Meet the SHEROES - Shravani Dang
Today we speak to Shravani Dang, the Global Group Head of Corporate Communications at the Avantha Group. She tells us how she chose this field as a career and what it takes to make it to the top!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Calcutta but finished my schooling and university in Delhi. I did my Masters from The Indian Institute of Mass Communications and was directly recruited as a trainee by HCL. My work experience spans a variety of industries and both for- and non-profit organizations: technology/software, global NGO, financial, industrial and conglomerate. The organizations I have worked for include marquee names like HCL, CARE, CSC, Fidelity and now Avantha.
I took a break from 9-5 work in 1992 and started The Creative Writing Workshop for children and adults. This was a very successful venture and was based on the philosophy of encouraging original thought and ideas, then articulating and communicating them effectively. The workshop was invited by The British Council and Habitat Centre and numerous schools as well. An 11 year old won the Bill Gates award. I also taught Communications at Delhi University.
As a Member of the European Association of Communication Directors (EACD), I represented India at the association’s annual event in 2013. In the region, I am a Founding Board member of the Asian Pacific Association of Communication Directors (APACD) and elected as its Treasurer. In 2009, I was awarded Excellence award at the Asian Multimedia Publishing Award for Innovative Corporate Communications. A ‘Woman in Leadership’ awardee, I am a former governing board member of ‘Women in Leadership Forum’. I also served as a jury member for the Sabre South Asia awards 2015.
What is your average work-day like as Global Group Head of Corporate Communications?
Hectic- it begins with looking at the day’s work and what are the key priorities for the day. I plan my day and prepare for any meetings or conference calls. My role is to manage my flock globally, provide strategic communications advisory and direct communication executions. And ensure that business impact remains a priority.
How and why did you choose Corporate Communications as a career?
I began as a journalist and would write and broadcast as a University student. Communications was nascent and most PR people were known as fixers. However in the IT industry- where I began, communications was beginning to be known as a strategic and important function. I saw closely the business impact good communications can have and conversely- how bad communications effects valuations, employee branding, and overall business impact. My mind was made up- I wanted to be among the leading corporate communicators in the country.
What tips do you follow to manage your work load and personal commitments?
That’s a tough one as my role means that I need to be there 24/7 especially for issue and crisis management. I try and keep learning to balance!
In the field of Corporate Communications, what are the top 3 must-haves?
Primarily a strategic perspective is key, then creativity and execution. Most important remains business impact.
What professional input would you give those aspiring for a career in Corporate Communications?
Keep abreast of new technology and platforms-but strategy is most important. The ‘what’ is more important than the ‘how’. If you get your ‘what’ right then the ‘how’ will be clearer and focused.
What or from where do you draw your daily dose of inspiration?
I am a positive person and look to the future. I also like challenges and find them mentally stimulating. These are what inspires and motivates me.
What constant challenges do you face in your line of work?
Corporate communications is moving from “nice to have” to “business critical.”
Therefore the expectations and demands have grown immensely and a disciplined strategic planning process is essential to success. The challenge is to have continuous rigor and sharp focus. Increased globalization has also brought with it the challenges of intercultural communication as the workforce grows more diverse, both ethnically and culturally.
The other challenge is to embrace fast changing technological advances. New tools, processes and competencies are needed as well as the experience and insights into technology updates and continuously guiding the organization.