#PowerWomen: Ours is really the only industry that does not have too much of gender bias:Niyati Vora
by Mugdha Gaonkar Industry Watch | February 25, 2021 | Interview
Niyati Vora Wizcraft International PowerWomen EVENTFAQS Media
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Niyati Vora, Vice President - Western Region Brand Activation, Wizcraft International, about her journey in the event industry.
Vora has spearheaded and managed several mega corporate events for one of India’s leading agencies, Wizcraft International, as well as lent her strategic foresight for some of the biggest brand launches and events.
Here, she shares insights on her entry into the events industry, challenges, position of women in the industry, priorities at work, advice for young women entering the events sector and more.
HOW I CAME TO BE IN THE EVENTS INDUSTRY
What really got me hooked onto the career aspect of events was the fact that I stood outside the MJ concert with my friends. I was in 12th then and I was so drawn with this entire experience of one artiste being able to pull so much of attention, crowd, brands, everyone together, that I said, “This is something that I really want to do.”
And I was not sure what it was called or how it was done but I just knew that this is what I wanted to do. And this is where I need to be if I want to be creating this kind of an influence around. So that's what I did.
My first challenge was to convince my family that I'm going to do my MBA but I want to join the event industry. And they felt, ‘Why do you want to do something fancy after studying so much?’ In my mind, the logic was very simple: BTL or events – now it's called brand activation – is an extension of marketing. So, while you have television, print advertising, radio and social media, brand activation is the only medium that really connects the brands to the consumers, one on one, directly. So, I felt that me being a marketing person would be able to bring that value in thinking in events.
My second challenge was to bring about a sense of understanding within my teams. I was an absolute fresher out of MBA college. I had gone into a large company. And my clients – for them we were partners, on-ground marketers, who would help them connect with their consumers. Now that consumer can be an HR person, a dealer, media, can be anyone who's going to be buying a product. I think those were really the challenges in my mind.
And of course, we have life challenges for women about getting married and kids. But I did not have so many challenges because in my mind, I decided I wanted it all. So, if you have decided it's quite easy to do, honestly. Because it's up to you, to take this as a challenge or take it as an opportunity. It's your perspective that really helps you grow beyond and that's something I really saw.
I've been extremely blessed with the fact that whenever I felt that there was something that needed to be done beyond the scope of my work, I've always worked towards what I believed in. So, I was able to re-establish HR in my company, re-establish corporate communications, which are two large processes within a company that bind the people together and bind the communication from us to the outside world. This is apart from my servicing or activation role. But these two things I was able to do over and above, because I was extremely proactive and enthusiastic.
A second achievement, I think, is that my clients have over time become my friends and my well-wishers. They understand me, they know that I'm their partner and they can rely on me for getting their communication across. And that's what my achievement is. And I think what I'm most proud about is that I have, over the years, mentored a lot of my team members who have become better professionals. And they've had great successes in the corporate world, once they stepped out of Wizcraft and the team.
ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
Event industry is really the only industry that does not have too much of a gender bias. The ratio of men versus women is different; the women are more than the men. So that part is kind of taken care of. I see no bias, because generally men in the events industry have been extremely understanding, very loving, caring, graceful, all of that.
And in terms of the scenario, what to change... I think the whole world needs to change, they all need to accept that a woman can do much more than what she can do at home. It’s not limited to one industry.
We are not talking about equal rights, we're talking about basic respect, about what she brings to the table, and women have to respect what men bring to the table. I think that's not happening, that imbalance is what is causing all the stress.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENTS INDUSTRY
Firstly, completing education is very important; that much more exposure you get and that much more experience. Secondly, don't think that just doing graduation is enough. You must actually further educate yourself and go to an MBA marketing sort of course because like I said earlier, we are a marketing extension, an arm. People may not see that, but believe me, our sense of thinking really puts us apart.
The next important thing is news. People don't take it seriously. Kids nowadays don't read news. They read news on Twitter, that's not really news. You have to really understand how to read news, business news. Because if you don't know what's happening in the economy and the business, you don't know what's happening with your clients. And if you don't know what's happening with your clients, how are you going to come back with a strategy that helps them?
Have humility and honesty. Don't think that you met Amitabh Bachchan or Salman Khan and you are now the hero of all. That's not how it is. You must have the humility. And this is especially true for women – once women achieve many things, they somehow get very prideful.
Fourth point is there is no substitute for hard work. There is no shortcut to success.
And a very specific point for women I would say is that women have more responsibilities in life. So therefore, they must be clear in their mind how they want to keep the work and home balance. It's they who will decide their priorities. Nobody else can help them. They should not expect support from anyone, whether it's their husbands or families, because you have to be self-reliant. And once you have decided, everything will fall into place.
ON CELEBRATING 33 YEAR OF WIZCRAFT
I think the strength of Wizcraft is its people. We call ourselves Wizzes. So, there is no gender bias, there is no Mr. and Mrs. Second part is that the environment and the culture is extremely encouraging, which means that you at a very young age are able to take decisions, and therefore you are able to grow that much more. This is across departments. And therefore, I think this is why maximum creativity comes in, a lot of technical progress comes in, a lot of the partnership possibilities come in, because you're not restricted by a certain world and you are free to imbibe so many things that you learn from outside.
I think the freedom that we get here is what makes us different. You will really not see too many companies with so many leaders. I've been there 22 years. Next week we will be celebrating Wizzes who have completed decade and beyond and there are 19 of us.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO
So, for Wizcraft, I want my team to be very agile, I want them to be pre-emptive, in this dynamic situation. We were just blessed and lucky that we were able to adapt to the COVID norms really fast. But it was still reactive, it was not pre-emptive.
A HISTORICAL EVENT I WOULD LIKE TO WITNESS LIVE
Mahabharat or the Krishna advice, because there's so much to learn from that event. I feel we haven't really done our bit of learning.
A second will be the opening of Disneyland Park. It’s a world of events. From the time you buy your ticket, to the time you're entering that gate. It's an experience. So, if someone wants to really learn what it is to create an experience, they must visit.
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Niyati Vora, Wizcraft International, about her journey in the industry.