From the UAE and joining us for this segment of Women In Marketing is Ketaki who is the Head of Marketing for Nando’s UAE. The Mumbai-born marketer actually holds bragging rights as a swimmer at national level! Nowadays, apart from her day to day as the marketing head, she is a student at the Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University completing her Masters. Are you also a member of the Avengers Ketaki? What a Powerhouse. Let’s learn more about her.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, KETAKI. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
Born in Mumbai, the City of Dreams in India.
Childhood memories will definitely be my family, especially the time with my younger brother. My mom was a career professional, so I have been like a second mother to my brother.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I had minimal interest in academia, but I did manage to complete my education. I have been a National level Swimmer, Gymnast and a Badminton player, totally inspired by my father, who also is a National level athlete. Absolute tomboy and an independent individual since childhood.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
I would be a dog. Loyal, faithful, selfless, affectionate and gentle, I believe these characteristics define me as a person.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Fish curry, rice and fish fry made by mom is pure love and strictly no sharing.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Invest sensibly; buy a massive, beautiful house and a few cars, pack my bags and globetrot; I love travelling.
Charity is on my list, supporting children’s education and supporting female victims of domestic violence. One thing I will never give up is my career; to maintain my sanity because I cannot afford to be idle.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUSWOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!
I love dancing.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I have a mixed bag of experiences, from Call Center management to Airlines to Food & Beverage and none of them was planned.
When I joined Nando’s UAE in 2013, as a Customer Care and Call Centre Manager little did, I know, I would be heading Marketing & PR for the brand in the UAE a few years down the line. A year after I joined Nando’s, I was approached by the then Marketing Manager to join the team and I developed a sense of liking towards marketing.
I am currently pursuing my master’s in International Marketing with a focus on Digital Marketing from (Edinburgh Business School) Heriot-Watt University in Dubai.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
Firstly, and honestly, #notamorningperson so the struggle is real. My black coffee is a kick starter.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
That’s not my area of expertise.
Work always wins. Having said that, I am really trying to hit the sweet spot and maintain a balance. Luckily, my husband is a workaholic too, and that saves the arguments at home. Post lockdown, I have started going to the gym and dance sessions. Pre Covid, I would say travel and movies balance it out for me.
SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?
Regardless of the gender or field of work, I believe what Oprah Winfrey said, “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Recognize them and be thankful to your mentors always. I have been lucky to have a female and a male mentor.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Give your 100% without compromising your sanity. Life will always be busy in the general rush of things; find your spot and stand your ground.
JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?
I wouldn’t say job-hopping is either good or bad, it’s an individual’s choice. Also, it depends on what is the goal one is trying to achieve, is it the position or the money for which you are jumping? (these can be the practical reasons).
People also switch jobs, because they are bored too quickly. In my case, I have spent 6 and 8 years respectively in the last 2 companies I have worked for. Having said that, I have switched departments but grown and learned a lot.
FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?
Women constitute an important workforce in every society all over the world. A woman’s ability to carry out challenging tasks and be an all-rounder is a trait she possesses.
Fighting gender discrimination and standing out in this male-dominated world (which is changing now) itself is a challenge. I personally believe that gender inequality is the bitter truth which needs to dissolve. Yet again, having worked with a female and a male CMO, I would say has been a pleasure.
REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?
Challenges are faced by every individual climbing the career ladder, irrespective of the gender. However, women face more hurdles as they go up due to cultural & gender-related misgivings. For men, it is difficult to take orders from a woman and it’s my personal experience which talks.
The only way to address it is to respect each other as individuals and work together, leaving the biases behind.
ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER. THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES?
I believe most of us never thought of giving the “work from home” concept a chance and it probably is because of the traditional work or office environment we have adapted to for ages.
In my opinion, as far as the employee is productive and is delivering on the job, he or she can work from a jungle or a garden too, whatever makes them happy. Yes, team meetings or gathering can still happen.
WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?
Of course, we love working from home.
Very rightly said, employees are “Always On” and the reason is, they could not step out of their house and be practically locked up during the pandemic. Today, when the restrictions have eased in some parts of the world, working from home is not as bad as it was during the lockdown period.
I speak based on my personal experience. More than the employers, the employees should prioritize their health and well-being as opposed to burning out.
BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE?
You know the saying, “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” Well, if nothing changes, we stay the same. If something makes a positive difference, resolves your issues, then it is innovative. Innovation is a need.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
Marketing is an ever-evolving process, from tradition to digital was a leap in itself.
Influencer marketing or celebrity endorsements have been there for long now. The question is, are these influencers “real”? Do they actually use the advertised products, or do they believe in the products? If the answer is yes, I would consider that as influencer marketing. Or else, any genuine customer who is actually promoting the brand is a high-value micro-influencer for me.
Community management is very important; the exchange of dialogue between the brand and its consumers has its own beauty.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Enjoy and cherish every passing day; every moment has its own beauty. I am proud of what I have achieved as my younger self.
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
Professionally, absolutely nothing specific.
I am a happy person, and I don’t have pain points, I welcome each day and every task with a smile.
Personally, I managed to marry the love of my life and that in itself is an achievement for me! LOL.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Further education was on the bucket list; I am finishing my Master’s in International Marketing with Digital Marketing from (Edinburgh Business School) Heriot-Watt University in Dubai this year. Yayyyy!
A world tour sounds cliché, right? My husband and I love travelling; every year we make sure we take one international trip either on his or my birthday. My feet are itching (hahaha); can’t wait to pack our bags and get on that plane.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
My mother for sure. Oh, I have learnt so much from her. She is an independent and self-made woman who has achieved great success in her career too.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am not much of a reader. I digitally consume content – news, fiction, non-fiction.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I haven’t missed a calling for sure. A doctor maybe. Or let’s say, similar to this life, let’s not plan it; let life surprise me yet again.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
F.R.I.E.N.D.S (Always On). I am currently watching The Crown.
Also, waiting for the new seasons of Fauda and Designated Survivor.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
The people I love or are close to me, are always in touch. I recently met all my close ones at my wedding.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
a) Shivani Sharma, Nando’s India Marketing Head
b) Faiza Musawer, Nando’s Pakistan Marketing Head
c) Maipelo Moatshe, Nando’s Botswana Marketing Head
d) Ashleigh Kerr, Nando’s IMEA Digital Marketing Manager
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Adapting to change will keep you relevant and help you grow. The journey may not be as planned or smooth but believe in yourself and look forward.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME KETAKI. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
@nandosuae – on Facebook and Instagram
Nando’s UAE – on LinkedIn