Anjana Gopinath, Manager – Media, Executive Relations and Events, IBS Software, Trivandrum, India
Hi Anjana, tell us a bit about your role and what you do
My role is varied and has evolved over the years. It covers PR and media relations, with a specific focus on India; I look after our Executive Chairman's PR engagements and industry relations. In addition, one of the most stimulating parts of my responsibilities, arranging events! I'm involved in our flagship customer events such as the IBS Cargo Forum.
What do you enjoy about events?
I love it all! The uncertainty, the last-minute workarounds, firefighting, the sleepless nights, the excitement of seeing a venue being set up step-by-step, the sense of fulfilment when the event draws to an end.
The opportunities to travel to different global locations, trying different cuisines, meeting different people, and networking, are added benefits of this role.
What did you study? Tell us about your early career
I did a degree in English Language, followed by a postgrad diploma in Journalism and Public Relations;
I started my career as a journalist in newspapers and worked on live TV at a regional station in Kerala.
How did you move into corporate communications?
I took a year-long career break and left the TV station after my daughter was born. I initially returned to the workplace at a government organisation based in Technopark, Trivandrum (one of India's largest IT parks); I handled PR, connected officials with senior editors, wrote press releases and newsletters.
During this time, I became quite familiar and well connected with people and companies in Technopark, including IBS Software, which back then, was a comparatively younger company. I joined in 2007 as a Business Associate in the Corporate Communications Department, working on a mix of projects - from regional PR to branding materials and ads.
Would you say this was a pivotal career moment?
Yes, indeed! Switching from the noise and chaos of the news desk of a TV station to the calm and utmost process-driven operations of a global tech organization, was a big cultural change; I needed a lot of handholding. In those days, I struggled with Excel and saved all my documents on my desktop!
I owe it all to my patient colleagues who've helped me learn the company systems and minimise errors.
What skills or attributes do you think are important to have a successful career in your role?
I would say networking capabilities, strong interpersonal skills, emotional intelligence and multitasking abilities; also, negotiation skills and a willingness to roll up your sleeves when needed. And I believe women possess most or all these skills, by nature.
Have you experienced any challenges in the workplace?
I have been fortunate enough to have managers and colleagues who have been extremely compassionate, empathetic and understanding any time I have felt low or faced challenges. The biggest factor is the trust the organization places on you. I believe it has made me more confident and committed.
Tell us about an inspirational woman in your life (apart from a family member)
My English teacher at school, I would even dress up like her in a sari! I was very fortunate, she was thorough and made sure we learnt the basics of grammar, in what was essentially, a foreign language for us. Because of her, I developed an interest in language and literature. She shaped my future career.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Be more persistent and don't lose focus on your interests and hobbies so quickly. Pursue badminton and dance; read more poetry.
My next trip will be to…
…Kashmir with my Dad. I have grown up listening to him talking about Kashmir as paradise on earth and how he would love to visit the place.
I'm currently listening to…
Being a Keralite and an Indian, old Malayalam and Hindi songs and ghazals are on my playlist.
My hobbies are…
…Driving. I'm a new driver, I learnt quite recently. Car journeys with loud music and good company is one of my most favourite pastimes.