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Tina Garg, CEO of Pink Lemonade has created an environment that welcomes more and more women into her team.
Tina Garg has built design and communication agency Pink Lemonade in a highly competitive business environment. In just 4 years, she grew the business from a handful of employees to a 35 member team.
Tina will be sharing her learning on growing a business at our upcoming Breaking Barriers to Business Growth event (in the Bangalore edition) for women who are entrepreneurs or self-employed as freelancers, and looking to grow into running a larger business. (Get your event pass now, to be part of a high energy event, and learn with and from successful women!)
Prior to the event, we caught up with her on how she scaled her business, as well as what it’s like to run an organisation where women are a large part of the team, and not an ‘exception.’
Was there an ‘a-ha’ moment when you decided to become an entrepreneur? Or was it a more gradual realisation of the path you wanted to take? Tell us how it went!
Tina Garg: Starting Pink Lemonade happened gradually, but my real ‘a-ha’ moment was when Pink Lemonade was already formed and it started to grow more rapidly than we had imagined! Work just kept pouring in so it made sense to expand at the rate that we did. I am proud to say that the organization, in a mere 3-4 years, has grown beyond me to comprise a team of 35 committed individuals.
The business communication/advertising/creative space is a highly competitive one – tell us a little about your journey; how easy/difficult has it been? What do you do to stay relevant in this competitive industry?
Tina Garg: Yes, I agree – we work in a highly competitive space. Our journey has been wonderful and like I mentioned, work has just kept flowing in. Even today, more than 90% of our business comes from word of mouth. It has been challenging but we’ve had some great learnings along the way, especially when venturing into unfamiliar domains. We are proud of the many firsts we’ve had – the first video shoot, our first photo shoot, our first manufacturing sector project, the first overseas – each one has been a milestone for Pink Lemonade and has been critical in our journey of growth and learning.
Otherwise, of course, the purpose of any communication is to evoke relevant response from the target audience. To achieve this, we constantly strive to better our work, acquire new skills, evolve, and raise the bar for ourselves and our clients. We never forget to chase latest communication trends or keep tabs on our competition. Making a mark in the creative/communications field is about continuously upping our game and being up to speed on developments happening in the various domains we deal with.
Then of course, we also have internal workshops and knowledge-sharing sessions.
Nidhi Srikanth, Design Team Lead, adds, “We keep abreast of award-winning designs, follow reputed design blogs, and watch out for interesting designers on the web. It’s also important to know what other agencies are doing and keep an eye out for design inspiration everywhere and in everything. One of the recent introductions at Pink Lemonade are specific internal team challenges – the latest one being the UI/UX challenge. All our team members are at the moment busy conceptualizing and designing a cutting-edge UI app for which we have announced big prize money. It’s interesting to see how copywriters and designers come together to do this.
We take pride in delivering bang on to the needs of our clients while working within tight deadlines.
Coming to the Pink Lemonade team that has a high proportion of female employees – while I understand that wasn’t out of a conscious design, do you find that a female-heavy workplace is different in some ways?
Tina Garg: I find that everybody at Pink Lemonade is very attached to the organization and has its best interests at heart. Though it wasn’t a conscious decision to have more women, we’ve found that they tend to take charge once they are given responsibility. Everyone at Pink Lemonade treats it as their second home, and when you treat something as your own, you’re bound to go all out and give it your all – that’s something that women naturally bring to a workplace! Unlike common perception, female-heavy workplaces need not be gossipy and negative. People believe that women bosses are not easy to report to, but most of the bosses here are women and we’ve never had gaping issues.
Here’s something from the others’ perspective and what made them join Pink Lemonade:
Sudhir Ramachandra, Delivery Head, adds a male perspective here, “I can be politically correct and say a lot of things, but seriously, I am not complaining! On a serious note, I enjoy working with a bunch of true professionals who come with various experiences minus gender discrimination. The team has a high level of integrity and is focused on working towards delivering good results. Everyone at Pink Lemonade has great respect for one another, irrespective of gender, culture, ethnicity etc.”
Roshnee Nilkon, Senior Servicing Manager, “The team here at Pink Lemonade is a wonderful bunch of extremely supportive and caring women from diverse backgrounds and cultures. They bring so much understanding to the table along with their domain expertise. When that happens the entire workplace, whether men or women start to become a caring bunch.”
Sri Lakshmi, Senior Servicing Manager, “At Pink Lemonade, everybody supports each other in every situation. I have been with the firm right from the start, when we had just five people, and was completely guided by women. I think we, as women, go the extra mile to make things happen. ‘Impossible’ is a word that doesn’t exist in our dictionary at all. ‘Nari shakti zindabad!’ as some of our clients put it when they see us! But of course working with a mixed team of both genders is always the best.”
We hear a lot about women dropping out of the workforce, especially at middle managerial levels – what keeps your team members driven and raring to go? Does managing work and family challenges become easier if women are not an exception in the office?
Tina Garg: Empathy has been part of our culture since inception. While it just so happens that the first few members of the team were all women, we’ve consciously made sensitivity our way of life. While it may seem that being women-heavy makes us more considerate towards home challenges, we address concerns of all our employees regardless of gender.
Roshnee: “Our culture is welcoming to returning mothers. In today’s world, where the woman runs the show at home, it’s crucial that she gets adequate support at the workplace. Once she gets this, a woman can step out into the world and achieve excellence. When an organization provides this unstinted support to its people, the results are wonderful!”
Nidhi: “We understand the need for a good balance between work and home and also allow people to work from home under certain situations. We have accommodated special conditions for some key members too. It’s also imperative to keep the team motivated so that they push the envelope in their careers and do not drop out. At PL, we do this by way of incentives, bonuses, and opportunities for growth and learning. Each person gains hands-on experience by working on a range of diverse projects. Work-related challenges combined with the monetary compensations, typically works well!”
Do you have a favourite campaign/brand that you’ve worked on? Share an achievement that you and your team are especially proud of.
Tina Garg: Our favourite campaigns are the ones that have been the greatest learnings for us, even though they might have been challenging. We are especially proud of the environment space design we executed for a leading aerospace company and the live shoot we did with a 20-day-old baby for a healthcare brand. Recently, we scripted and executed a Chinese New Year video in Singapore for a big client.
There’s a great sense of accomplishment and challenge in working in male domains, at foreign/remote locations, and with all-male crews – the dynamics change immediately in such situations when a woman is in control! Sometimes for the good and sometimes for the worse! This play of human nature is all very intriguing!
We’re delighted to have you as a speaker at our upcoming #BreakingBarriers event. What are you most looking forward to from this event?
Tina Garg: Thank you so much. I can’t wait to share notes with women entrepreneurs like me who’ve faced similar challenges and successes. There are tremendous hurdles one faces in business, more so by women. I’m eagerly looking forward to learning from others as well and I have some fantastic pointers for the women attending – all tried and tested mantras!
Top pic: Tina Garg at centre, with a few members of the Pink Lemonade team
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