Papri Dev, MD of Zeno Group India talks to us about her journey in Communications

Last updated 7 Dec 2015 . 4 min read

Papri Dev, Managing Director of Zeno Group India shares her thoughts on women at the workplace and what it takes to get ahead in the field of PR and Communications. 

What is the most challenging part about your current role as MD of Zeno Group India?
When you work with big teams across cities its about knowing that each person can bring something unique to the table and giving them the confidence to pull that out and put it to work – achieving it in a manner that creates harmony rather than chaos. Aligning teams to one singular purpose on a campaign , task or overall direction so that we are on the same journey and doing it out of the box. It takes a lot of hard work to keep your people inspired and charged so they can bring the force of their creative thinking to the brands they work on. 

What is a typical day at work like for you?
It starts early and ends late, but I love that. Given I work across regional and global mandates that go across time zones it means there could be calls way beyond normal work hours. The concept of work-life balance or work life merge then takes on a new meaning! The typical work hours are dedicated to the teams here in India across cities – a lot of strategic planning sessions to help teams think on the brands they work with, talking to teams about account management which means a lot of video and con calls and then some quiet time built in to work on my strategic priorities and moves the business forward and in evolving it. Some days are about meetings – clients and interesting folks in the industry who can arm me with new thinking that’s much needed to stay ahead in the communication & marketing space. 

In this field of work, what top qualities help one get ahead?
Here’s some of them – I cant tell you how it would stack up chronologically. But you have to be a super duper at strategic planning  – if you don’t preempt and organise yourself you can be swept up and away by the pace. You must read – all the time or let me put it this way, be updated with whats happening around the world, having a pulse on whats on people’s mind. Patience is important, tons of it because you are dealing with a diverse set of people daily and finally you need to be human. And love telling and crafting stories. 

What top tips would you share with young PR career aspirants?
Don’t think of yourself as just a PR professional. Think about being a storyteller, a traveller, a magician –  think of developing yourself as an integrated communications professional. 

As a working woman in India, what would you like to comment on or change in the overall corporate system?
Ah favourite topic! Have a long list. But in a few sentences - Mindset first, policies later. Achieving gender equality in India would have a larger economic impact here than in any other region in the world. Working women at every level need to lead this by talking more about challenges & solutions and pushing for workplaces that are geared around their needs. At DJE group where I work we have a forum called GWEN ( global women’s network) that holds sessions with women and men alike and bring in speakers who inspire and talk about topics that aren’t really discussed generally. At a personal level I conduct strategic mentoring sessions with younger women to talk about and more importantly listen to what women have to say – a lot of women just need to know that their challenges aren’t theirs alone and there are solutions and innovatve ways to get past an obstacle to them working on their own terms. 

What or from whom do you draw your daily inspiration from?
Tough question. And a lot of cliched answers come to mind. Of course theres a lot of world renowned people, achievers etc but in my experience inspiration can come from around us. I’ve had younger team members who have inspired me as much as peers and other colleagues. 

Paroma Sen
Paroma Sen is a professional content and creative writer.

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