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Asian Giants

 

What a thrill to be included in this year’s Asian Giants, a publication that recognises British Asian women of influence who are making a difference; which is produced by Asian Voice newspaper/Asian Business Publications.

It’s empowering to be alongside these talented women. In my story I mention my mum, who ran her own business in the late 70’s. At that time when my mum opened her wool shop in North London, people came in to tell her that they would not buy from her because she was not white and they did not like Indians. Needless to say my mum won them over, becoming their trusted confidante where all her customers would confide in her. Where at Christmas time they would come to the shop for sherry and mince pies.

My mum taught me to be creative, trust my instincts and not to give up, because you can make change.

Mayor of London At The Asian Voice Charity Awards

Last month Asian Voice newspaper held its annual Charity Awards at the Hilton, Park Lane, which is in its fourth year. The media title co-hosts these Awards with Charity Clarity, where together they actively support organisations seeking to solve social issues within Britain and globally.

The Awards showcase excellence; shining a spotlight on charities struggling to get the profile and/or funding that they need to move forward.

This year the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan was the chief guest and spoke about London’s great diversity, which is the Capital’s strength. The theme of this year’s awards was focused on combating knife crime, an issue that has dominated the Mayor’s agenda, who awarded the Editor’s Choice Award to the Damilola Taylor Trust, who provides inner-city youths in Britain with opportunities to play and learn, free from fear and violence.

The Mayor touched upon the serious issue of increasing knife crimes in London and how charities play a big role in tackling these violent crimes. He said, “While I am convinced London is the best city in the world, I am also not blind to the reality of the problems of this city and charities have an important role to play in filling in the gaps in the social safety net in recent years. Violent crime is on the rise across the country, including in London. As Mayor, I am determined to lead from the front when it comes to tackling this issue.”

The Charity of the Year award went to Watford-based Paul Strickland Scanner Centre, an independent medical charity working to improve the lives of people affected by cancer and other severe medical conditions. The Social Impact Award was presented to Child Rescue Nepal, which works on the ground to free children from slavery and captivity. While the Most Enterprising Award went to Medical Aid Films; it brings together health experts with filmmakers. Leah Chowdhry was named the Most Inspiring Young Person for becoming the first British Asian woman to swim the English Channel to raise funds to combat child trafficking in India.

The Sarvam Trust, which facilitates and supports the work of the Sri Aurobindo Society to help the under-privileged in rural areas of India, was the winner of the Audience Choice Award.

The Outstanding PR Award went to the Oscar Foundation, who encourage leadership, teamwork and education in schools to help prevent young people from dropping out.

Former journalist Rupert Morris moderated a discussion with an eminent panel who were – philanthropist Lord Rumi Verjee CBE; BAFTA winner Dr Carrie Grant; founder of The Media Trust Caroline Diehl MBE; and Andy Cook, CEO of the Centre for Social Justice. Together they shared their motivations for giving and civic engagement; emphasizing the importance of charity.

I was pleased to have been able to support this occasion by helping to put the above panel together and invite some of the high-profile guests who attended, who also presented the awards. It was an inspiring event and leave you this last thought from Lord Verjee who said on the night, “I am an immigrant in this country. We strive to be successful, and it is natural to give back to the society. In my life what I have realised is the more you give, the more you get back.”

 

Last Month’s India Britain Trade Expo, Makes The News

Last month’s India Britain Trade Expo that took place at the Queen Elizabeth Centre was a hub of conversations, exchange of ideas and strong connections; and we were delighted to receive this coverage the next day in Asian Voice newspaper featured here. The bottom line from the Expo is that India is an important trading partner for the UK and there’s a lot of opportunities to explore. Businesses here and in India are ready to trade!

We were pleased to have not just our Deputy Mayor, Rajesh Agrawal at the event, but also Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and one of the most influential women in politics right now.

The ‘women in business’ session that I moderated with four other women – Penny Power, OBE; Kamel Hothi, OBE, Dr. Priya Virmani; and Shanu Hindhuja was powerful. Each of the panellists spoke about their own journey and experience. They were all exceptional storytellers, which is why this session was so powerful. Stories have the power to engage us, connect with us and inspire us. There is nothing like a good story.

One of the main points that all the panelists agreed upon and spoke about in detail – is that men are integral to the conversations to end gender inequality — and to do that we need everyone to be involved. This is the same premise of the “HeForShe” campaign launched by the United Nations in 2014 by the actress Emma Watson, who said at the time, “We want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.”

Image Credit: Asian Voice, Newspaper

Public Relations Has Not Escaped Artificial Intelligence

 

I remember watching the film, Minority Reports in the cinema and at that time having goosebumps with what the future may hold for us, with technology. That film was 17 years ago and fast-forward on Artificial Intelligence (AI) is here. Now when we look across various industries, AI advancements continue to surge. In the consumer sector, Apple introduced its HomePod  to compete with Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home AI assistants. While, SephoraEstee Lauder and other retailers have refined the use of chatbots to engage and interact with customers rather than just talking.

My industry, PR has not escaped this wave of AI innovation and machine learning is already in common use for everyday PR tasks like developing media lists and researching. The Chartered Institute of Public Relations Artificial Intelligence panel has published new research revealing the impact of technology, and specifically AI, on public relations practice. It predicts the impact on skills in the profession in the next five years. The report found that 12% of a public relations practitioner’s total skills (out of 52 skills) could be complemented or replaced by AI today, with a prediction that this could climb to 38% within five years. Fundamental human traits such as empathy, trust, humour and relationship building can’t be automated.

There’s been quite a bit of conversation about communications content ultimately being replaced by robot writers and automation, but for now these tools are not threatening our roles as PR professionals, because effective public relations and storytelling require emotional intelligence in addition to human trust. The best kind of PR cultivates relationships among three parties: brands, customers and the media.

However, as the key to this is for now…Picking up on this topic Asian Voice newspaper, the UK’s and Europe’s leading newspaper for the British Asian community contacted me for my thoughts, which are here http://: https://www.asian-voice.com/News/UK/Meet-the-new-%27RoboReporters%27-as-your-news-anchors