A story of love, loss and second chances by Nikita Singh, releasing this Valentine’s Day.
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From a political science student to a lawyer to a business writer and head of client services at a creative agency, Anusha Singh tells us about her shift in careers. Read here!
“If you could describe yourself in one word, what would that word be?” “Yellow! Like sunshine. Pretty much an incorrigible optimist, I lean towards the sunny side of life and I am allergic to cribbing!” Former Lawyer turned Business Writer and Head of Client Services at a creative agency, Anusha Singh is a dynamic soul with a chirpy exterior to match. Quite complementary, if you ask me.
Master of Law Gold Medalist from Delhi University and an alumna of the prestigious Lady Shri Ram College, Anusha Singh describes herself in a series of expressions – writer, storyteller, risk-taker, nature-lover. After talking to her for quite a while, I think these words don’t do justice to the spirited personality that she has.
As a lawyer, she has worked on cases from both sides of the table – the government and the client. She has ample experience in family law matters, income tax litigation and as a corporate lawyer. In January 2017, she made the bold move from consulting and litigation at PricewaterhouseCoopers to a leadership role in creative services. She currently heads client services at Magenta, a Mumbai-based niche branding and corporate communications agency.
Anusha tells me that she always had a knack for creative writing since childhood, which grew while she was pursuing her Masters in Law. She also wrote side by side while working. Her work appeared in numerous national newspapers, magazines and online publications, including a regular feature in the ‘Spice of Life’ column in Hindustan Times. When she sat down one day, to take stock of her written work, she realized that she had had more than 50 pieces published! This moment was what she called the Aha! moment, following which she exclaimed, ‘Why not make a career out if it?’
But before she could make the change, she wanted to be ready for all that lay at the other end. She researched deeply and read about the industry that she wanted to step into, and she admits that the whole exploration activity, while seemingly exciting, can be mentally exhausting and may not be very “smooth sailing”.
Sharing her views regarding one’s career, Anusha says with conviction, “I strongly believe that there are many facets to a human being’s personality, and there is no reason to live all your life siloed by utilizing only ‘one facet.’” She adds that one should keep finding and doing the various areas they’re good at. And it’s not necessary to stick to one thing that you feel you’re good at and then keep doing it for years and years together. It is perfectly okay to jump fields whatever the stage and age of your professional career. In her words, “Hunt around and find what you want”.
This point of view is very refreshing to listen to and I think that we need to inculcate this sort of fearless dynamism in ourselves because it would really help with all the anxiety that people have regarding their lives and careers.
“Do you think knowing them would have altered the way things turned out in any way?” I ask her. She says emphatically, “Nothing. I did my research very thoroughly. Spent three months researching, reading and learning what would I like to work with, then weighed on the options.” The shift from lawyering to creative services was clearly well thought out.
At Magenta, Anusha’s work steadily evolved from the core role of business writing to a managerial and planning one where she leads a team of business editors and creative directors to deliver communications solutions and a stream of fresh and alternative ideas to help companies communicate with their stakeholders.
She tells me that the basic check boxes of leading client services at a creative agency are quite similar to those of being a successful lawyer; you have to be hard-working, problem solving, agile and practice great attention to detail. You have to persevere, be patient and be a lateral thinker.
I ask her what her favourite parts of the work at the agency are. On the phone, I can ‘hear’ her smiling when she says, “Two things. One – the satisfaction I get from bridging a client’s expectations and my team’s point of view to enable creative satisfaction for both sides. The ability to catch the nerve of the client is quite exciting. And two – I get unlimited contentment when I see my team members succeed in their projects. And that happens more often than you can imagine!”
“What do you enjoy other than writing and leading a team?” Enthusiastically, she says, “I am an animal lover and have had numerous pets – two cockatiels (currently), fish, dogs, owl, parrots, love birds, kitten. Other than that, I love trekking. There is nothing more refreshing and humbling than scaling hills and finding yourself in the lap of unspeakable beauty – especially after a tough climb and challenging moments. It’s almost like meditation to me.” A public speaker all her life, she also moderates panel discussions and hosts communications events.
Anusha Singh answers promptly,
“1. Don’t ask other people whether you should take the leap or not. Trust your own gut instinct. Make your own judgment calls. If it works out, great! You can bask in the glory of being the master of your own destiny. If it doesn’t work out, great again! You have what the majority of the human race doesn’t – the gumption of ding something different with your life.
2.Be multi-skilled and open minded. Pick up what you enjoy – everything around you is changing constantly, so why shouldn’t you too? Listen to your own self. Do your own thing- the motivations have to come from within you and nowhere else.
3.Research well and prepare hard. A ‘new’ scenario does not have to be unknown.”
I also ask her, considering she has had such a range of experiences, what are some rules that she lives by and she tells me there are two solid rules that she follows in life, absolutely: “1. Come what may, just give it your best shot. Work hard and be honest to yourself. Have a high level of self-awareness. 2. Wherever you are in life, always make quality time for people that matter to you: family and friends who are the silent force with you in different phases of your life. Ultimately, that is all that truly matters.”
On a concluding note, a question on the future seems fitting. I ask her where saw herself in the next 5 years and she responds by telling me that she never thinks that far in life. She has a ‘one-year plan’, though; a list of things that she’d like to do by the end of 2018, which include on personal grounds, investing her time in social work in an organized manner, and becoming a mentee to a child through the organization Mentor Me India. Professionally, she wants her team at the creative agency to prosper exponentially.
Anusha’s optimism, can-do spirit and willingness to experiment are all great things I took away from this interview, and I hope you do too!
All images courtesy Anusha Singh
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18// New Delhi, India
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