Thinking out loud with Priti Murthy- the importance of being part of a vocal community: Insights from our expert leaders and coaches
Priti Murthy is President of GroupM Services India and a Shine star, having been through our Walk the Talk programme with GroupM & WPP back in 2016. On International Women’s Day 2022, she spoke to E4M about what it means to be a female leader in the Indian marketing industry, and the importance of being part of a vocal community in accelerating change…
This article was originally published, here >
What are your thoughts on this year’s International Women’s Day theme, ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow? According to you, how can women leaders and workers in the formal space create a sustainable future? –
It’s a very important move towards normalizing gender parity. Women leaders need to be more present, call out and support to ensure we see visible results. Recruitments, promotions are at one level, how many are we welcoming back after a break, how many are we ready to offer flexibility to and such measures are there at the second level. Talking about these and then actioning them is equally important. Today we see the acceptance of these steps in organizations and boards and we have to champion these measures and make it a non-issue in the coming years.
What is your idea of a gender-just workplace? Please draw from your own experiences to share how a supportive work environment helped you attain your goals?
This is a great question; gender-just places allow one to not be worried about your work and performance because of your gender. Simple things like having a child don’t stop her promotion, working office hours and not having the pressure to put in long hours or go out after office hours for the sake of it. These though are pertinent, for me personally it was about being heard in a board room or forum and getting a sense that I am being listened to.
I have had great support in being listened to throughout my career, not that I didn’t face bias or wasn’t told that women with kids will struggle to climb the ladder. The reality was that my work spoke along with people who trusted my vision. Also, I ensured I called out the bias and encouraged people to accept that unconscious bias pulls an organization down. In my career growth, GroupM has shaped my vision to be spelt out and clearly, our programmes like Walk the Talk are a witness to the transition that we are seeing.
Which women have been your strongest supporters and role models (both personally and professionally)?
My mom, sister, cousins, mother-in-law, and many more. My husband has been my biggest fan and has supported me throughout. He coached me into being ambitious consistently too. My female bosses like Divya Radhakrishnan have been my go-to people throughout my career. Friends and colleagues like Madhvi Pahwa – GroupM Chief People Officer have groomed many of us and set the path to the board room.
How are women in the marketing world reshaping the course of the industry? How do you see women’s representation in Indian advertising (both on and off-screen)?
We as a community are very vocal which is great now. We support each other, we look out for each other and call out the biases. It’s a great time to be in Marketing as a woman, as our gender-just approach brings dynamism to the workplace. The labelling of women professionals has seen a sea change from – oohh she has to manage her kid hence can’t work late so let’s get a work environment where work and family life can thrive.
What is your advice to the young women who are either working in or planning to join your industry?
Be Bold, be ambitious, Be yourself. I have been a big fan of Sheryl’s line: What would you do if you weren’t afraid? That’s on my desk always. And that’s how we should be.
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