No one is good at everything. Identifying one’s niche and building curiosity around it, becomes a great learning and leading experience.
Encapsulated in one sentence, this has been my professional life till now.
I started out as a very average student in life and struggled the path from multiple non-paid internships across Flagship PR London, MTV India – Mumbai and CNBC TV18 – New Delhi. I was very clear that advertising and marketing are my niche areas. Also, I have both interest and confidence to be a PR professional. But I needed to support my interest with a good academic background. Yes, brick by brick, I have built my confidence and my curriculum vitae. It works for both who have Godfathers in the industry and works even better for those who have to fend for themselves.
Following a masters in Advertising and Marketing from the University of Leeds, UK, I started my paid working life at Vogue Condenast in London in 2009, moving to their India office at Darabshaw House in Mumbai. Soon to follow my passion in advertising, I joined Ogilvy & Mather- Mumbai as Assistant Account Executive, followed by DDB Mudra, New Delhi as Account Head and then to Forest Essentials – Noida, briefly as Marketing Communications Manager. This is where in two months time, I was poached by The Taj Group hugely known to be hiring only from within their wide employee network- a strength of over 70,000 people, to head their most challenging property (in New Delhi) of 403 rooms, 13 banquets, 6 restaurants, a 9 hole putting green and a 13,000 sq feet Spa & Salon. If I sound pompous, well it is not intended.
I just want to grab eyeballs over some hard-hitting facts that can help anyone who dreams big. My intent to mention curiosity earlier, is the name of the game here. Curiosity seeds the bud of learning, exploring and being inquisitive about anything and everything and makes you question the very existence of a system or way of working. My thirst for knowledge portrayed me as an enthusiast – wanting to learn, explore, experiment and explode with implementation. This was a certain kind of vivacity that the management had been searching for.
Once I was inducted, I knew, I had to work even harder to prove that I am meant for the post. I learnt on the job to be like the swan – elegant, graceful and sublime to the world while all hard work and struggle lies underneath creating propulsion for movement. Meaning? PR of a leading luxury hotel needed to reflect poise and grandeur while the run-around, crisis management, media liaisons, revenue generating business and pitch interviews happens at the back. The silent struggles and hard work paid off in one year and I was promoted to the rank of a Director (from a manager), a designation which usually takes no less than five years to acquire here.
A sense of perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, challenges and impossibilities, is what distinguishes a winning soul.
(Nikita Das won the coveted ‘30 Under 30’ best PR Professionals in the country by Adfactor PR in 2015 and ‘Influential Marketer of the year’ by World Travel Brands in 2016. She is currently director, PR & Marketing, Taj Palace, New Delhi)