In the quest to emulate something or someone extraordinary, don’t forget to be the best that only you can be. Grow or even outgrow but strengthen with each piercing arrow.
In light of International Women’s Day, I introspect about the entrepreneurial journey I embarked on almost five years ago with the intention of striking a chord with the empowered women of our country.
The birth of Talking Point Communications
Having attained my Bachelors’ degree in Political Science and a Masters’ degree in International Public Relations, I knocked on the doors of Edelman, the world’s largest independent PR agency. It was here that I gained immense industry experience while working as a PR consultant for a diverse range of clients in the healthcare and consumer industry.
While my college internships with Enfuse Youth and UN-Habitat and experience at The Loomba Foundation gave me a foresight into the industry, it was my experience with Heart Care Foundation of India (a leading National NGO), I gained a crucial understanding of team and campaign management, communications planning, brand building, crisis communications, media strategy and relations, issues management and public engagement. I had started a youth division called Sahasra within the NGO that aimed at raising awareness about and funds for health issues ailing our society.
One would be right to assume that I was not only strengthening my capabilities in PR, but also subconsciously sowing the seeds for my own brainchild. Perhaps it was merely a matter of time, but I favoured spreading my own wings rather than settling for a comfortable job, with all due respect.
I was 25 years old at the time and gave wings to Talking Point Communications (TPC) with one client and one employee. Having observed the PR world first-hand, I ensured that the approach at TPC leaned away from the status quo. This meant that the pillars of TPC’s philosophy included out-of-the-box thinking, realistic and comprehensive approach to communications and utmost honesty with clients.
We prioritized ourselves to become 360-degree communication partners rather than merely operating as an interface between brand and media or relegating PR as a one-size-fits-all approach. TPC has in truth given each shred of effort possible, and then some more, towards building thought leadership and facilitating impactful conversations on behalf of all clients.
There’s not a single entrepreneurial journey in this world which doesn’t present its own barricades and pitfalls. During TPC’s initial years, people questioned my age and constantly put me under the microscope. Clients were hesitant, for which I cannot blame them. It is hardly a walk in the park to place a company’s reputation in the hands of a 25-year-old.
However, the questions were put to rest as the clients witnessed the results in terms of executing large mandates. It was indeed a challenge to gain their trust, but our capabilities in delivering brand building solutions calmed their worries and the work simply kept pouring in with each successful assignment.
I had a fire in my belly to prove that age and gender were irrelevant in the quality of work that I delivered to my trusted clients. In retrospect, the fact that I was questioned constantly spurred me on to deliver the best with each assignment. I consider this form of motivation as positive aggression to stamp TPC as a trustworthy PR agency adept in planning campaigns for clients across start-ups, healthcare, technology, FMCG, education, social sector, lifestyle, and entertainment.
Amplify your inner voice
With TPC set to complete five years this coming May, we have mushroomed from a two-member team and servicing one client into a stable team of 20 people servicing over 50 clients nationally. It is safe to say that the initial challenges have been overcome, but it is these sorts of challenges in business and life alike that presents you an opportunity to either soar or hide.
I have no qualms about the fact that a woman can achieve anything that she sets out to do, and if she is indeed presented with any opportunity, she should grasp it with open arms.
When I recall my 25-year-old self today, I see one standout characteristic of my personality – passion. It is a passion that amplifies the inner voice within us to create powerful thoughts of ambition. Once that inner voice of a woman is amplified, she will understand that passion deflects and ignores all forms of demarcation known to humankind.
There is no form of differentiation in the workplace – it exists only if you want it to. It is irrefutable that women have immense mental, emotional, and physical strength– the predicament comes while channelling these in the right manner. Thus, the one channel that can empower women in every way possible is their passion and committing to it with consistency.
The writer is Naina Aggarwal Ahuja Founder Talking Point Communications (Views Are Personal)