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350. From there till here – 10 wonder years

February 28, 2014

I’m writing a blog after four months. Last year during this period I wrote hundred blogs in as many days. I decided to take a break from all the conventional things I did in order to give myself a mini sabbatical.

Here I am, back to blogging while other things happen and occupy my time and mindspace. A lot has happened in the last 120 months and most of them good. Here is a round up of the last 10 years as I step into a new phase of my professional life.

On this day 10 years ago a bunch of us freshly minted graduates gathered at Ridgewood Estate in Gurgaon which would be our home for the next 6 weeks. The following morning the 13 of us were embarking on a career and an experiment. A career in Public Relations and an experiment of having done a first – of signing a three year bond with a company we blindly trusted.

The journey that began on March 1st was a foundation of learning from the best, and discovering our hidden potential one day at a time. We were making new friends, for life. We were changing the way Public Relations was done as time flew by.

Some of us decided to move out of Public Relations completely and some of us decided to stay on. Most of us are no longer with GBM except one who is in the same group but in London. 3 are in Bangalore, 3 are in Mumbai, 3 are in NCR, 2 in California and one in Australia.

I had a fabulous 42 months with my first employer across three cities and still cherish great memories of my time there. In fact I spent two hours this morning at the Genesis BM Gurgaon office catching up with Prema, Zorawar, Nikhil and a bunch of others. My favourites are always the office support staff (Manohar, Vinay etc.) some of whom I met this morning.

After Genesis, a quest to be in a start-up and in political communications took me to APCO Worldwide as its first employee in Mumbai and then to be the first head of corporate communications for a media planning and buying company in India within the Publicis Groupe. Having spent eight years in three metros in three companies I figured that time had come for me to get two years of international experience. That quest led me to Edelman Public Relations (again a first for an Indian to be directed hired by a Top 10 PR firm in the US) in their founding office in Chicago, from where I returned three months ago.

While many who care about my career progress have been curious to know what I’m upto and some are aware I thought I will share some of it here. While Edelman and I had an understanding that I would come back and work with them in their Gurgaon office, the HR managers and their handlers in India felt they needed me in Mumbai. In any other year I would have been open to it but not in an election year – the main reason for my early return was to be involved with political strategy and communications on the weekends and after hours.

That was not meant to be and we decided to part ways. I am enjoying being a budding social entrepreneur. While I consult for couple of global brands through a PR firm which takes care of my bread, butter and shelter there is a lot going on. I am building couple of intellectual properties in the events space, working for a political campaign and learning through reading about start ups and businesses.

Most of the last 10 years have gone as per plan and I hope the next 10 are as interesting, if not as planned. The last 10 weeks of the last 10 years have been very unique. I have met a lot of old friends and made several new acquaintances.

I want to end by thanking a series of people who have contributed in big ways and small to my professional growth. If I have missed your name and you believe you made an impact on me please send me an email and if i’m convinced I will add your name here.

GBM – Prema, Ashwani, Sheila, Zorawar, Senjam, Sabiana, Nikhil, Alka, Sheena, Anjana, Ashok, Vikram, Girish, Deepshikha,Ajit and all the 12 ALPmates (Bodhi, Moksh, Chitrangada, Madhavi, Ishita, Meghana, Archana, Vidya, Neha, Preeti, Priya, Greishma)

APCO – Margery, Amit, Sanjay, Mrunmaiy, Sheetal and Surojeet.

SMG/VivaKi – Ravi, Srikant, Mona, CVL, Rajesh, Kaushik, Hemang, Jennifer, Maria, Jill, Lena, Cheri, Ashish, Vikas, Andrew, Nikhil, Sanjay, Madhavan, Girish and a bunch of others.

Edelman USA – Rick, Travis, Christopher, Harlan, Nicole, Tamara, Neil, Laura, Kimberley, Mindi, Rachel, Eileen, Karen and Geoffrey.

And last but not the least Robert Holdheim for letting me go, Anant Rangaswami for being a great sounding board, Indrajit Gupta for teaching me humility, Nafisa Islam for being a fabulous friend, Radhika Sharpoorjee for thinking highly of me and Vishwajeet Ganpate for never letting me go.

That’s 60 people and counting. My family and friends have always been my strength but this blog is for the professional connections who made a difference. Watch this space for more…

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