#PowerWomen: We Should Ensure Equal Respect, Equal Visibility and Equal Learning - Sushma Gaikwad

Industry Watch | February 11, 2021 | Interview

Sushma Gaikwad Ice Global Wizcraft MIME Sukhoon PowerWomen

In the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we begin the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series of interviews with leading women professionals of the events industry.

Here, we talk to Sushma Gaikwad, an entrepreneur with over 28 years of experience, who has co-founded Ice Global and Wizcraft MIME, and also started an initiative dedicated to holistic wellness and well-being called Sukhoon. She is a great experiential communication specialist, a leadership coach, an educationist and one of the first few women who joined the events industry.

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Sushma Gaikwad, Co-founder, Ice Global and Wizcraft MIME, shares insights on her journey in the events industry, challenges faced in the early years, position of women in the industry today, future plans at Ice Global and Wizcraft MIME, advice for young women entering the events industry and more.

HOW I CAME TO BE IN THE EVENTS INDUSTRY
I began about 28 years ago, when there was literally no technology. The events industry was not really an industry. In fact, we were called event organizers and we had to actually go to clients and educate them on the need to have us on board. In 1993, when I began my career, I never considered myself a woman; I only considered myself a professional. As an event manager, I learnt to do the finances, production and show running, as in those days we had to do everything ourselves. I enjoyed the corporate events, loved understanding brands and taking them ahead, that's what I started specializing in. I took the next leap in 1997 and joined an agency. I worked out of London with the company that was strategizing corporate identity. It was very interesting for me because I came back in 2000 and set up my own enterprise. I'm so happy to see that after 21 years, I am strategizing on various initiatives.

I would say that my career’s high point is not necessarily an event that I did, or a strategic consultation I did. Education is the high point of my career.

ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
Respect, mutual admiration, a great amount of trust, bonding that has happened with all my male counterparts in the industry, who have always treated me with utmost respect, utmost love and utmost grace. Yet, in the larger perspective of the events industry, I think we really need to take a look at how we protect talent, especially women’s talent. Safety is also an important consideration because times have changed. We should ensure that we present women artistes with as much grace as they deserve, ensuring that we give every woman an equal pay opportunity. Is there gender equality in the industry? We need to ask ourselves this question. It is also important to highlight the women leaders, I think that’s not really happening. Not just women leaders, there's so much that every talented woman can do. We have to work together to ensure that there is equal respect, equal visibility and equal learning for both the genders.

FUTURE PLANS FOR ICE GLOBAL, WIZCRAFT MIME AND SUKHOON
Sukhoon is an initiative that focuses on holistic wellness, it aims on aligning four fields - our physical field, our emotional field, our mental field and our spiritual field. We have been working with various coaches, healers, holistic trainers, Vedic specialists and they've been having great conversations. Now as a part of Sukhoon, I'm about to launch the personal success blueprint.

The plan with Ice Global is very simple: we've got two verticals, a global experiential consultancy, which is doing very well, because in lockdown a very important aspect was consultancy with the corporate sector. We have another vertical, which is the learning and development vertical, which has been growing magnificently in this past year. Our whole team has actually learnt and grown alongside it. We've been very fortunate that our clients have been there for us too.

At the Management Institute of Media and Entertainment (MIME), there is a singular vision of going global. I want to provide an opportunity for our future generation to learn from global giants and to take India global because we have really created an industry that is magnificent. I really captured all my learnings and put my heart and soul into Wizcraft MIME courses. Very soon, I will be reaching out to people for help to get the message out, so that we can get as many people as we can the value they deserve.

ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENTS INDUSTRY
Number one, treat yourself with respect, because when you treat yourself with respect and honour, everybody else will respect and honour you. I've always heard this from a lot of my female students - how can we convince our parents to allow us to enter this industry? Number two, on how you can convince your parents, is to not convince them, instead, explain to them your vision, and roll them into your idea and enable them to see that you're capable of meeting a vision. Number three, my humble advice today is, do not enter the industry thinking it's a glamour industry. Work hard and focus on the industry; it has a lot to offer you. You can grow as an individual, you can learn how to get teams working, you can learn the art of project management, you can learn to become highly creative. You can learn how to actually work on very high stress levels and yet deliver on strong deadlines. Never be afraid to work hard because when you work hard, it shows.

Number four, always strive for excellence; mediocrity only goes a distance, excellence is what will get you recognition and respect. if you're really eager on joining this industry, ensure that you're only striving for excellence.

Last but not least, always be humble, because this industry is about people; it is a team sport, you cannot work alone. So, humility and real, genuine love and affection and respect for other people will go a long way for you to make a mark in this industry.

In the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we begin the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series of interviews with Sushma Gaikwad,co-founder of Ice Global, Wizcraft MIME and Sukhoon.

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