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There Is Nothing Like The Royal Air Force

 

I have to say since I founded Serendipity PR and Media, I have had the privilege to meet some inspiring people, attend great gatherings, international travel for client work, speak at events featuring great minds…and I think on Friday 18 March, is one of my best moments. As you can see here, I was delighted to have been photographed with the Royal Air Force (RAF) at the Women in Conversation (WiC) event that I was moderating for Asian Voice newspaper.

It was the first WiC event, after a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, and there is a lot of time to make up for, as since 2019 the work on equal pay for equal work or for more diversity of the boards of companies has been stalled. This WiC event was back, bigger and bolder, with a strong panel that included acclaimed British singer songwriter, Rumer; award winning celebrity jeweller, Sam Ubhi, and Sahera Chohan, a business coach who was a TV presenter. We also heard from Group Captain Joanne Swainston, who spoke about some of the strides that have been made in the RAF towards diversity and inclusion.

The conversation we had struck a chord with the audience, and you always know it is a good event when the questions keep coming.

I think I also need to mention that having the RAF associated with the event was tremendously special. When I mentioned to people prior to the event that the RAF were supporting it, people were immediately in awe and impressed. It reinforced the idea to me how respected, trusted and loved the RAF is to many. Especially in this day and age, when sadly there are few organisations that we can truly say that we trust and hold in high-regard…but the RAF is one such institution.

Women in Marketing Awards 2022: Serendipity PR Awarded A Commendation For Storytelling

 

Last night I was at the Women In Marketing  (WiM) Awards, which was back after a two-year break due to the global pandemic and it was a brilliant affair, filled with lots of good people, particularly women doing remarkable things. Breaking stereotypes and making change.

I was shortlisted in the Storyteller category and was awarded a commendation.

I am very proud to be acknowledged as the stories I write and the podcasts I do are always about corporate social responsibility, climate change…things that matter.

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Central London team recognised a need for women in the industry to be acknowledged, celebrated, and empowered to fulfill their potential. This led to the setting up the first WiM event to coincide with International Women’s Day on Work-Life Balance. Since then, the annual WiM events have grown and tackled topics such as ethical marketing, the creatives, branding, and diversity in marketing, with the purpose of provoking discussion and inspiring women in the industry and the wider business community.

The popularity of the events led to the introduction of the first WiM Awards in 2010, where past award winners have included senior executives from Burberry, Google, Facebook, Hearst UK, Unilever, Diageo, IPG, SAP, Live Nation, and WPP.

Over the years, WiM has enjoyed the support of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Marketing Academy and sponsor organisations such as ITV, Mondelez, Vodafone, HPInc, and IPG. And the support of some very special individuals: Gail Gallie, co-founder of Project Everyone, Sarah Speake, Daryl Fielding, Antonio Lucio, and Heide Gardner. WiM has evolved over the past decade, and now serves a global network of influential individuals across the sector.

SHORTLISTED FOR WOMEN IN MARKETING 2020 AWARDS

Sangeeta Waldron, founder of Serendipity PR & Media has been been chosen by the judges for the shortlist of this year’s Global WiM Awards organized by Women in Marketing (WiM). The prestigious awards celebrate excellence in the industry across the world and highlight those professionals with a distinct commitment to the future of marketing.The WiM Awards launched in 2010 and were established to recognise the economic, social influence and impact of women to millions. The WiM Awards has given recognition to inspirational women and male equality advocates across the globe, from some of the biggest brands – Google, Facebook, Hearst, HP, WPP, Diageo, Unilever, Burberry, SAP and Live Nation to name but a few.

Sangeeta Waldron said, “To say I am thrilled and honoured is an under-statement; to be recognised in the industry with big global brands is indeed uplifting, particularly in the current climate, which has been challenging for everyone.”

WiM CIC is network created to educate, inspire, connect and recognise women in the marketing and associated professions through the cycle of their lives. It takes a holistic approach to the education and wellbeing of women through collaborations and partnerships with organisations that complement its work. From women working in large corporations, charitable organisations through to female entrepreneurs, WiM reflects the evolution of the marketing world.

Born in 2004 by Ade Onilude – a then member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Central London team – out of a need for women in the industry to be recognised, celebrated and empowered to fulfil their potential. This led to Ade conceiving and delivering the first WiM event to coincide with International Women’s Day on Work-Life Balance. Since then, the annual WiM events have grown and tackled topics such as ethical marketing, the creatives, branding and diversity in marketing, with the purpose of provoking discussion and inspiring women in the industry and the wider business community.

Over the years, WiM has enjoyed the support of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Marketing Academy and sponsor organisations such as ITV, Mondelez, Vodafone,HPInc and IPG. And the support of some very special individuals: Gail Gallie, co-founder of Project Everyone, Sarah Speake, Daryl Fielding, Antonio Lucio, and Heide Gardner. WiM has evolved over the past decade, and now serves a global network of influential individuals across the sector.

 

 

WiM Awards 2020 marks its ten year anniversary, reflecting the evolving landscape of marketing.

 

 

Online Event – How PR can help SME’s kickstart their businesses post COVID-19 on 24 August

Hello! On 24 August from 10.00 to 11.30am I will be sharing my knowledge with fellow women in business at this online Federation of Small Business (FSB) Women’s event, which is a platform to learn, share, network and build vital relationships. These regular FSB events are open to all, the format is informal and educational with a female focused networking focus and a chance to hear from expert speakers too.

My session is purposefully called ‘How PR can help SME’s kickstart their businesses post COVID-19’.

Do join us if you can, be great to see you!

Click here on event to book and for more information.

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.

It’s No Longer Possible For Brands Not To Be Diverse In Their Advertising Campaigns

I was recently invited by a high-end luxury online shopping brand for women to give feedback on its new online advertising campaign. First-off, I had not even noticed it’s new campaign and I suppose that was in itself telling, because it had not been memorable for me. However, when I did carefully consider it, I realised why it had not hit home…and that’s because it was not relatable and it didn’t connect with me. The advert looked out of touch and dated in the context of today’s conversations and I gave this feedback to the ‘enquiring luxury online shopping brand.’ But I also wondered how they could get it so wrong?!

Research shows that female consumers are calling time on airbrushing and have ‘perfection fatigue’, which has significant implications for brands. Therefore, it is no longer possible for brands not to be diverse in their advertising campaigns, and when I say ‘diverse’ I mean diversity in the age of models, race and reflective in body-types. While thin and prepubescent bodies are still the preferred choice for the runway and print media world, social media is giving a platform for celebrating more diverse body shapes. The #bodypositivity movement is empowering women to push against narrow and unattainable beauty standards and instead celebrate their differences and their imperfections.

Again, traditional magazines and other forms of advertising have always heavily featured white models largely from western European backgrounds. This lack of diversity has meant poor representation of other ethnicities. Yet, the explosion of social media has been incredibly positive for making beauty more accessible and inclusive.

Importantly, social media is no longer the natural habitat for millennials, as older women are using the medium to smash one of the most ingrained prejudices in fashion and beauty –  age. With styling, skincare and beauty tutorials aimed at older women, they’ve celebrated and empowered this demographic. Furthermore, they’ve also vanquished the myth that fashion and beauty is limited to youth.

As a result, brands casting only young, thin, white, flawless models no longer feel relevant in the modern age. But crucially advertising campaigns are also very much about the story that a brand is trying to relay to its audience and is connected to the brand values of the company, so any kind ‘tokenism’ will immediately be apparent. It’s important for brands to not stop at advertising, but instead embrace realness and transparency in their values.

It is also important for those of us working in media and communications to keep pulling up those brands that are falling short. The needle is shifting. Diversity and inclusion should not stand as buzzwords; but treated as a reflection point where brand managers and content creators strive for approaches that avoid reductive stereotypes and unintentional continuation of classism, racism and sexism.

 

India Britain Trade Expo On 12 March, London

I am looking forward to participating at the India Britain Trade Expo on 12 March 2019, which takes at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in London, where I am moderating a ‘women in business’ session.

I will be joined an illustrious line-up of inspiring women that includes entrepreneur Penny Power, OBE; British banker and financial adviser Kamel Hothi, OBE; journalist and founder of the children’s charity Paint Our World based in India, Dr Priya Virmani; and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and politician Arlene Foster.

Together we will be exploring the challenges that women in business face both here in the UK and in India; are these challenges the same; what are the solutions and importantly each of the women speaking will be sharing their own experiences and stories. It promises to be an interesting and spontaneous conversation.

The backdrop to this session, is the India Britain Trade Expo, a timely event with Brexit looming, particularly as India is the world’s fastest growing trillion-dollar and poised to become the fifth largest economy overtaking the UK by 2019 according to the IMF. The wealth of opportunities for both countries to benefit from each other is enormous.

This one-day action packed event is being supported by the House of Lords, with a delegation from the Indian High Commission and is set to be one of London’s biggest trade events focused on India, where Rajesh Agrawal, London’s Deputy Mayor for business will open the Expo.

This is an event for anyone who wants to expand and go global. It will be here where conversations will happen and partnerships created. Tickets and information visit http://www.indiabritainexpo.com/ or call +44 (0)20 3693 1940

 

 

Woman At Work: #Backtoschoolweek

 

In June this year I was delighted to be approached by the Indian women’s magazine, Woman At Work for an interview about my background and career. It’s a magazine for the working woman, where in India, women constitute to more than 30% of its workforce. Working women here, have made their presence felt across sectors and professions. Woman At Work magazine is a first-of-its-kind professional magazine and with a digital platform for talented women at work in India, which launched in 2015.

The magazine aspires to go beyond the conventional domains of home and family management, instead showcasing the different aspects of an everyday career woman. Perhaps quite understandably and to be expected, within a year of its launch, the magazine reached more than 300,000 readers across India; showing how ready people were and are for – Woman At Work.

The questions asked were really thought-provoking and made me take stock of my diversity and cultural heritage. It was a great personal exercise for me to do – a chance to reflect and actually be proud of myself of how far I had come and all what I had done. Sometimes we can be really focused on providing others with encouragement and support that we can forget to do the same for ourselves. Or perhaps, we are moving from one task or challenge to another without a chance to stop and take stock, to realise how far we’ve come and to congratulate ourselves for what we’ve done.

So, it was a lovely surprise to see the magazine, which arrived through my letter box last week, during #backtoschoolweek

A great start to my new term!

 

Status Row And The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge

 

It is always good news when you can reveal a new client, but it is even better when you can announce a new client, who is making a difference and is big on purpose…and I am delighted that Serendipity PR is working with three female rowers, Caroline, Jess and Susan, who together are Status Row.

Status Row is participating, as the only trio female rowing team in this year’s well-known Talisker Whisky ​Atlantic Challenge, the premier event in ocean racing and the world’s toughest challenge – 30 crews from around the world competing to cross 3000 miles of ocean, powered only by their own strength and determination.

If that wasn’t a mission enough?!, Status Row also want to break the world record both for men and women, and plan to row across the Atlantic in 50 days! The current male record is 51 days and for women it is 60 days.

​Status Row are rowing for the highly-respected charity the​ Marine Conservation Society and want to raise awareness about the plastic pollution affecting our seas, oceans and marine life. Status Row have always been committed to the issues surrounding sustainability and the environment. They really want to make a difference to the planet.

By day, Caroline, Jess and Susan are London office workers, who came together as rock climbers. They are now being trained by Olympic rower, Guin Batten. They have their boat and will ​set sail this December and are looking for sponsorship, to raise as much money for the Marine Conservation Society and have got off on to a good start and been supported by businesses and individual supporters; which ​includes business woman Deborah Meaden, who is also on the BBC TV show Dragon’s Den.

Right now, it is estimated 12.7 million tons of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – end up in our oceans each year. That’s a truck load of rubbish a minute. Sadly, and disturbingly, this plastic is turning up in every corner of our planet – from beaches, to uninhabited Pacific islands. It is even found trapped in Arctic ice.

Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Big pieces of plastic are choking and entangling turtles and seabirds and tiny pieces are clogging the stomachs of creatures who mistake it for food, from tiny zooplankton to whales.

Plastic is now entering every level of the ocean food chain and even ending our plates, which why what Status Row is doing is so important and there is a big Return on Investment for companies who sponsor them, as your logo will be on the boat and will be seen by a global viewing audience, giving a brand international reach and brand association as the official broadcast partner is The National Geographic.

Crucially, it will also mean that your company will also be part of this great sustainability awareness campaign to rescue our oceans and marine life; and is also why Serendipity PR has also decided to be a sponsor.

Like everyone, we have all watched Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet and this is a topic high on the news agenda and in the public consciousness. Let’s act together and get behind Status Row. For sponsorship opportunities drop me a line at sangeeta@serendipitypr.co.uk

 

It’s March!

It has taken me three months to get down to writing this post…three months into this year and that’s because so much has been happening since we started 2018…from bringing two like-minded organisations together to create and launch a library in the City of London; to being invite back again by the Mayor’s office to speak about being a London business and the need for diversity; to helping a client participate in a London China expo to working on some exciting launches including the media campaign for a business book called The Responsive Leader written by an influential thought-leader, Erik Korsvik Østergaard, who is making waves with his new book.

While all this has been going on we have had the #Metoo and #TimesUp social media campaigns have gone viral and as I write, we are heading towards International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March.

Findings from reports tell us that gender parity is over 200 years away; which is why there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress – this year’s IWD theme. There is a strong global momentum striving for gender parity.

To help mark this day the FSB is raising the visibility of role models for women entrepreneurs with an international digital campaign called 100 FSB Women. As part of this initiative Serendipity PR is actively supporting the FSB Women’s London network; and we have helped source one of its speakers and organised a free business book for attendees. This special book is called Read My Lips by Swedish TV personality Elaine Eksvard, published by our client, LID Publishing. Wouldn’t life be easier if we could get people to listen to us in every situation? This book teaches us how to persuade our listeners, be professional and personal, without being private. Eskvard is best-selling author of Ruling Technique, Living Power and Talk Nice.

I will end with this wonderful comment from Helen Mirren who was speaking about #MeToo and #TimesUp to The New York Times and said, “It’s an amazing moment isn’t it? I’ve never wanted to be younger than I am, but the only thing that makes me think God, I wish I was 18 now, is 18 year olds are coming into a very different world.”