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Rooma Nanda is currently in the finance industry, working as a residential mortgage consultant. She has over 10 years work experience with various corporates, such as, IBM and Yellow Pages. Rooma has done her MBA from Sydney, and is passionate about learning on a constant basis.  This column is to highlight the achievements of certain individuals who could be a source of inspiration for others. Email 
Our guest this month has proved that success does not know any limitations, such as, gender, race or so called glass ceiling of the corporate world in a foreign country. She has not only been a success back in India but has proved that a motivated and determined person can achieve her dreams anywhere in the world. Sheba Nandkeolyar, founding Managing Director of MMG Australia, a McCann Worldgroup company in Australia, has had a track record of high achievements in her advertising career of over a decade.

Here are some excerpts from my meeting with Sheba. Her agency provides integrated marketing and advertising services including diversity & cross cultural training services.

On being asked about herself...
Sheba indicated that she is a MBA with specialisation in Marketing. She is a university rank holder having stood second overall in the BA Hons program at Calcutta University which won her a scholarship to study at the London University. She was a National Scholar all through her college and university program. But interestingly enough, Sheba admits she was not overly fond of academics while at school.

But how did she suddenly turn around? 
The trick she said was in studying the subjects she really loved. She remembers being called the `story teller' of the family, she was always ready to relate an exciting event which `just happened' to her on the same day! Her social and outgoing nature, her love for debating, coupled with a close interest in people and marketing, led to her choosing the business world and more especially the advertising and communications industry for a career. 

This rule applies in the work sphere too. The trick is in enjoying the work you do - you will then always be enthusiastic and happy! Success follows automatically in a situation like this.

Her major strengths which contributed to her amazing success in life...
She clearly states her flexibility, adaptability and willingness to put herself in another person's shoes have helped her a lot. She attributes this to her family upbringing. Born into a professional and close knit family - her father was a brilliant student from Delhi School of Economics and a mother who continued with her university studies due to her father's encouragement - despite an early marriage at the age of 17 and 3 young children under 6 while she prepared for her university finals.

She attributes her brother ( the CEO of a renowned Indian IT multinational) and sister's ( principal and a trustee member on the board of the school) success in their respective careers as a part of this upbringing. This was possible also because of being happily married to partners who were/ are very supportive and great professionals in their own right.

Any other reason which contributed to her success?
Appreciation and encouragement, she has learned - goes a long way in life and Sheba continues to be a very peoples' focussed person in her own personal and professional life.

In her view it is always the team that contributes to the ultimate success. Without people's drive, enthusiasm and support - achievement and excellence lose their shine!

We asked Sheba, how she managed to be not only a successful career woman but a successful mother as well…
Sheba is married to Sanjeev another marketing professional and has a young son Sanchay who is fast following his parents footsteps and heading for a specialisation in Business Studies and Marketing Communications. Fortunately Sheba has found both her husband and son extremely flexible and ready to lend a helping hand. There never has been a blaming - `I told you so' attitude in the family! However Sheba herself is very particular about ensuring that her personal priorities are not missed out in the mad rush of our every day existence. 

Time management skills and being multitasked have helped her enormously. Most women she feels are good at juggling several tasks without dropping the ball.

Has she always been in advertising?
She started her career in advertising with McCann Erickson in India, which was known as Clarion McCann Erickson. Thereafter she took off from the industry for a short period when her son was born and concentrated on academics. Sheba was one of the first few members at the Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow. In fact not many people know that Sheba was instrumental in designing the MBA program for this prestigious and premier Institute when she headed the Program office. She also taught marketing and advertising sessions in the MBA program for a year.

Sheba was back again in the advertising industry and spent some time with the McCann and the Interpublic group. Sheba has extensive and rich experience in handling cross cultural marketing assignments in the US, UK, Europe and the Asia Pacific region. Having come into Australia almost 8 years ago, she joined etcom a STW - Ogilvy - WPP company and was with them for 7 years. This was prior to her more recently establishing MMG Australia, an integrated marketing and communications agency affiliated to the McCann Worldgroup.

Brands she loved working on…?
Reckitt - the launch of Harpic and Dettol soap, Nestle, Lipton and Coke while at McCann Erickson. Department of Tourism, Government of India while at Interpub. MBF, BigPond, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Western Union and Telstra, while working at etcom. And more recently - on Westpac migrant, diversity and Indian initiatives, as also MBF travel and health insurance.

Did she find any difficulty in breaking into the market place…
Sheba feels that Australian companies are gradually getting to be more open minded about employing professionals from other countries and more women in senior positions. Some industries have a natural advantage such as IT, Hospitality and Finance, where Indians find it easier to break into. Marketing and advertising still continue to be a bit closed to migrants with no local experience. However with more business arrangements with the Asia Pacific region opening up, there is gradual but sure shift in employer's attitudes. 

Sheba herself did not find it difficult, as she is a very decisive and a positive person and coincidentally happened to meet her previous Chairman of etcom who is a very decisive person too and who decided to offer her a position in the agency at the first meeting. Sheba is very appreciative of her professional relationship with the Chairman Joseph Assaf to whom she attributes her initial knowledge and insights of this market place.

Person who made a big impact on her career...
Marketing & Advertising Guru - Late Subroto Sengupta, who was the Chairman of Clarion McCann Erickson in India. She started her career under his direct guidance and had the opportunity to work closely with him on several multinational clients including Reckitt, Nestle, Coke and Lipton. An amazing person who was exacting but yet had infinite patience. A rare combination of a visionary with a hands on approach. "I owe my success to him. He taught by example. And more importantly took a lot of interest in my professional development" as Sheba says.

Any other interests?
Sheba is a committee member of the Special Marketing Interest Group of the Australian Institute of Management and is actively involved in organising special interest group marketing programs. 
Sheba is also a member of the FAME council set up by AIBC to promote trade in the areas of film, entertainment, media and communication. 
She is often invited as an industry speaker at conferences and shares industry experiences with students at Marketing & MBA programs at universities.

And her advise for our readers..
Enjoy life to the full, every day is God's gift to you. That is why it is called PRESENT! And in turn give back something to the society which has nurtured you.

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In the Previous Issues:

Bobby Singh
Anupam Sharma
Vikrant Kapoor - Zaaffran Restaurant
Rashmi Mehrotra 
Dr. Jagnnath Mazumdar
Naville Roach - Fujitsu Australia
Dr Arapaut Sivaprasad - WebGenie Systems
Suda Navada
Jeet Bindra - Caltex
Dr. Bhuvan Unhelkar
Safina Uberoi - My Mother India Anupam Sharma Bobby Singh Sheba Nandkeolyar
Media Release
Coupons and Vouchers
Pickles Auctions

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