It isn’t easy for a woman to take on a leadership role in a male-dominated orgnaisation. It takes hard work, dedication, discipline and some smart thinking on the toes to get to that place. Jasleen Kaur Gumber, GM-Marketing, Benetton India, gives us a peek into her life, tells us about her journey and shares some valuable lessons that she has learnt in the process.
Cosmo: What's a typical day for you like?
Jasleen Kaur Gumber: My typical day has agency briefing calls, video meetings with tech companies and advertisers and typing out a lot of mails.
I am also quite a ppt person, so once in a while one would see me buried under the weight of many slides!
Apart from this, I ensure I daily read about the top industry trends, innovations and being a marketer- I also have to dedicate a substantial amount of my time to Instagram. That’s where you spot the pop culture.
Jasleen Kaur Gumber
Cosmo: What is the most valuable professional lesson you have learnt?
JKG: Take the right decision, that’s why you have been hired! Sometimes, doing the right thing isn’t the easiest, you might have to go against the tide, offend a few people. But whenever you will look back, you will be proud that you contributed in the most constructive ways. And this has always helped me take my decisions.
Cosmo: What are some of the mistakes you have made and what did you learn from them?
JKG: Delegation is an art that only comes with time. In the early days of my career, I wanted to do everything myself owing to which I created some horrible time-management case studies. I goofed up some of my deadlines too. Because I was striving for perfection and I thought it could only be achieved if I do it all myself. I was clearly, naïve.
I have become good with multi-tasking now. I know what work I need to outsource and what I need to do myself. I think, you are wiser when you understand the value of your time and effort.
Cosmo: What are some of the challenges you face in your area of work?
JKG: Leading a marketing function means managing a lot of things together, at the same time, in the same breath. All channels- PR, social media, content, campaigns have to run in tandem.
Collaboration is the only way to combat this challenge and I feel I do spend a lot of time getting my agencies, teams and vendors on the same page. Everyone should be equally excited and invested. For me this is the first step, if I have everyone rolling together, for the common objective, results are always outstanding.
Cosmo: Who are your female role models?
JKG: If someone would have asked me this question 10 years back- I would have given an impressive list but honestly, I don’t believe in role models anymore.
There is something fundamentally wrong with idealizing people and role modelling their success. People overlook their own uniqueness and want to fit into someone else’ shoes.
I do however, believe in successful traits and characteristics and I focus more on imbibing qualities.
Cosmo: How do you balance your personal and professional life?
JKG: I guess, I am still looking out for the perfect recipe. I was taking work calls, a little, before I delivered my baby!
Cosmo: How do you unwind?
JKG: I am a literature major so nothing relaxes me more than a good read. I am simple that way, a warm cup of coffee and an engrossing book puts me in a good mood.
Cosmo: What skills and specific training does one need to work in your industry?
A formal management degree does help you understand the strategic concepts and market trends. Beyond that, marketing function relies heavily on good communications skills, creative thinking and a consumer-centric mindset. Having said that, I do believe some people are gifted marketers even without any formal education. Who doesn’t admire Steve Jobs?