Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the Thar desert in the north of India. For my bachelor’s degree, I moved to the south of India, and then in 2014 I moved to Singapore to do my master’s in marketing and got an MSc in management. In Singapore, I worked for 2 years as an account manager at Facebook before I joined Social Blue.
What was the biggest surprise when you joined Social Blue?
Tim was the biggest surprise, actually. He was so down to earth and helpful, even helping us with things like setting up our passwords. To have that sort of an introduction from the CEO was really impressive and it showed that I’d joined a tight-knit team, which is really nice.
What’s the most interesting challenge in your role?
I think right now the most interesting challenge is that companies in India are reluctant working with overseas partners. We have a president who encourages companies to produce their products in India, have their offices in India, and hire Indian employees. We have to show what we’ve done for large companies outside of India to convince them to also partner with us, even if we’re not an Indian company.
What do you love most about your job?
Talking to people. Everyone has something to share and a story to tell, whether it’s personal or how their business works or how their company is structured. There is always something I can learn from them, which makes client interaction very exciting.
What motivates you?
The happiness on my parents’ faces. Where I come from, it’s rare for girls to study. To have a daughter living overseas, alone, on her own terms, is a huge accomplishment. They are very proud – excessively proud, I’d say. They were apprehensive about me going into advertising at first, because of the image they had of the industry, but now they’re proud. They read up on all the news about advertising and keep up to date with the industry.
What do you look forward to every day?
Learning something new. This is another big motivation. I never had a female mentor in my career, so I compete with myself and compare myself to where I was yesterday to see if I’ve improved. I never imagined 5 years ago I’d become the kind of person I am today.
And in another 5 years, where do you imagine you’ll be?
Leading the team as a CMO or in a similar role. A strong female executive.
Lacking a female mentor, do you have anyone else who inspires you?
My grandfather. He had ten siblings and six children to take care of. Where he came from and how he overcame his challenges is very inspiring. He lived abroad on his own, but he did it 60 years ago. He was ahead of his time. And it is his perception that having these kinds of experience shape you as a person, which helped me do it too.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and why?
North Korea. When I had a chance to go to Myanmar, which is also a very isolated place, the people were so nice and so humble because they had no exposure to the outside world. I really want to go to North Korea to see how the people there live. How do they live without the digital lives that we rely on and that we miss if the power goes out for a few hours? What makes them happy?
What’s your passion outside of work?
Kayaking. I grew up playing tennis from the age of 7. At 16, I played the Indian nationals. I was hoping for a scholarship, because I was an outstanding student – I was always standing out of class. Unfortunately, in my last match, I broke my thumb. I never played tennis seriously after that again, although I sometimes play a bit recreationally. When I moved to Singapore, I started sailing, kayaking and rafting. I always loved water, but I grew up in a desert – maybe that’s why I like it. Kayaking was a bit painful with my thumb in the beginning, but with some physiotherapy I could do it. I’m now a 3-star kayaker and I teach groups kayaking once every month or so.