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The ‘One’ in One97 Series: Smita Rajan, GM – Mobile Marketing

29 August 2012 by Sangeetha Iyer

When you think about someone who is effervescent and multi-talented at One97, the one person that comes to mind seamlessly without a strain or doubt is Smita Rajan who has worked for almost six years here.

Smita started her exciting voyage with her share of many trials and triumphs in her twenty-year media career that has seen the highest highs in One97. “I have had a fantastic ride here and from under 100 employees we have grown close 1000 now. But the warmth which I found then has continued. I have worked in different teams; my role has also changed over the years, but this warmth has helped me to understand this workplace so much more.”

Having been in the company for a while now, Smita understands her role very well and mentors many a new young people sometimes even inadvertently for their benefit and for the company’s welfare as well. “One of the things that comes automatically because of my being a woman and mother is maternal skills that allow me to help my colleagues and sometimes new employees feel at home in their new work environment.”

Talking about her journey with One97, Smita continues, “I was recruited for scripts and voice user interface. Later I got a taste of mobile content and a chance to dabble in video content, which was very exciting for me after my TV production experience. All through this I also multi-tasked with mobile marketing function, which today is my primary role. My trajectory in the company shows how One97 lets its employees choose their path, which I am sure leads to a better performance.”

Hearing from Smita about her journey makes me think how passionate she is about her work and workplace and that both Smita and One97 have benefited immensely with this partnership. She says unflinchingly, “One97 is my second home as I spend my entire day here, but what has worked for me is their flexibility especially towards their women employees. Even when I was interviewed by Vijay, I remember mentioning that I have a young son and that being a single parent one needs to do many things. To this he replied, what really matters to the company is that we take ownership of our work.

“I feel blessed to be working here and have never had a problem with them. Touch wood, we have gelled beautifully. More importantly, I have never had to worry about my growth prospects, One97 has taken care of that among other things,” she says with a tinge of happiness.

Always open to new things, Smita has become part and parcel of almost every social activity in One97. She is as active and clued in as she was when she was a new entrant. “From organising in the first Annual Day function when I joined in 2006 to many enrichment activities later, I have loved being on organising and participating sides,” says Smita with a sparkle of conviction in her voice.

In fact she believes “the culture is so vibrant and transparent that it encourages employees to have fun at work and off with the One97 family. Personally, I love to go to work every day and I feel employees especially women are respected and taken care of.”

Without a doubt, Smita’s joie de vivre transcends beyond her work and spills into her personal life as well. And, what is special about her is she enjoys every moment of her life as though it was her last.

Apart from being the founder member of a group of musicians where they meet up regularly and jam through the night, she loves to dance and knows at least eight forms of dance. She is also part of a few writers’ networks and without her knowing continues to inspire many women in her circle. Ask her who her inspiration is and she says unhesitatingly, “One lady who has recently inspired me much is Sheryl Sandberg, the Facebook COO, and I can’t deny the influence of Vijay who has been such a good captain for our ship.”

Being Smita has almost always meant being a 100% engaged employee despite her personal hiccups or anything else. She has trailblazed ahead striving for excellence always thus setting a benchmark for other people to follow.

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Women and Work @One97

09 May 2012 by Sangeetha Iyer

The role of a woman can never really be grasped fully…whether she is a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife and other things. Today’s woman all over the world and especially in developing countries like India has transcended beyond the traditional. She is a politician, a CEO, an investment banker, an entrepreneur and a cultural icon. She wears many hats with ease and can be the primary bread winner in her family.

Things are looking very bright when it comes to women’s status and empowerment in the One97 company. While they may still not be at the top of the hierarchy here, many wonderful things are happening around them.

Echoing Tajesvita Chopra and Snigdha Bhattacharjee’s thoughts, “The working environment at One97 is super friendly – the team spirit is fantastic, people are helpful, management is supportive, one has the much needed space for oneself. No gender discrimination is ever done and there are almost an equal number of ladies as men in Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s (MD of One97) immediate cabinet.”

Undoubtedly, One97 is a great place for women according to Manasa “as here women dignity is respected high and they have the liberty to express their views in all respects”.

Smita Rajan goes a step further and adds, “One97 gives good vibes as soon as you enter the door. People are nice and the positive energy floating around makes me feel quite happy at work. The sounds of laughter and music – all add up to the whole experience that One97 has become.”

Being a woman is Nature’s greatest gift and as a modern-day woman I can empathise with all of the above comments. I think one of the biggest motivations to work in a company is the level of feasibility it allows its women counterparts.

Smita reaffirms my thoughts and says she is ecstatic about One97’s flexibility especially towards women. “Over the last five years, if there is one thing I can point to, it would have to be flexibility. When my son was younger, there would be things such as vaccinations and sickness; I have never felt One97 going tough on me, the only thing is work should be done. They wouldn’t dictate how it has to be done.”

Manasa couldn’t agree more, “ I am a Bharatnatyam dancer and One97 has only encouraged me to grow. Whenever there has been stage shows, I have never felt work has been a hurdle. On the contrary, they have bent backwards to accommodate to keep my passion alive.”

Adding more credence to this are Kanika Bains, Liza Gogoi Marandi and Deepa Tandon.They believe that the culture in One97 is “simply brilliant, vibrant and totally something else”.

“People are young and ready to learn new things, they are creative and very transparent. We are given the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them rather than just follow blindly. This makes us not only grow as professionals but also as people. And, very importantly, this is a happy and safe place to work. ”

From all of the above, my understanding is these remarkable ladies at One97 are responsible for a lot of fun quotient in the company. They all concur together, “Celebrating Women’s day and birthday bashes require a special mention. We participate in spellbinding and rejuvenating activities and that is what blends into higher productivity and happier workplace. We have events round the year including the annual function and frequent outings which allow us to take charge and drive things within One97.”

So the question now is since most women at One97 are happy and assertive individuals, what more can be done to empower them even better? Kanika and Liza believe, “There’s a need to hire more women and place them in responsible positions. It will be great to look up to women leaders within One97 as they can bring such colourful ideas to the table.”

Agrees Deepa Tandon, “I think women play their role very efficiently and effectively here. Further enrichment would be toppings.”

To sum this all up, women are natural leaders simply because they have a lot of patience and are great multitaskers as well. They exactly know when to exercise firmness and when to be kind. Because they are sensible and sensitive to other’s needs, any organisation has to have women leaders in their company.

Great women trailblazers and pioneers such as Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Indra Nooyi of Pepsico, Dr Sudha Murthy of Infosys, Dr Kiran Bedi are all superb role models for generations of women to come. Here’s hoping that many women from One97 follow their passion and realise their grand dreams.

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