A keen interest in communicating actually led her into the world of PR. Pooja Pathak, Co-founder & Director, Media Mantra continues to weave the communication magic as she strives to strengthen the presence of her firm in the PR business scene (along with her husband and Co-founder Udit Pathak).
Tracing her career path, one can notice how she moved stage by stage – into the world of communication. She graduated from Miranda House, DU where she was President of Gandhi Study Circle, a creative writing society. Backed by international experience, she did her Masters in Sydney, Australia where she also juggled other roles such as – editor of News & Notes (as she was associated with United Nations Youth Association, Australia), Business Development Manager for an Australian educational firm – ICOM Training and she also filled in as youth representative for an Indian Seniors’ Association. An offbeat angle came in, when she was a Radio Jockey too, in an India-based radio station in Sydney.
Prior to co-founding Media Mantra in 2012, she has had extensive experience in the PR arena. At Media Mantra, she heads the Media Operations & Content Team. A firm believer of “contributing and giving back to the society”, she actively participates in business-led forums, entrepreneurship/women-based platforms and also doubles up as faculty in many educational institutes.
A multi-faceted personality indeed, catch her in conversation with Shree Lahiri as she discusses what are the differentiating factors that set Media Mantra apart, how PR impacts businesses, her journey, the magic mantras for success and more …
RT: How does Public Relations make a difference to businesses?
Every business needs to undertake a demand generation process for its product or service, which includes the following four types of impacts – Impact initiation, Impact intensification, Impact extension and Impact retention. When it comes to communicating the credibility of your brand to the world, Public Relations is hands down, the best channel. Not only can PR professionals place stories in influential media platforms, but they can also take their clients’ messages and amplify them to their target audiences. A PR firm helps to develop brand identity, builds and grows consumer interests and also attracts further investment.
RT: What are the core strengths of Media Mantra that differentiate it from other PR firms?
The key differentiating factor is the Leadership growth path which the organisation creates for every team member. The learning drive and multi-tasking skills are some of the sure shot qualities which one can observe in the professionals of the company. It is our sincerest endeavour to try and teach leadership values and concepts through trainings and role-playing initiatives.
RT: Tell us about your journey of getting into Public Relations.
The foundation of my journey into PR started with keen interest in writing articles and actively networking with people. From college days, I was actively contributing for magazines and journals and even headed as President of a creative writing society at Miranda House, Delhi University. Later I went to pursue further studies in Sydney, Australia and contributed to papers and newsletters of United Nations Youth Association. In one of the projects in Sydney, I was the Corporate Communication specialist and that was really the turning point of my interest in PR. Soon after I came back to India, I started working with PR firms and later started Media Mantra.
RT: What attracted you into the world of entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship actually happened because of Udit (my husband) who had ambitions to start a PR firm; to connect with his passion, I plunged into this territory. Having said that, I always enjoyed taking ownership and responsibility, so in a way, the journey was quite an appealing one for me and still continues to be.
RT: What should PR companies do to attract and retain talent?
- Give a platform to the team to optimise their potential
- Provide a safe, positive, ethical and value-added environment so that they can grow personally and professionally
- Transparency can play a paramount role
- Grooming the team to be independent in decision-making
- Assist the team to develop entrepreneurial and soft skills
RT: You had undertaken a role as a Radio Jockey in Sydney. Share your experience with us.
The opportunity of a Radio Jockey was quite a refreshing one for me. Each and every moment spent in the Radio station has memories which are afresh till date. Well, on getting the role, I decided to make my show very “student centric” and also conducted interviews of international students residing in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide etc. Though entertainment still remained the essence of the show but, in between there were some heart-wrenching experiences about student’s journeys, the challenges faced as international students, the hurdles of finding relevant jobs etc, which got showcased and made the show an interesting one. The tremendous presence of mind and learning the art of walking-the-talk was nurtured on the show.
RT: You also teach students. What do you think are the key skills that students aspiring for a career in PR should learn?
The key skills should definitely be “willingness to learn, taking pride and ownership, having a positive mindset”. I believe domain knowledge is something which students learn in college, but the corporate needs “Skill and Will” capabilities together. Having the skill-set, but no willingness to learn or progress further will actually hamper the career path of budding professionals.
RT: You and your husband run your company together. How is it like being partners at home and in the workplace?
Initially it was not very easy to collaborate as business partners and life partners because the temperaments, kind of coincide together, when you are literally with each other 24*7. Business discussions become dinner discussions, holidays too become business-oriented until family/friends come to rescue. But over the time as business and individuals evolve, one starts to respect each other’s contribution at work and at home. Considering the sincerity and the faith with which we operate, it is true to say that we blindly trust each other and this is what our strength is.
Also, this kind of partnership provides the perks of – enjoying achievements together, learning to prioritise the task list and also narrowing down a growth map for the future.
RT: What do you do in your leisure time?
During the discretionary time available, in addition to being with the family and friends, I also plan to contribute to the society in diverse ways like teaching, working with NGOs, attending conferences and discussions, etc.
RT: What would be three magic mantras for success that any youngster can follow in the PR business?
The three magic mantras any youngster can follow not only for success in PR business but in life are to develop the following skills –
Personal skills which include not only the soft skills, but also the skill to develop relations in inter-personal and intra-personal areas.
Selling skills which include the calibre to effectively sell ideas, concepts, products and services to a target audience.
Prioritising skills which includes the ability to set priority and time-frames for diverse issues in hand.