#PowerWomen: Give Women More Visibility, Opportunities and Credit, Says Rahi Shaikh
by Komal Parmar Industry Watch | March 1, 2021 | Interview
Rahi Shaikh BOI Media Actfaqs.com PowerWomen
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Rahi Shaikh, Founder Director, BOI Media and Actfaqs.com, about her journey in the event industry.
Rahi Shaikh has been in the industry for two decades, and her proficiency is in integrating and curating experiential entertainment solutions for brands. She has been working closely with brands and their marketing support agencies in providing comprehensive solution in the mentioned domain.
Here, Shaikh shares insights on her entry into the event 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 EVENT INDUSTRY
It’s been two decades now in this industry, and when I look back, I feel I have just started. As a student, I never wanted to sit idle, so I applied and got myself a summer job as a public relations officer for a marketing portal. It was a short stint, but it fetched me another opportunity to do research work for one of our current clients, who at that time had introduced me to events. Those days, once you were working for a company, you had to do all kinds of jobs, from costing, client servicing, creatives and communication, logistics handling, etc. Since I came with an open mind of learning, it actually engulfed me. I thoroughly enjoyed working with brands from various industries, it also helped me for my course work. I believe everything happens for a good reason, and I was destined to be part of this industry. Because of my passion and commitment towards the work, I grew faster in hierarchy and led a good team under me at a young age. The journey has been great so far, though the process of learning and adapting continues. Of course, I also had a few bumpy rides, but those made me more agile and strong.
The biggest challenge I faced was of being my own boss at an early stage of my life. I wanted to do something different, so I started something new those days called ‘ACT Engagement’, it made us quite popular with our corporate clients as this service helped them to plan one of the key aspects in a brand’s life-cycle. The responsibility of being your own boss keeps you alert and vigilant throughout; it’s actually a different high.My biggest success is yet to come, there is still so much to learn and achieve. But I must say I have loved every bit of my journey so far, and look forward to new milestones.
ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
Since I am the only child of my parents, I was brought up with the mindset of ‘You can do it all, nothing can stop you’. Women across all industries in today’s world have been encouraged and empowered; yes, there are hiccups too, but I can see the perception is changing and it’s for the good, and in most sectors, we have strong women leaders. A current and classic example across the world is women leading the fight against COVID by being frontline runners; that’s why the theme for this year’s International Women's Day on March 8 is ‘Achieving equal future in a COVID world’. Women are best suited to lead the event and experiential industry, we are good multi-taskers, resilient, good team players… our tolerance capability is higher and we are very hard-working. But our industry is still not fully ready to accept that women can do it all; there are still a lot of areas that they are kept away from. The perception has to change, and more visibility, opportunities and credit has to be given to women. The EEMA initiative of ‘WeCare’ is a great start for our industry. We must take a pledge to give women due credit, respect that they deserve equal responsibility, and encourage them to participate in all decision-making. My team has a 60:40 ratio of girls to boys. We empower and encourage them to take their own decisions, learn and be responsible.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENT INDUSTRY
Firstly, believe in yourself, you know you can do it all… enter the industry with an open mind to learn, adapt and excel. Anything you do with passion and dedication will always lead you to excel and achieve in life. The industry has lots to offer you in terms of self-development, being a good team player, being agile and exploring the world. Don’t let your potential be undermined. Maybe you will be the one to bring in a new dimension to our industry and create history.
TALKING POINTS AT BOI MEDIA
We felt the pandemic right before it hit India, due to a lot of our international projects getting postponed or cancelled at the beginning of February. That prepared us to understand what we were headed for. We started as early as April with virtual events; as we were educating ourselves, we educated our clients too. This kept us busy and our minds functioned in the constructive direction of adapting and innovating, as we were going through the changes. It’s extremely sad to see that we are the worst hit industry globally, and also will mostly be the last one to recover. BOI was fast in responding to the situation, though there were very harsh decisions that we had to take, which helped us in certain ways.
Now, we are gearing up for the new financial year which we believe will be a come-back for the experiential industry with hybrid events taking centre-stage. The key area will be to focus on innovation, knowledge-sharing, consolidation and adapting to the new realm of digital and hybrid.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO
Our priorities will be to stay focused and relevant. The pandemic is expected to be there till this year-end, and we want to be prepared. My goal is also to have a highly motivated team. The future for us is surely in industry consolidation, strategic tie-ups and integration, and I look forward to it.
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series in the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8, we talk to Rahi Shaikh of BOI Media and Actfaqs.com, about her journey in the event industry.