Ansoo Gupta, with her corporate experience spanning 20 years, has had a meteoric rise in her career as a marketing and media professional and on the way collected a deep and relevant set of experience across fields as diverse as television, brand management, e-commerce, search engine marketing, social media management and print.
As the former Brand Manager at Fox Network, Ansoo helped launch The History Channel on television sets across India and South-East Asia. She had a long stint at Star TV and National Geographic Channel. She came to these roles after gaining print experience at First City and Sun Publications.
Ansoo is currently the Chief Operating Officer of a digital brands management company Pinstorm. She runs a multinational team across India, Singapore, Malaysia, USA and Europe that looks to help clients across the world with innovative and effective marketing and branding solutions using digital media, while building a sound and profitable organization.
Ansoo’s blend of sound traditional theories applied to modern economy, experience across traditional and new media, belonging to Gen X and working with the millennial gives her a sharp edge to analyse many new challenges with a fresh perspective and be able to adapt communication and operations to contemporary environment. She regularly speaks at industry conferences and in colleges. She was conferred Corporate Excellence Award by her alma mater Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management and an Achiever of Excellence Award in Marketing by Bombay Management Association.
As her passion project, she goes around all over the country to encourage people to explore our world and conserve our beautiful planet. She has incorporated 'One Shoe Trust' for responsible and mindful travels to raise awareness about the issues facing our planet Earth. She was recently recognized as one is '50 Fabulous Innovative Leaders' by world innovation congress.
In an exclusive conversation with Apeksha News Network, Ansoo shares about her interesting journey so far and also talks about issues faced by women during their entrepreneurial journey,
Tell us a little about your professional journey so far and OneShoe Trust.
I started my professional life while I was in college. At that time, I run a few small businesses like a small boutique with tailoring service, handmade candles, etc. as I was always a little creatively inclined and enterprising by nature. However, I did not treat any of these as serious businesses because I was still studying and to be precise I was a good student in the fields of science and mathematics. After completing MBA, I joined media in 2000 with Star TV. Later I worked in marketing and branding teams of National Geographic Channel and The History Channel. As one of the core projects, I launched The History Channel and Crime & Investigation channels in South East Asia market.
Then I moved on to digital media when it was still a very small sector in India and now I run a large digital media company. In the year 2017, I founded my social enterprise OneShoe Trust, which is working in the field of waste management in rural tourist areas and promoting the cause of responsible travel. Our main aim is to make travellers aware of environmental issues and how can we travel better.
What barriers have you faced, as a woman, in becoming successful in your field? How did you overcome them?
As many other women, it is a challenge to manage kids, homes and work, all together. We are running three different enterprises even when it seems we are running just one. The only way to handle all this and still retain some sanity is by going easy on oneself and not feeling guilty if you are not able to concentrate on one because some other thing needs more of yours attention at that time.
What is the biggest struggle of a woman entrepreneur today in India?
To manage home and work simultaneously. They have to take care of children and elderly, run homes efficiently and take care of the business too!
A female entrepreneur or young woman who wants to be an entrepreneur does not always start off from a level playing field compared to a young man from the same community. She may not have access to the start-up capital (land, house, money) she needs to start her business and she may also have other time commitments like childcare. Do you think the existing programmes introduced by the government needs enhancement? Any suggestions to the government?
I think the government is doing its bit and is quite proactive towards women entrepreneurs. We need more support from the families. However, government can influence the behavior and attitude by running visible campaigns that recognizes women entrepreneurs. When more people will see successful women entrepreneurs, they will be more positively inclined towards either becoming entrepreneurs themselves, or support the women entrepreneurs around them.
These days, every other person wants to start a business. What is that one quality, if a person has, then only he/she should think of starting a business?
Most important is tenacity. In a job, you know your salary is coming every month and there is a certain sense of security in that. Whereas in a business, there may be a peak in orders and a slump on which you have little control, these swings can be very unnerving. But it all passes. If your offering is good, the business will prosper. So, perseverance and tenacity is important. Second is risk-taking, while third in the count would be belief in self. Everybody will give different suggestions and if you start to listen to all, you will end up in a confused state of mind. Your focus has to be crystal sharp.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give to women considering pursuing a career as an entrepreneur?
If you are serious, don't just think of your business as a hobby. If you are serious about your business, please treat it with full due diligence. This means, carry out company registration and all paperwork as needed by the government. Don't shirk away from understanding taxes, GST, service tax, etc. and fulfill all regulatory requirements.
Similarly, understand all financial aspects. A lot of women tend to leave financial aspect to some other people like their husband, brother, dad or manager. But this is an important part of business, especially during the initial phase. Take online courses or classes to understand financials if needed. It is not rocket science, and the fact is women are better money managers if they decide to care about it!
Women travelling along is not considered safe. What is your opinion on same?
Unfortunately safety has become an issue, more so for women. I think this is a reality that we should be aware and be prepared for. Don't let that hold you back but try to work around it. Not only do you put yourself in danger by being reckless, but also make your family anxious, which may result in them curtailing your movement that may affect the business. So be proactive, be prepared, be alert and be in control of your safety.
What is the role played by social media boom in your industry? What are its pros and cons?
For small businesses, social media provides a great way to get new customers. But you have to be careful that you are not spending an inordinate time on social media, as it also is a time-consuming activity.
Is (gender) equality an important issue for you? If yes, why? If no, why?
Gender equality is an important issue for everyone or should be. Even as a man, you should worry if women around you are not treated equally because ultimately the equality will benefit everyone and inequality will harm the men too!
It is an important issue for me not because of categorization into men-women, but about treating all humans as equals. An equal world is a good world for all, without a doubt!
What main change would you like to see for young girls in the next generation?
First of all, not having a different set of rules and expectations for girls and separate set of rules for boys. I want to see change in the way girls are brought up.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would that be?
That the only life path that women can take is NOT finding a good life partner and having kids. It is ok to not fall in love, it is ok if you can't find a good partner to marry and have kids with, and it is ok to not have kids. But what is more important is your peace of mind, health and how you contribute to the world.
What woman inspires you and why?
Many women inspire me and for different reasons but most of them are inspiring because of their strength and the mark they made in the world. The list includes Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey, Tina Turner, Anita Roddick, J K Rowling and many more.
What qualities make a great leader?
I don't assess leaders by success or achievement, for me how they deal with people, their needs, and their aspirations is more important. They should be impactful and be able to motivate people.
International Women’s Day celebrates the scientific, political, economic and social achievements of women. In your experience as a successful woman, what is its significance?
I think one day is not enough but at least having a day is also good to have the discussions about issues that women face. However, this is something we need to do on a regular basis rather than just one day.
Apeksha News Network congratulates Ansoo Gupta for her contribution and commitment towards the society in the field of marketing and sustainability and environment social enterprise, and wishes her good luck for her future endeavours!