The power of dreams & being at the right place at the right time

I am a firm believer in the power of dreams. Dreams that subconsciously show us our direction and goal. Dreams that often point towards a route that we take perhaps only years later. Dreams that come true because we believed in them and decided to pursue the path.

As a young child, I was fascinated with the Biblical story of three trees that had lofty dreams. As they grow, the trees forget their dreams only to realise later that even when things had not seemed to be going their way, in the end, their dreams did come true.

During 1990-2001, I was stationed at Bhilai Steel Plant working in its occupational health and safety (OSHA) division. One of my key tasks included publishing a quarterly bilingual newsletter on health and safety issues for the diverse employee base. The distribution of that newsletter was through the steel plant’s in-house PR department that had its own publication wherein the OSHA newsletter became a regular insertion quarter on quarter.

Thus, began my initiation into the world of PR. Frequent meetings with the PR department. Drawing up a calendar of news. Timing the publication. Coordinating with the department. Collaborating with the in-house printing press and the design center for the complete look and feel. Every visit enthralled me. It transported me into a world that I found fascinating and exciting.

I remember once vividly blurting out to my circle of friends in the PR department – ‘Someday I will join your department!’ It was a desire, a dream, a purpose that came from deep within my heart.

Life took a different turn post 2001 and I moved to Delhi. And I forgot all about my dream. I pursued a new career path that unknowingly took me closer to my dream and paved the path with relevant skills that I picked up in that journey. In 2004, when the opportunity to help set up a communication department for an agrochemical group came up, I jumped at it. It then occurred to me – my dream had finally come true. There was a plan after all and I had progressed along that path, knowingly and unknowingly.

Along this voyage there have been innumerable memorable moments and as I consolidated my position in PR & Communications, I met many who inspired and motivated me to sharpen my skills and competencies. I never stopped learning and tried to attend as many forums as possible to listen to experts, colleagues and gain new insights.

It does not really matter which step of the ladder you are currently on. If PR & Communications is to your calling, you will need to work towards giving your best there. The pandemic has bought home excellent opportunities to listen to leaders, gain new insights and to be seen and heard. Ask of yourself – are you on the right platforms? Have you registered for SPECTRA? Are you connected to those whom you find inspiring and motivating? Do you publish your thoughts on social media? When was the last that you read a book that left an edible mark on you?

As one of the founding members of Global Women in PR (GWPR)-India, I have the canvas to further share learnings, exchange notes, and examine issues that concern our community. I also see it as an opportunity to unlearn the obsolete and pick up the new. The platform will shape new debates on women in leadership roles, how to break the glass ceiling, push for equitable pay, ensure women have a safe work environment….,and so many other topics that are close to my heart. And probably yours as well.

The world of PR & Communications has changed; more so in the past months since the pandemic. We are witnessing new paradigm shifts in the way we work, how we navigate crisis and reach out internally to our colleagues. Technological advancements demand that we keep pace with change and embrace all that is evolving.

As PR & Communications professionals, we must endeavor to continuously up our learnings, be experimentative and take more risks. The time was never better nor perfect as it is today. Your participation and contribution on platforms, at events, during meetings, all of them have the power of expanding your horizon and shaping new perspectives. And you never know, your dreams may come true! Because you were present at the right place, at the right time.

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

Sarita Bahl
Country Group Head CSR at Bayer - South Asia
Sarita Bahl leads the Corporate Social Responsibility function for Bayer South Asia and is also the Director – Bayer Prayas Association. Prior to this, she successfully oversaw the communications and public affairs function for Bayer South Asia. Over her three decades of professional experience, Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, public sector, trade associations, MNCs and the Not-for-profit sector. An alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Science and the Swedish Institute of Management Program, Sarita specializes in stakeholder engagement, sustainability and communications. She is passionate about animals (is mother to a female cat), books and movies.

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