A journey of learning

‘What they don’t teach you at Harvard’ will give you over 4,61,00,000 search results in 0.67 seconds on Google whereas type ‘What they don’t teach you at public relations school’ and you will get over 56,40,00,000 results in 1.02 seconds. But nothing can beat Day 1 of SPECTRA 2020, a unique online conference focused on reputation management held on 29 November, 2020, a masterclass of management and public relations.

SPECTRA, an online virtual conference, is a Maha Kumbh of leaders in Corporate Communications, Media and Marketing industries.

Pedigree is vital– SPECTRA is organised by REPUTATION TODAY, India’s First magazine for Public Relations and Communications professionals and the hardworking team who have successfully managed eight editions of the annual conference PRAXIS, India’s largest offsite summit for Public Relations and Corporate Communications professionals.

There is a saying that goes: ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’. In the current unprecedented times, reskilling is critical. SPECTRA provides a platform for professionals looking to expand their knowledge and learning.

The key speaker lists included prominent management thinkers, communication experts and public relations bigwigs such as Madan Bahal, Managing Director of Adfactors PR, Rama Bijapurkar, Economist & Thought Leader, Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and Managing Director of Nestle India, Sabia Schwarzer, Global Head of Communications & Responsibility, Allianz, Ellen Ryan Mardiks, Vice Chairman, Golin, Heather Woodard, Director for Multicultural Public Relations & Brand Engagement McDonald’s USA, Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide, Russell Dyer, VP & Chief of Communications & Government Affairs, Mondelez International, Kerman Kasad, Vice President, Global Communications & Brand, Project Management Institute and Kass Sells, Global COO & President, International, WE Communications. Over 1,000 participants attended the virtual sessions while the speakers had the audience in their spell and weaved magic through their examples, case studies and insights into the world of communications.

The day opened with a thought-provoking address by Madan Bahal, Managing Director, Adfactors PR, India’s largest PR company. He gave the clarion call on re-skilling for the entire PR business. He said a minimum 200 hours of L&D opportunity and digital literacy are a must. According to Bahal, the future of PR business in India is favourable compared with other communication disciplines such as advertising and media.

India’s more prominent management thinkers, Rama Bijapurkar said, “If you know what you want to Be, you will know what to Do,” which resonated with me as a corporate communications professional. We are often at crossroads on what needs to be done. Going forward, this will be my life’s simple mantra.

73-year old Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman, APCO Worldwide, spoke on ‘The Power of Connections in Enabling Purpose’.  “CCOs must become Chief Connection Officers to make sure that a company’s goals are aligned with all constituencies and also create a reservoir of relationships,” said Kraus. I was truly mesmerised by her energy and work.

My biggest takeaway was an idea by Russell Dyer, VP & Chief of Communications & Government Affairs, Mondelez International. He asked all his employees to write a letter on what the future company should look like. He then compiled all the details and crafted a single letter vision of the company to each employee on how the changes made by them has crafted a company of their dreams.

I was also touched by the gesture of the leaders when they came forward to award scholarships to  young students of SCoRe, India’s only institute dedicated to public relations. The virtual graduating ceremony for class of 2020 was touching and reminded me of my college days.

The sessions were a success on social media, with over 5,000 tweets with the hashtag #RTSPECTRA from close to 500 handles, making the sessions trend on the digital platform.

This is just the beginning and I am looking forward to the next three days from SPECTRA. The journey of knowledge and learning continues…

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Himanshu Kapadia
Head - Corporate Communications at Grasim Industries
Himanshu has been with the Aditya Birla Group for almost a decade now. A committed and passionate communications professional, his expertise is in Crisis Management, Reputation Management and Media Relations and Marketing. Over the years he has become an advocate of Digital Media and Public Relations. He is also a guest lecturer at some of the leading institutions in Mumbai.

Prior to joining the Aditya Birla Group, he has worked in leadership positions with Adfactors PR and Concept PR.

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