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Agency Life

The Scientist

The Scientist

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

April 17, 2019

Havas Media Group’s Anita Nayyar on her blood, sweat, and cheers journey in the business.

"It’s been my sincerity and hard work that has gotten me to this stage in my profession."

A former pathologist, Havas Media Group’s India and Southeast Asia CEO Anita Nayyar shares how she got her start in the advertising world and the best and worst advice she’s ever received.

 

What drives you?

Anything and everything that is challenging.

What attracted you to a career in media?

I ventured into media and advertising by accident. I am a microbiologist and pathologist by academics— followed by postgrad in advertising and marketing and business management and a masters in management. It is my drive to seek something different and challenging that made me explore media in the early ’80s, as my job with a blood bank as a pathologist gave me a lot of free time.

My first job was with an agency called Interpublicity Pvt Ltd and I got in straight after I was interviewed.

It was too early for me to understand what attracted me to media apart from it being dramatically different from what I was doing. My knowledge from my post-grad degrees in advertising and marketing and business management laid the foundation. So I grabbed the first job that came my way, and it happened to be in media.

What have been your biggest career challenges? Your biggest accomplishments, so far?

Career Challenges: Mad Ad World with hardly any women especially 3+ decades back…that too with absolutely no mentors in the industry.

Accomplishments: It’s been my sincerity and hard work that has gotten me to this stage in my profession.

Why Havas Media?

Havas gave me the opportunity to expand my area of operation. I stepped into a country head role at MPG (way back in 2007).

What are you really good at?

Leading and being hands-on at the same time.

What do you hope to get better at?

Learning on an ongoing basis.

How do you inspire others?

By continuing to be human and leading from the top.

"This part of the world is different. It is that stark difference between developing and developed economies."

What inspires you?

Everything and anything I learn from.

When people outside of the industry ask about your role, how do you describe your position?

Working hard to grow Havas Media.

So, you had the honor of being a juror on the India Young Lions competition in the media category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. What’s it like being a judge of this impressionable group of young professionals? Did you feel extreme pressure?

Apart from the above, I was the only Indian to ever be the Media Jury President at D&AD. It felt great to be able to adapt myself and my thinking to this impressionable group of young professionals. It was a great opportunity to be able to get into the skin of this newer and younger generation. Loads to learn from them.

How does the media industry in India and Southeast Asia compared to other major markets, like the U.S., the U.K., and France?

This part of the world is different. It is that stark difference between developing and developed economies. Developing economies are not saturated. There is so much more scope for growth and they have a far more entrepreneurial approach as compared to the west.

Tell us the best advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst?

Best: Be true to your profession.

Worst: Tread with caution.

What do you wish that you could change about the industry?

Wish there was more respect.

What do you hope stays the same?

Change is the only constant.

"It’s been my sincerity and hard work that has gotten me to this stage in my profession."

A former pathologist, Havas Media Group’s India and Southeast Asia CEO Anita Nayyar shares how she got her start in the advertising world and the best and worst advice she’s ever received.

 

What drives you?

Anything and everything that is challenging.

What attracted you to a career in media?

I ventured into media and advertising by accident. I am a microbiologist and pathologist by academics— followed by postgrad in advertising and marketing and business management and a masters in management. It is my drive to seek something different and challenging that made me explore media in the early ’80s, as my job with a blood bank as a pathologist gave me a lot of free time.

My first job was with an agency called Interpublicity Pvt Ltd and I got in straight after I was interviewed.

It was too early for me to understand what attracted me to media apart from it being dramatically different from what I was doing. My knowledge from my post-grad degrees in advertising and marketing and business management laid the foundation. So I grabbed the first job that came my way, and it happened to be in media.

What have been your biggest career challenges? Your biggest accomplishments, so far?

Career Challenges: Mad Ad World with hardly any women especially 3+ decades back…that too with absolutely no mentors in the industry.

Accomplishments: It’s been my sincerity and hard work that has gotten me to this stage in my profession.

Why Havas Media?

Havas gave me the opportunity to expand my area of operation. I stepped into a country head role at MPG (way back in 2007).

What are you really good at?

Leading and being hands-on at the same time.

What do you hope to get better at?

Learning on an ongoing basis.

How do you inspire others?

By continuing to be human and leading from the top.

"This part of the world is different. It is that stark difference between developing and developed economies."

What inspires you?

Everything and anything I learn from.

When people outside of the industry ask about your role, how do you describe your position?

Working hard to grow Havas Media.

So, you had the honor of being a juror on the India Young Lions competition in the media category at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. What’s it like being a judge of this impressionable group of young professionals? Did you feel extreme pressure?

Apart from the above, I was the only Indian to ever be the Media Jury President at D&AD. It felt great to be able to adapt myself and my thinking to this impressionable group of young professionals. It was a great opportunity to be able to get into the skin of this newer and younger generation. Loads to learn from them.

How does the media industry in India and Southeast Asia compared to other major markets, like the U.S., the U.K., and France?

This part of the world is different. It is that stark difference between developing and developed economies. Developing economies are not saturated. There is so much more scope for growth and they have a far more entrepreneurial approach as compared to the west.

Tell us the best advice you’ve ever gotten? The worst?

Best: Be true to your profession.

Worst: Tread with caution.

What do you wish that you could change about the industry?

Wish there was more respect.

What do you hope stays the same?

Change is the only constant.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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