#PowerWomen: I am a Perfectionist who Romances My Job; I am the Happiest When Working: Aarti Mattoo
by Komal Parmar Industry Watch | March 12, 2021 | Interview
PowerWomen Aarti Mattoo Momentum Experiences & Events LLP
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series, we talk to Aarti Mattoo, Managing Director, Momentum Experiences and Events LLP about her journey. Mattoo has 15 years of expertise in curating and managing luxury events as well as large scale weddings. Each event of Momentum Group by her carries her signature style and stamp of innovation in design, spectacular entertainment experiences, visual artistry, sophisticated elegance and finest hospitality.
Here, Mattoo shares insights on her entry into the event industry, challenges faced, position of women in the industry, priorities and some advice for young women entering the events space.
HOW I CAME TO BE IN THE EVENT INDUSTRY
I was sent to Mumbai by my parents to study all by myself when I was just 18. I had come out of a protective home environment and was too naïve. The maximum city was mine to explore. This journey itself was enough to set a path for me. Encouragement from my parents and their broad-minded approach helped me set my feet firmly on the ground. Apart from earning pocket money as a junior freelancer at events (usually exhibitions), I happened to land my first job in an advertising firm where I was usually given the odd jobs and cold-calling assignments to brands and MNCs, etc. There, I learnt about brand promotions and the importance of experiential marketing for a brand. I enjoyed what I did. I learnt further and took my quest to the next level to take up experiential business as a career choice, which now is a life choice and happily so. Thus, came in jobs at Percept D’ Mark and Wizcraft International, the company that gave birth to many entrepreneurial babies. I worked like a crazy, passionate woman as if I wanted to grab it all in the shortest possible time. I was blessed to have seniors and peers who helped me through this phase. I loved the high energy momentum in events we created and soon, Momentum Experiences came to life as my single-handed entrepreneurial venture. From brand impressions to live events to corporate gigs, festivals, weddings and celebrations, we do it all and happily so… Having won about 30 odd awards at Momentum from EEMA, WOW, ICWF and more, I feel it’s still the beginning. I owe it all to life lessons and my wonderful team which I am privileged to have and be a part of. At Momentum, we are driven by design both in form and thought. My numerous challenges have made me who I am and I wear them like a badge without any regret. My biggest success is yet to come, many times over.
ON POSITION OF WOMEN IN THE INDUSTRY
At the outset, I would like to believe that our industry is very progressive in nature. But it is yet Work in Progress and we need to dig deeper and not just be superficial about gender equality. For me, work has to start at a level of thought. We need to stop making sexist comments and even hearing someone make them. We need to educate folks about gender equality and gender sensitivity. So, my advice to men and women is to step up for correction, don’t have stereotypes for any gender, as we cannot afford to build one more stereotype while resolving the existing ones. We cannot address gender bias by focusing only on women. It’s a global problem and unfortunately in India, it is only worse due to the mental make-up of our rural societies which forms a major chunk of our country. Yes, the scenario must change! Shift the focus from women to both genders, promote inclusivity. Men and women are not opposites; they are part of the same spectrum. First and foremost, we need to educate about gender unbias, in ways that cover more sub-conscious mindsets…
We need to have well-drafted policies not just for safety, but overall well-being of women and men at workplaces -policies that are highly visible at workplaces and taken seriously. We need to encourage victims to speak and act on cases of mental, physical and emotional harassment of either genders and set examples. We need to encourage people (not men, not women) to come out and voice their concerns about their long-term welfare and safety. This is even more relevant in smaller Tier III cities which are the developing markets of our industry. Safety is a fundamental human right. It shouldn’t be looked upon as luxury or an added expense. It must start from designing an office - like having a feeding room alongside a boardroom, investing in maternity chairs alongside a cool pool table, dedicate a fun kids’ area apart from a jazzy gymnasium. Even flexible timing and work from home options help a great deal. Each of us can do it in our own ways. We need to do this often within our workplaces and make that a trend and cool stuff to do. Globally, organisations which have these policies in place have observed a higher retention rate and even higher productivity and efficiency. We need to make conducive environments at the workplace for those entering parenthood or matrimony and develop a culture of work life balance. We must incorporate parental leave and not just maternity leave.
Many a time, I have been subjected to criticism, and even implicit gender bias, both intentional and unintentional. But I have always made it a point to set the tones right because it matters not just to me but all other women/people, our daughters and girls who would become our future leaders. They deserve to grow up in a world free of prejudice. I have taken objection to being told – ‘Oh! Being a woman, you achieved so much.’ My only retort to such comments is – being a woman is not a handicap or a disease. I object to someone telling my 8-year-old son ‘Do not cry like a girl’. Often, I need to back that with an explanation. Grassroot mindset changes are a must.
ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN ENTERING THE EVENT INDUSTRY
I wish I live to see this question re-framed only as ‘Advice to the young’. I hope a day comes when the advice is common for boys & girls…
However, as of now, I would say to girls – be a humanist before being a feminist. Look at yourself as a professional and not a working girl/woman. These thought changes at subconscious levels in the young will set a fabric of equality and gender-unbias, something we need to bring in. Boys and girls both must make this correction without being condescending and attacking.
Further, look beyond the limits. Set your goals high. Never limit yourself to a given designation. It will curb your power to grow or think bigger. Make bold choices, make mistakes - that's how you create a journey. If something scares you, go ahead and do it. These are things that will create memories and set an example for others to follow.
TALKING POINTS AT MOMENTUM
Our mantra at Momentum is ‘Learn, Unlearn and Relearn’.We believe in the continuous process of exploring different thoughts and realms to bring in the freshness in what we do. It's more like a stimulus action for us. We aim to bring in luxury in immersive experiences we curate in an unusual yet relatable way to clients. With clients having more accessibility and transparency over the process, we are able to build ideas that can assure them their money’s worth.
Pandemic being the biggest challenge in our working career, curating experiences inspite of COVID challenges is something we are excelling at. We are breaking our own stereotype of thinking and delivering ideas that are feasible for a small number of guests, distant seating, emphasising on hygiene and natural organic ways and yet delivering unforgettable experiences.
WHAT I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO
Realistically saying, we have bounced back to our usual salaries, which had been cut in view of the COVID backlash on business. Priorities are to keep them flowing. Personally, I would love to see even growth and incremental levels within the team. Rest, I am a perfectionist that romances my job, so I am the happiest when I am working or may I say romancing!
A HISTORIC EVENT THAT I WOULD LIKE TO WITNESS LIVE
Too many to name. For me, live events that connect and move audiences to goosebumps are worth every penny. I love watching motivating and promising speeches of various global leaders, live musical events that transport you to another world.
Continuing the EVENTFAQS #PowerWomen series, we talk to Aarti Mattoo, Managing Director, Momentum Experiences and Events LLP about her journey.