a South Asia role to an APAC role to a global mandate of strategic communications across all major markets.
- Driving strategic direction and communication outcomes for the challenging transformation that HSBC was going through.
- When I was able to help build the culture at BM India as chief talent engagement officer and contribute to making it one of the best brands in the business.
Over the years, who has inspired you in your quest for excellence?
I have been inspired by many people that I have come across, both personally and professionally and I have imbibed many qualities from them, but my quest for excellence is based on my own desire to better myself.
What do you think makes businesses successful?
People, people and people. Creating a culture of excellence in everything that we do – how we behave, respect each other, how we delight our clients and how we reward our people. They are at the heart of everything that we do – our clients, people who work with us and our stakeholders.
Comment on India’s socio-economic dynamics from a marketing perspective.
The consumer opportunity in India has exceeded predictions. To use an automotive example, 10 years ago, experts predicted that by 2018, India would be the seventh leading auto market in the world. Today, India is already pegged to be among the top three auto markets in the near future, right behind the US and China. Urbanization, increasing consumer spends and a rising middle class are the key driving engines of India‘s growth story. Today, global brands want to launch in India first, before taking their story to the rest of the world.
What is the key to achieving a fulfilling work-life balance?
I believe it is different for different people. I learned early in my career that you must give your 100 percent to whatever you are doing. So, if you are at home and with family, then you must be 100 percent there and not on calls and emails. The same applies for work as well. Of course, this is not possible all the time but if you follow this for most of the time, it works. The most respectful thing to do is to give your undivided attention to whoever is in front of you or to whatever you are doing.
Apart from work, what drives your passion?
My family, undoubtedly. We don’t stay in the same city, so we try every couple of months to catch up. Second would be sports and fitness. Third, travel and photography.
One life advice for people who are just starting out in their careers.
Be curious and hungry to learn and get out of your comfort zone. Also, don’t take yourself too seriously.