The Best of 5 list

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In our working life, we often come across several people who leave an impression on our growth as professionals- be it our bosses or our colleagues or even our juniors. In the last 25 years I have spent working with several professional colleagues, a few individuals have helped shape my destiny in a manner that today defines who and what I am.

This article is my showcase blog to recognize these individuals.

5 of my Best Bosses

For most people bosses are big scary people who overwhelm you with their demands, their idiosyncrasies and of course their petulance or their apparent favouritism. Over the decades of working, I have had several bosses who have helped me shape myself to who I am today. And this post, the first of the few I intend to pen down is to call out my top 5 bosses.

From each of them, I learnt something that added value to my own professional growth. My very first boss was one Mr. Jagananth or Jaggi as he was more fondly called. As a fresh raw graduate in my first job as a direct sales person, I was awfully nervous. Jaagi helped me in the initial phase of my career and helped me to understand the subtle nuances of sales- how to spot the right prospect, how to not loose heart with rejections.

Another great boss was Ron Barooah who I had the opportunity to work with while i was in Godfrey Philips. I learnt the importance of winning friends and influencing people and I learnt some great marketing. In fact my real experience in hard core marketing came during my stint working under him. He continued to be my boss in my next company where both of us attempted to do something foolhardy 🙂  Alagu Balaraman was to my mind the most process oriented and meticulous boss I ever had. From him i learnt the acute importance of making great presentations, keeping a cool unruffled mind and how to lead a team. He inculcated in me a love for technology that has lasted right to this day and in many ways make me what i am today, Srikant Sastri was another great boss early on in my career from whom i learnt simply by observing. A meticulous planner and a strategic thinker Srikant helped me to discover my potential immensely Kanika Mathur was another boss who taught me one of the most important aspects of working anywhere- hard work pays. While for most people Kanika used to be a terror but she was one woman who I really loved working with.

5 Most Awesome Colleagues

In continuation of my series to call out people who have influenced me with their dedication, hard work and work integrity, I am calling out five people who I had the opportunity to work with in my long career in marketing.

None of them worked directly either as my superior or my subordinate but nevertheless, my work often intersected their own leading me to at times work closely with each of them, giving me an opportunity to observe them, understand them and invariably in all cases end up being friends with them.

At the top of the list is Shyam Menon who was among the first work colleagues I met when i moved to Delhi. Over the years, Shyam has been one professional who has worn so many hats with complete aplomb that it is truly inspiring. And his winning smile and manners endeared him to every single person in the organization. Shyam continues to work as he did in his twenties- 15 hours a day just trying to complete ‘ one last thing”

Another amazing colleague has been Gaurav Pathak who today heads Sapient Razorfish in Delhi. I knew Gaurav when he joined as a management trainee and from the start it was clear that he was one to watch out for. He had a strong leadership style, clear focus and an uncanny way of motivating people working with him to go beyond the ordinary.

The third person to call out is another work colleague and now good friend Vineet Durani who now heads Microsoft Windows in India. A complete technology lover, Vineet eats and breathes marketing and technology at all times 🙂 During the time we used to work together, both as a work colleague and much later as a client, I always admired his broad strokes when it came to marketing action. He used to push the envelope to the limit.

My list would not be complete without Partho Sinha…undoubtedly the man behind much of what Solutions (the company he helped found) came to stand for. A creative genius, Partho took to BTL like a fish to water coming up with continuous stream of highly appreciative creative solutions in an atmosphere that was less than creative. He was a one-man army in the initial stages churning out creative communication almost like a factory! but with each one of them uniquely fantastic. He put to shame the stereotypical perception that good creative can only come after hours and hours of deliberation.

The fifth person in my list is Umesh Rao who now heads Marketing in DHFL Pramerica. Umesh and I were work colleagues in marketing at Godfrey Phillips where he used to be the brand manager for Red & White while I used to handle the BTL. Amongst all of us in marketing, Umesh used to be the only guy capable of winning the sales team to his side with his easy laugh, amicable personality and extremely great man management skills.

Having great work colleagues who inspire and challenge you to push the envelope yourself is good to have. In that sense I have been extremely lucky getting to work alongside some absolutely fantastic bunch of guys and these five were to my mind among those from whom i learnt a lot.

5 Best Awesome Reportees

I have had a long and extremely fulfilling marketing career starting with my first job as a marketing trainee in the now defunct Commodore Computers. During the years that followed I had opportunities to work with some great bosses and even greater colleagues whom I spoke about

However, if I had to attribute one single factor which possibly contributed to my professional growth and success was the fact that most often than not, I had a absolutely great bunch of direct reportees working with me who in no small measure were the real heroes behind whatever accolades I ever got.

And this article is my call out to each one of them. So here goes.

Anju Nigam gave my first brush with hard core programming technology during my stint in BrandQuiver as its COO. As the team leader of the tech team, Anju used to shoulder her responsibilities with aplomb. I was useless as a mentor due to my lack of knowledge on programming but nevertheless both of us had an extremely great professional relationship. I learnt from her some of the intricacies of programming while she grew to better understand the user perspective through me.

While at Solutions, a company I spent a better part of my career in, I have had several great people working under me who added a lot of value to my role. Anant Rastogi  who now heads marketing in GMAC , was the quintessential no 2 often pre-empting me in action. He was the first port of call to most people in my team if they wanted to avoid my rather aggressive temper 🙂

Shashi Kant was another business head that I almost never ever had to review. I could blindly leave him alone completely secure in the knowledge that he would do whatever it took to meet goals. Quiet and unassuming Shashi was and is the most dependable person to have in your team. Little wonder that today he is the Co-Founder of a highly successful company called Spar Krognos

Tarun Malhotra was another absolutely gem of a person and one of my co-founders when I started Impact Marketing Services Pvt Ltd in 2006. Extremely client focused and fiercely quality centric, he was one of the main reasons why the company grew and why clients continued to increase their marketing spends with us.

Deepak Sharma brings up the last of the best of five to my mind. He joined me from a competitive agency and was strongly instrumental in helping me drive growth in areas I had never touched before. Extremely hard working with a ready loud laugh and an insane sense of humour which made working with him fun, Deepak Sharma now runs his own BTL company successfully as an entrepreneur.

3 of the Best & Most Promising Tomorrow’s stars!

The lifeblood of any growth lies as much in having experienced bunch of people guiding an organization as well as having raw talent at the bottom willing to learn , make mistakes and have the drive and ambitions to grow and fulfil their own destinies in life.

During most of my working years, several layers of hierarchy prevented me from interacting directly with young juniors, however in the past few years, I have had the astonishing opportunity in not just in interacting but actually helping guide several outstanding the promising young professionals who , I have no doubt will be tomorrow’s business leaders and change agents.

Pankaj Kumar, is one such youngster. A techie by profession, he joined my team. His open and raw keenness to push the technology envelope and learn new skills marked him out instantly to me as someone who would go a long way. Another such individual as Pritam Bhowmik, who quit his engineering career after 4 long years and joined me as an intern at a ‘NO PAY’ salary simply because he wanted to learn and make a career for himself in digital marketing. His determination to quickly learn the subtle art of marketing and the techniques in digital marketing set him aside from everyone else. In a short span of 2 years, he was among the top of his peers. Watch out for him! Still another bright young spark that stood out from amongst a whole lot of young people was Lahar Lall joined the team with little knowledge but quickly made up for it with her easy grasp of complex digital marketing advertising. Yet another person, I am sure who would be tomorrow’s change agent and built for much higher roles and responsibilities than what I could offer.

Although I wish I could have added 2 more into this list, the fact remains that I have not come across anyone else that I could clearly identify as a possible potential future star. Will these young people actually be one? Well, they certainly do have the potential to be one. But what they do with that potential is something that only time and their own actions will tell.

Who are your favorite bosses, colleagues, reportees and promising stars??

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