An Ode to Womanhood: #Eventprofs Talk About Inspirational Women in the Industry & Their Contribution

Industry Watch | March 8, 2018 | News

Sabbas Joseph Papa CJ

One of the most common misconceptions about the Indian events and experiential industry for years has been that ours is truly a line of business that is mostly dominated by men. Interestingly, industry veterans who have truly seen the Indian experiential realm evolve over the years reveal that women as #eventprofs have always outperformed their male counterparts since the very inception of the industry. The women today too, continue to rule the Indian experiential industry with their wondrous vision, unparalleled creativity, and exceptional hard work & dedication.

On this special occasion of Women’s Day, we at EVENTFAQS reached out several event industry veterans who talked about the contribution of women in the business and also named achievers who according to them have inspired millions in the process.


                  Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft International and President, EEMA

The contribution being made by women across the experiential industry is phenomenal. Consider these stats: 45% of EEMA’s National Executive comprises women leaders; 35% of EEMA companies are led by women entrepreneurs; more than 45% of the event industry’s management teams comprise women and almost 50% of the workforce comprises women. We need to make our organizations’ and facilities more women-friendly in order to ensure that we get the best out of our workforce.

I’ve always openly said that women are more creative, passionate, dedicated and organized with a proven ability to multi-task. Sometimes the only thing that holds them back is our fear as men ...afraid of having ‘them’ in charge. I’d love to celebrate the women in our industry today and every day.

A big shout out to our Wiz  wives Punam, Geetika, Sona.... and the special women who’ve made the last four years of my EEMA Experience worthwhile: Sushma Gaikwad, Poonam Lal, Tabassum Modi, Meenu Varma, Rakhi Kankaria, Anjali Pasricha, Karishma Hundalani, Manika Garg, Anushree and Prerna, Reema Sanghvi, Gitikka Ganju Dhar, Aarti Mattoo, Mudrika Dhoka, Sapna Subramanium and Shivaani Sen, Shikha Jain, Priya Arora, Sonal Sharma, Sonal Chaturvedi, Simi Banga, Jean Menezes and Charmaine Tellis.... the list is endless. A special shout-out to our Wiz women leaders: Niyati Vora, Triveni Makhija, Maya Sami, Geeta Gandotra, Prapti Malhotra, Jasveen Kohli, Naushina Merchant.... again an endless list! All I can say is that you ladies make our industry eventful and worth living for!

                                    Michael Menezes, Chairman, Showtime Events

I believe women today have become the key drivers of some of the most successful and respected event management companies in the country today! From being a mere 10% of the workforce of our industry barely a decade ago, that number is almost 50% today, a fitting tribute to the creativity and management skills of the Indian women! More power to them.

                   Roshan Abbas, Managing Director, Geometry Global Encompass Network

I remember in my early days as an anchor I worked with Vandana Mohan of Backstage Productions. From handling models to clients to the production she did it with an all-girls’ team and with aplomb. Even today she is a force to reckon with. What has not changed is her cool quotient and her smile!

Closer home at Geometry Encompass our client's focus, creative zeal and moral compass is all due to a set of women who lead us in every department. Our National Talent Head Reshma, our Regional Heads Nupur and Chanda, Special Projects Head Tanu, Creative Head Supriya, Planning Head Hema, Content Head Arati and Shopper Head Aradhee! They are all Wonder Women and Khaleesi's!

                             Thanush Joseph, Director - Marketing, ‎Seventy EMG

Kainaz Sethna - Mother of twins and Director of 7Steps is one person I’d like to salute this Women’s Day. Kai manages to overlook the HR function along with the demanding HNI wedding clientele and the teams. Women like her and womenkind should be celebrated each day, not just on Women’s day!

                                          Shaju I Ignatius, Director, The Ignite Enterprise

Though there have been a lot of women in our industry who have stood tall because of their work but the one person I would like to salute on this day is Sushma Prabhu Gaikwad who dons multiple hats of being a colleague, friend, sister, daughter, wife, mother, entrepreneur, teacher, guide, leader and still manages to play also these roles beyond perfection.

Right from the early days when I first met Sushma at work (more than two decades ago) - she was always inspiring and motivating. And to date, she continues to do the same, to me - as well as to the many colleagues, friends, and associates I’ve known along with her. She truly stood tall amongst us boys, especially at a time when we were cluttered in organised chaos, and still trying to understand the business we were in.

Sushma took great pleasure and pride in her work and clearly set a benchmark for many to follow in her footsteps. I must also mention about our trailblazer - Nisha Arora, our mother-figure then at Wiz who injected the passion and madness of events into both Sushma and me. When Sushma began her entrepreneurial journey, there came the challenge of balancing her personal life - marriage, and motherhood. I’m so happy to see her blessed life partnership with Pramod, and the fabulous parenting to their son Josh.  Subsequently, she treaded onto newer paths, and knowledge sharing became a whole new world for her. Multitudes stand to benefit from her coaching and experiences. And most importantly to be inspired by her. Cheers to you Sushma you are an absolute Powerhouse of the Industry.

                                          Ankur Kalra, CEO, Vibgyor Brand Services

One person in the event industry I really admire and adore is Gitikka Ganju Dhar, I have seen her evolve over the years and reinvent herself multiple times. Today, even after 20 years of being in the business, she is perhaps still the most dependable emcee in the country. She is an amazing wife, mom, professional and a lovely human being. I salute her on Women’s Day!

                                         Siddhartha Chaturvedi - CEO - Event Crafter

Our industry is slowly moving from what is normally referred to gender equality issue at work to women dominant industry standpoint. Women are at the leadership position in most of the agencies now including mine and this only proves the point that they are just not as good as we men but even better at the work we are doing.

There are so many exemplary women leaders around us but if I have to name one, I will say Poonam Lal is a great leader in experiential space. Not only she is leading her agency amazingly well since years but also champions the cause of women empowerment in our industry space by religiously and rigorously pushing the 'We Care' initiative at EEMA. More power to women power!

                                   Shashank Gupta, Chief Dreamer & Nurturer, Brandwidth Events

“If you want to get a plan, go to a man but if you want it to be done, go to a woman.” The experiential industry in India has been blessed to have great women who have planned, created, executed and performed at some of the biggest possible experiences created by our industry. Nothing can match the creative thought, the thorough planning, the eye for detail and the aggression with which our female counterparts drive this industry towards perfection.

I thank all the women in our industry who have helped me at some point as a boss, as a colleague, as an artist, as competitors, and as friends. Cheers!

                                              Bhavnesh Sawhney, Director, Wedniksha

Women are both - powerful and fragile. I have had the chance to work with some of them and their eye for detail and clarity of thought always amazes me. I think today is a great day to celebrate and thank them for being the wonderful selves they are.

         Avinash Oza, Heads Rural Activation, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd's, Farm Division

I would like to acknowledge Nidhi Singh from Impact Communications Pvt. Ltd. Delhi on this Women's Day. Nidhi's contribution in events and experiential industry is phenomenal and exemplary. I wish her and team Impact good luck in all the future endeavors.

                        Devraj Sanyal, MD & CEO, India & South Asia - ‎Universal Music Group

Our women in the experiential Industry are a class apart. They are hugely dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate beyond the brief. It’s very heartening to watch our women colleagues work shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts at all levels including being owner CEO’s. I’ve had the privilege of working alongside as well as had some senior colleagues work for me these past decades on the experiential entertainment space. Nazneen Karimi, Shubhra Bharadwaj, Sushma Prabhu Gaikwad, Tina Bijlani, Kamal Sehmbi, Mandira Bedi, Ramona Arena are some of the women I admire from various parts of the business.

                                        Vinod Janardhan, Director, Team Rustic

It’s hard for me to think beyond Maya Janardhan, but I know for a reality that Maya and many like her in the industry are the actual backbones of flourishing organizations. Some working behind the scenes and others heading teams and providing guidance to businesses and this industry at large. All should be celebrated today. You guys know who you’ll are... so, take a bow!

                                                Papa CJ, Stand-Up Comedian

I’d like to acknowledge Karishma Hundalani from EVENTFAQS for the wonderful work that she does for the entire events fraternity. She is also an absolute joy to work with.

                Nitin Sharma, ‎Chief Ideator - ‎Strategic Engagement and Event Solutions (SEES)

Though there are a lot of inspirational women in the Indian events industry but Preeti Khanna of DDPPL Pvt. Ltd is one woman I really look up to. She is courageous, always eager to learn and has such a modest approach to even the biggest of her achievements. Love the way she takes the lead being an example of change. Such women need to celebrate each day of the year. 

Disclaimer: While we tried hard to collect pictures of all these celebrated Women, this Women’s Day, we do apologize for missing many of those mentioned.

One of the most common misconceptions about the Indian events and experiential industry for years has been that ours is truly a line of business that is mostly dominated by men.

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