Director, Marketing and Communications
Gitanjali Puri is a member of:
I am a Technology Marketing professional with over 20 years experience in marketing and advertising.
I was part of the core team to set up and run the Lenovo Global Marketing Hub, a shared services marketing group set up to increase the efficiency of marketing operations. The concept of the hub challenged the traditional belief that advertising and communication is best created in local markets. In addition to campaign development, the Hub supported country marketing teams in the areas of financial claiming from alliance partners and also business analytics.
I led the design of key processes and work flows in the initial days of setting up the Hub, managed operations for America’s and EMEA and worked on campaign development for some major product launches.
Prior to Lenovo, I have led the marketing function for Xerox India. In my role as head, Integrated Marketing at Xerox, I successfully led the demand generation, marketing communication, brand and channel marketing initiatives for the three business streams viz. Xerox Global Services, Office Group and Production Systems Group.
My experience is focussed in B2B marketing with core experience in planning and deployment of product and solution marketing programs. I did my MBA from SP Jain Institute of Management and Research and graduation in commerce stream from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University.
Important Career Choices Made
An important decision has been to consciously choose to be in B2B marketing. It’s important to become a specialist in your chosen field and whilst shifting to different industries does give you experience it doesn’t allow you to gather specific expertise.
I have also taken calculated risks in making career shifts – for instance when I joined a start up team at Lenovo and also moving to advertising in the early part of my career. This has given me tremendous learning and growth opportunities.
Visions as a Leader
Successful leaders inspire people to commit to personal development and growth aligned with goals of the organization. The key ingredients are:
• Astute personal and business vision
• Unmatched success, credibility and experience in the relevant field of business (this does not mean that they have not failed, it means they have demonstrated how to recover)
• Being a good listener
• Respect professionals for what they are and not have preconceived notions about them
• Having the ability to make the right decision at the right time
• Communication skills
Challenges Faced as a Woman
Any professional environment that we see today was once lead and dominated by men. As a woman, the challenges are both diverse and unique. Pre-conceived notions around the overall professional capabilities and competence of women are one of the key hurdles to be overcome. Women today are equally equipped, smart and intellectually sound with technical expertise backed by credible qualifications, and on some platforms are outperforming the men. Secondly, gender balance needs to be build on a more substantial level in organizations. It is not about numbers but quality of work that organizations should be concentrating on. Having a balanced work force helps building a work environment that’s justified and progressive. Lastly, from a perspective of a woman, along with professional responsibilities there are other personal responsibilities that women cannot ignore during the course of pursuing their careers. Professional organizations need greater sensitization towards these so that women professionals can develop a sense of belief and operate comfortably.
I must point out here though that with changing times, policies, outlook and organizational beliefs, the scenario today is much better. Organizations today offer special facilities and adopt HR initiatives to make it easier for women employees to grow. This is definitely an encouraging sign and show that our society is maturing and evolving towards equality.
How I Destress
Yoga has always been my source of sustenance as far as my stress management is concerned. I have been practicing it from the past 4 years and believe me, it is helpful for a healthy lifestyle. It works not only on the body but also on the mind and the spirit.
Apart from that, I have a passion for theatre and arts and would normally spend my free time watching a play or going to an art exhibition.
A Different Way Of Doing It
One thing I would
do differently is to be open to career opportunities in locations other than my
home location. As a career professional, flexibility is a key attribute and
history is replete with instances of professionals finding their calling in
locations which they would have never dreamt of working. The fact that it also
provides you with an opportunity to broaden your horizon, learn about and adopt
to different work cultures, are added benefits. It also helps a professional in
delivering outside their ‘comfort’ zone, which is sure to hold them in good
stead at some point.
Looking back, I
would probably also have added some sales experience to my profile. It
strengthens your on-ground knowledge of business and customers, helping you to
have a more realistic approach to business solutions. This added to academic
acumen enhances chances of success that bit more.
Lessons Learned From A Professional Life
- Aim for excellence is something that I
always look at before taking up any project. This has helped me in stretching
the limits of my ability to the maximum, and hence deriving the desired
- Managing time to get results: One has to
be good at time management as it’s a skill that is imperative to a successful
business leader. I always make an extra effort to manage my time in a way that
I strike a balance between my professional and personal life . Time
mismanagement is one of the key reasons for stress and dissatisfaction at
- People management is critical: Employees
are an organisation’s assets as their performance and attitude can result in
the success or failure of the business. So, I think people management is an art
and critical tool responsible for taking the organisation to greater heights.
- Communication skills: Effective communication skill is the key to a successful career as a
business leader and distinguishes one individual from another. It also helps us
in being a happy and successful social being.
Plans for the Near Future
In a couple of years from now, I see myself contributing handsomely in building the CSC business in India in a way that it is seen as among the leading IT companies doing business in the country. I would also strive to build CSC as a truly aspirational brand for the young and enterprising workforce of the country.
I also look to seek a larger role in general management and garner as much international exposure in my career, as possible.
An Acomplishement to Feel Proud About
accomplishment has been to organise and host TBSC in India. Bringing TBSC to
India was in line with our focus on the India domestic market. It provided a
great platform for our partners and customers from across the globe to
collaborate, exchange innovative ideas and best practices and benefit from each
other’s experience. Each breakout session and exhibit booth demonstrated how we
simplify the complex, delivering understandable, intrinsically secure solutions
at whatever scale our customers need. This event has been a huge success for us
in other parts of the world, and we are glad to replicate this in the India
market in December 2011.
A Message for the Working Women
Women today need to understand their value and presence in organizations today. It indeed holds true that, "People respect you, when you respect yourself". Being a woman professional myself, I would suggest that the time has come when everybody needs to value and respect what women are delivering to organizations and in fact scripting their success stories as well in many cases, and the society as a whole. Women, themselves should value this and strive to raise the bar. There is absolutely no limit to which a woman can rise and attain success. It is one's own thought process that needs to evolve, because hard work and commitment has no bounds.