Out of the Clouds
June 5, 2022, Anne V Muhlethaler

S2:E16 – Archana Jain

on purpose-driven communication, telling good stories, and why PR matters

Portrait of Archana Jain of PR Pundit

In this episode of Out of the Clouds, host Anne Muhlethaler reconnects with Archana Jain, an accomplished PR and communications professional, and the founder of PR Pundit, one of India’s top integrated communications firms. Archana has been at the forefront of her industry since her early days in the field and is widely recognised as a leading personality in PR, communication and media. She has been acknowledged as India’s top 100 PR communications professionals, as well as among India’s 50 Most Influential Women in Indian Media, Marketing & Advertising (2019, 2020 & 2021) and featured in the “Top 100 Influential Game Changers List.”

Anne and Archana collaborated a few years ago, and got to know each other, back when Anne was heading global communications for French shoe designer Christian Louboutin. 

Over the course of this conversation, Archana tells the story of her beginnings in PR, how she went from consulting into working towards consumer-focused communication, to building her company and creating meaningful programs for the right audiences. 

She talks to Anne about why public relations still matters today, how it’s imperative for brands to be telling authentic stories and why PR is a long game – not a quick win, and current challenges given that it’s not an age-old profession. They also discuss changes in the media landscape and the rise of purpose-driven communications and community advocacy, in the age of social media. 

Archana also offers her thoughts on what it’s been like to be a woman at the head of her own business, how the landscape changed in the past twenty years, but also how she chose to  integrate flexibility and WFH capabilities for her team since 2004 – and how satisfying it’s been for her to be able to help women balance their personal and professional commitments. 

You’ll probably notice a loud peacock (or two) in the background, as some were roaming behind Archana’s home office during the interview. A good way to set the scene for this warm and in-depth interview with this influential entrepreneur. Happy listening! 

Selected links from the episode

You can find Archana on IG @AJPundit and on Twitter @AJPundit

On LinkedIn Archana Jain 

Find out more about PR Pundit on their website http://www.prpundit.com/ – or on IG @prpundit

The origin and meaning of the word Pundit via Wikipedia

Tripundra origin and meaning via Wikipedia

Vogue India online

Adidas Run for the Oceans campaign

Archana’s interview on CommSpeak with Amith Prashu on Youtube

The German tampon PR campaign by Female Company via The Guardian

The exceptional Kate Winslet for L’Oréal campaign on Youtube

Parvati Valley via Wikipedia

Kashmir Shaivism on Wikipedia

The Hungry Tide, book by Amitav Ghosh

A suitable boy, the book by Vikram Seth

The Emperor of All Maladies, a biography of cancer, the book by Siddhartha Mukherjee

Full transcript from episode

Anne Muhlethaler (00:00:04):
Hi, hello, bonjour, and namaste. This is Out of the Clouds, a podcast at the crossroads between business and mindfulness, and I’m your host, Anne Muhlethaler. Today, I am delighted to be joined by Archana Jain. Archana is an accomplished PR and Communications professional, who has been at the forefront of her industry since her beginning in the field in the 1990s. We had the pleasure to work together and get to know each other over the years in my previous, or earlier, career and I always had a deep admiration for her business acumen, her team’s creativity, their kindness. We had a lot of fun together, even though we worked hard, of course.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:00:56):
Archana has been at the head of her own firm, PR Pundit, an integrated communications consultancy, since 1998. With her wonderful team, they have worked with leading global and luxury brands, from Adidas, Birkenstock, Christian Louboutin of course, Estee Lauder Companies, Lamborghini, Ralph Lauren, and the list goes on. I was delighted to learn that PR Pundit is, so far, the only Indian PR company to have won a Gold Lion for PR in Cannes in 2017, for their campaign for ITC Savlon. Archana is widely recognized as a leading personality and influencer in PR, communication and media in India, and I always viewed her as a pioneer, so it was a real pleasure for me to get an opportunity to talk to her and to get to hear her story, so I hope that you’ll find this as interesting and enjoyable as I did. Happy listening.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:02:05):
Archana, it’s so lovely to see you; welcome to Out of the Clouds.

Archana Jain (00:02:10):
Thank you, Anne. It’s actually a precious opportunity to be talking to you. It means a lot to be a guest on Out of the Clouds. I sort of love and admire the way you move countries and claim your own little spot everywhere you go.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:02:28):
Yeah, that’s true, claiming my own spot. That makes sense absolutely. So one of the ways I love to start conversations with my guests is to ask them about their journey, to sort of freely tell me and tell my listeners who they are, where they’re from, and perhaps starting with where you grew up and what you studied.

Archana Jain (00:02:52):
Okay. In India, we call ourselves the military brat. I don’t know if that’s a terminology understood in any other part of the world. But because my father served in the military air force, to be specific, we spent sort of time away in different cities, and it was really about assimilating diverse cultures very, very early on. So it’s not that you grew up on a single street and you just knew you had your six or eight besties and you kind of went through growing up pains with them; no, sadly we didn’t have that comfort, but it pays us well when you sort of learn to sort of deal with change very early on. While I was born in Delhi, my formative years at sort of schooling were in a place called Shillong; it’s in a state called Meghalaya in the Northeast of India. In fact, we used to call it the Scotland of the East, because they have these beautiful, green, rolling plains, and it rains. And it has that typical English rain.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:03:54):
Oh, really?

Archana Jain (00:03:55):
To sort of put it in context to all your listeners! So that’s where I grew up, and I did my Masters in Business Economics in Delhi, and my first job was in PR with a hotel company.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:04:09):
Oh, that’s so fateful. May I ask why you chose business to study?

Archana Jain (00:04:14):
Frankly, there was a choice between accountancy and business, and business economics sounded like something that would be something of the future. Today people want to scramble to learn economics, and I guess at that point it was just beginning to come into being, so we saw, well, why not? I had a head for business, I had a head for numbers, I was good at mathematics, but didn’t want to do an academic career; certainly wanted to do something, which was more market research-oriented.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:04:45):
And so how was that start in PR?

Archana Jain (00:04:48):
I went out looking for a job in market research, actually responded to an advertisement saying that, and then the HR at the hotel company told me, “No, we’ve decided we are not going to have that opening anymore.” So I said, “Oh, you’ve given it away already?” So they said, “No. We just don’t think we need that job profile, but what we have is a job offer; Public Relations Manager.” I said, “Well, I just know two lines about it, I read it in Philip Kotler.” So they said, “Well, you have time.” I said, “Yeah. I’m jobless. I certainly have time.” So they said, “Well, here’s the manual. Sit down and read.” So I read through the manual and I said, “I like the sound of what this job entails.”

Archana Jain (00:05:34):
And I had a three-member graphic department in my first job; I had a secretary to myself. That was my first job! Why do you think I fell in love with PR? I mean, come on! This is the career for me, I mean, I’m the boss! So it had a lot responsibilities, but it had a lot of independence, and that’s what I love; to be able to shape things very early on, as my first job itself, so that’s it, and never turned back. Two years later, went on and started with a consulting firm, because in a hotel company, I worked for the Hyatt Regency Delhi, and they had only one hotel at that time in India, the Hyatt. Today they have many, many properties, so it would have been different if I had joined today, I guess. And then the consulting firm and five and a half years there, and then went on to set up PR Pundit.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:06:31):
Wow. It’s fascinating to hear you reflect on that sense of independence, because I think that it is indeed, from my experience when I started, it’s probably different nowadays, it was a hallmark of what I found interesting in public relations; that necessity to think of your feet, to be creative, even though it’s strategic and business-related.

Archana Jain (00:06:54):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). True that, absolutely, I think it’s challenging, but if work isn’t challenging I guess we would lose interest rapidly, wouldn’t we? I mean, I don’t think you are just looking for comfort and the fact of doing the same old, same old.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:07:09):
Probably not someone like you or someone like me, no! I think that-

Archana Jain (00:07:15):
Yes, I guess so.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:07:15):
… that combination of independence and creativity makes the challenge less frightening, less-
Archana Jain (00:07:23):
Daunting, yeah. Of course.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:07:24):
… less daunting. Yeah, absolutely.

Archana Jain (00:07:26):
True there. Yeah. Very true.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:07:29):
So what I found really interesting in PR after coming out of university is that, also, there’s a very tangible result when you’ve done a good job. Within three to six months to maybe nine months, depending on what it is that you’re working on, you can tell whether the work you’ve done has paid off, and I think that’s one of the reasons why I really got to enjoy it so much, because I was like, “Ha ha! Look what I’ve accomplished.”

Archana Jain (00:07:53):
Must be good.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:07:53):
“We, as a team.”

Archana Jain (00:07:55):
Yes. Absolutely. Oh, no, I mean, definitely, I think everywhere, and I’ve seen that with myself, I’ve seen it with young people that work at our company, if you give them those early wins they seem to love it much more. If you give them a really a tough assignment to do where you know there is going to take nine months for them to even see results, they burn out and they say, “I don’t know whether this is something for me.” But if you give them something where they’re seeing great results coming out, exposures are there, clients are sending in their sort of testimonials to say, “What a fabulous job,” they just sort of embrace the profession a lot more. And so I guess that’s where I felt maybe luck played a role. Otherwise, I don’t believe in luck, I’m a sort of hardball, hard work person and who believes we can change destiny if we just put our heads to it.

Archana Jain (00:08:50):
But yes, I think it was the diversity of experience that came my way early on, acknowledgement from senior top management, and I believe that sort of is something very, very unique in our profession. In PR you talk to the top leaders, right? You’re not in a silo talking to only your own peers, etc. You are dealing with the managing director. In the hotel company I was dealing with the top hotel general manager.

Archana Jain (00:09:19):
Plus I was part of the committee. I was the youngest team member, but I had to know what was happening in the hotel, so I had to know every VIP that was coming through, I had to know about every event that was happening in the hotel, so it kind of got me engaged with the brand, the organizations, in a more holistic manner, and I think there’s a learning in it for all of us. How is it that you get everybody to understand the company or become one with it unless you don’t share or make them part of that decision making? And we tend to overlook that, I think, in everyday life; we give them their slice of work and say, “Do it, and we’ll talk later,” without telling them what the whole piece is all about.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:10:04):
It’s so interesting you should say that. This really echoes my own experience, I think that one of the reasons why I was able to also be good at PR is because I had so much access. And at the time, because the company was really tiny, and for our listeners, this is when I worked at, very early days, at Christian Louboutin, I was doing PR and wholesale, so I was passing the information around from Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar to Harvey Nichols or Selfridges. And because I wasn’t bullshitting people, people get into it because they then too somehow become involved in the company, so there’s a different kind of relationship and sense of authenticity. What was it like when you moved, though, from hospitality, which is a very unique… I view hospitality as top sort of learning school for most things. When you come to fashion, we’re a bit messier, to be fair. What was it like when you moved into consulting?

Archana Jain (00:11:03):
Well, at that point of time, if I would locate it, airlines and hotels are the only two sort of at least industries in India that was employing PR, while the government did have its PR machinery, but it was of a different nature. So it was good, big names, it was ’90s when business media was just about coming to age. So PR was just about beginning at that point, fashion PR did not exist at that time. Fashion PR has happened in my sort of lifetime at pretty much, I would think, PR Pundit, so no more than 24 years old is what I would think it is in India. So we sort of were beginning to see that, yes, enterprises wanted as business media; there was one business magazine, there were a couple of pink papers, and we had dailies that had a dedicated business page every day. There was a need for businesses to start communicating in a very organized fashion to the media.

Archana Jain (00:12:03):
So that’s really what I sort of started out with when I was at a consulting firm earlier, and then, over that period of five and a half years, we saw a certain amount of change happening in terms of television journalism coming in business. So business television came into being in India. So we’ve seen a change every six or seven years in India in the landscape. When I started my career, barely business journalism was there, then came television journalist, and was great fun to host a press conference for our clients and have 40 television cameras all stacked up there, and we said, “Whoa!” And that was the thrill, and saying, “Okay, this is what we may be. Look at the ROI,” and it was only measured in terms of the value that you could generate at [inaudible 00:12:52], actually.

Archana Jain (00:12:53):
And then, when that died, kind of came the lifestyle titles, came about 2005-6-7, around that area, Vogue came into India and the features media started sort of developing alongside. And I think that’s kind of was really something that I wanted to do, I was tired of business media and I said, “Let me do something, which was a little bit more consumer-focused. Let’s not wait to when a company’s going to be plowing in a billion-dollar investment and hold a press conference; what about for the nuances of what their product and service offers? Why can’t we talk about the masseur that gives great service on an aircraft?” If you were talking Virgin, or if it was any other aspect of just the product that they offer, and then, let’s say, listicles of 10 ways that you need to pack for a holiday, if you were representing, let’s say, Samsonite or any other suitcase brand.Or the value of color, if you’re talking about wall color, sort of thing; why should you choose this color? How does it impact your moods and sentiments? I was looking to do that.
Archana Jain (00:14:12):
That’s really how I got started at PR Pundit, and we said, “Let’s do something, which is going to be B2C,” and want to be able to create some compelling campaigns around that would sort of create a little bit more brand trust, be able to sort of say, “Okay, yes. Create a need for that product and probably move products off the shelves.” And I don’t ever ascribe to the fact that we can make a difference to sales. We can influence it, but yes, the larger value of PR will always be to be an image driver, and that’s what our roles are, so we move it into people’s hearts, for sure. But why not even look at somewhere that we can move it into their cards?

Anne Muhlethaler (00:14:56):
Yes. I like that, moving into people’s hearts, that’s a wonderful expression. So you’ve been at the head of your own company for almost 24 years, according to LinkedIn, by the time we tape this interview, which is absolutely wonderful. I’d love for you to share with me and with our listeners, what was your vision when you decided to build your own company?

Archana Jain (00:15:19):
I think a little bit I captured in my earlier response to you, and it was really to do some benchmarking work. I used to read PR books, and we didn’t have any in India, we had to only read global case studies, and all the global case studies spoke about all these various ways, a lot of American textbooks and British textbooks, and they would talk about how you could do an interesting campaign where consumers are involved.

Archana Jain (00:15:49):
And we said, “We don’t do that. We tend to just take our message to the press, get them to write a lovely story and say, “Hey, we’ve done PR.” Where is the consumer engagement? We’ve never thought about that. And why can’t we talk that?” And so that’s where I said, “Let’s try and build a company, which is going to be more consumer-focused.” Most consulting firms in India at that time also had a very corporate focus, because if you are looking to develop a firm, which will be extremely top line-heavy or profitable, then consumer focus was the incorrect thing to do. But I was doing it for the love of PR and trying to sort of carve a niche for ourselves.

Archana Jain (00:16:33):
And I think, 24 years later, I think we today are recognized in that have done interesting work, have been there when international brands came into India, knocking into… on our shores. They taught us really, and that was really the advent of integrated PR in our country. We didn’t have integrated PR, we didn’t understand that. And it was because of international brands, we were told that you’re the custodian of the brand, you’ve got to figure out… Let’s build a network for the brand to actually create an environment for demand. And that’s really where we were. So initially, like I mentioned, brands like Gucci, Tod’s, etc, came in about 2007, 2008. Before that, the landscape was largely all these brands, if at all they were available in the country, they would be available to a distributor arrangement. So they came in on their own there and that’s when Vogue arrived in our shores and luxury lifestyle PR came into being.

Archana Jain (00:17:34):
And we sort of had already been doing what I term as feature-oriented public relations, so we knew on the features media, but as the landscape evolved and there were more and more media to write about that, the finer nuances, or be able to sort of help us curate the right stories and to [inaudible 00:17:56] way we could tell them, that kind of helped us sort of grow in this profession. And, obviously, after that came digital media and we sort of walked with them, influencers came into the marketplace, we sort of definitely were the earliest to embrace them and say, “Hey, listen, let’s…”

Archana Jain (00:18:13):
And I think a lot of credit would go to our clients, that they were welcoming of them and said, “Yes, let’s experiment with that, let’s talk, let’s sort of make this happen.” And today, 10 years or 20 years later, we’ve got friends that say, “Yeah, thanks to you guys that we were able to sort of build a career.” And we’re so: well, thanks to our clients that we were able to sort of work with you together and make this happen. India’s a sort of influencer landscape and PR Pundit’s journey with it is kind of synonymous.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:18:49):
Yeah, I was thinking when you were mentioning the dates, like when Vogue India arrived, when the other brands were coming in, was just on the cusp before Twitter and then Instagram arrived on the scene, and you do have some phenomenal influencers and celebrities in India, so you certainly had quality people to work with, I want to say. Before we go on and ask you more questions, I’d love for you to tell people like me, whose first language isn’t English, about the origin of the name PR Pundit, because I learned it as I was doing my research for this interview.
Archana Jain (00:19:26):

Okay. I’m sure people know pundit means guru. The word came in about the time when I was setting up PR Pundit, that’s the time when the word had actually been introduced into the Oxford Dictionary. And I said, “Well, what do we call ourselves?” We said, “Let’s be a little bit cheeky. Let’s call ourselves that we understand this profession, we’re the masters of it.” So hence PR Pundit, so do we, the PR gurus, and, incidentally, our local history lines, and the three lines in India, if you ever come across a priest in a temple or the sadhus by the banks of the River Ganga, you’ll always find there are three lines on their forehead. And so it’s something called Tripundra.
Anne Muhlethaler (00:20:14):
Uh-huh (affirmative), I know Tripundra.

Archana Jain (00:20:15):
It’s a Sanskrit word and it embodies sort of our quest for excellence through the three lines of will, knowledge and action. So we kind of blended that together and we said, “Here we have something that will be understood but will have an Indian personality. We don’t want to ever be sort of…” Most firms were called Good Relations and Perfect Relations, and so we said, “We’re not going to be Better Relations or whatever, so let’s be original.”

Anne Muhlethaler (00:20:42):
There you go. So, first of all, kudos to you to dare setting the stage by calling yourself that; I think it’s wonderful. For those listening, over the course of my experience, I do believe that Archana and her team are PR gurus, so I fully vet the terminology.

Archana Jain (00:21:00):
In the very limited landscape of India, yes, we would say that!

Anne Muhlethaler (00:21:05):
Well, I mean, you really did deliver amazingly, amazingly, over the years that we worked together. So I think you’ve already perhaps answered that question already, but for anybody listening who doesn’t really know about the public relations sort of landscape, particularly for today, why does it matter? Why does PR matter?

Archana Jain (00:21:25):
I think to explain PR one needs to always compare it with advertising, right? Because advertising is commonly understood, and I think all of us in this profession have had to explain this to family and things like that, that: what do you do? And so I read somewhere once that advertising is what you pay for and publicity is what you pray for, but I don’t believe in prayers in that respect, yes? But, simply put, it is about earned publicity. So, instead of paying for it, it’s a science of how we seek third-party endorsements for a brand, for an organization, for its values, for its ideas, for its point of views, so that they’re able to harness in a better environment in which they could work or they could produce better products. So PR is about telling a good story to the right people to reach the right or the relevant audience. Sorry, it’s not a single line, but that’s how that it is.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:22:29):
I never really want a single line, this is a long-form podcast, so we can get going. But-

Archana Jain (00:22:33):
Yeah, and again, it’s also frequently confused with glorified launch, which it isn’t, right? PR is all about, really, how do we create a groundswell of brand support over time? Because we need to change consumer behavior, we need to influence them, we need to have sort of periodic sort of engagements. It’s a long-term game. So, I mean, there’s so much idea generation that happens in PR. I mean, there’s many things that you have as a business or as an enterprise or a brand as well to be able to get that.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:23:11):
Thank you so much for answering that. What I really like about the type of public relations and communications that you and your team, your company, works on, also, I think, reflects what you were saying earlier about the fact you wanted to be in contact and engage customers. I think that, for those friends of mine who have heard about it but don’t get it or don’t feel like they like it or like public relations, I think sometimes there’s still some form of understanding of: but someone paid for something down the line and it’s maybe hidden. And my experience, and I think yours, is that a lot of great PR comes from education of the media, and relationships, because if there’s no connection and no relationship and then there’s no features, then there’s no results, right?

Archana Jain (00:24:06):
No, absolutely, I think it’s a combination. Sometimes, while you may know an editor very well, and my experience, and you can have a drink with him or her, unless you have a message and you have a story to tell at the right time, at the opportune time, and which is aligned to way that publication looks at that subject, you are not going to get anywhere, so relationship alone will never drive results. We’ve knocked on doors and I’m sure you have also in your career knocked on doors where you never knew that individual and that was the first meeting and you walked away with the three-page feature, because you had a story and you sort of, yes, here is my opportunity to go.

Archana Jain (00:24:53):
So we need to definitely map opportunities that are available in the landscape. It could be a podcast, it could be a television interview, it could be something, which is a features interview, and today it could be a paid-format collaboration that you may want to do with a particular media and work that out; if that’s how you’re going to get more people to understand that subject, so be it. So we don’t believe at PR Pundit, or I think the evolved PR industry today to [inaudible 00:25:27], does not believe it’s paid versus earned. It is a combination of paid, it’s shared, earned and owned, because one needs to. Let’s imagine you are talking to a big CEO today and we’re doing an interview; what is the value? Why should the CEO be talking to you? Yes, there’s a certain reach your podcast is getting to, but, beyond that, it’s an opportunity to put it on LinkedIn and create such a lot of impressive employer branding for the institution. And so, if they don’t plan the owned piece well, it’s only marginally utilized.

Archana Jain (00:26:08):
So that’s why it’s got to be a combination of all of these platforms. So we are increasingly, when we say integrated, we mean that. It’s not just saying, “Okay, we’ll do press, consumer, all of that, or events and etc.” But we will say, “Well, we will table opportunities where you may need to pay. You may need a particular, let’s say a celebrity, to tweet about it or to put it up on Instagram, because that’s going to come in the paid format, but that’s going to get value because that personality is aligned to exactly what you are trying to say.”

Anne Muhlethaler (00:26:44):
I like what you’re saying; so, essentially, it’s moved on so much in the past 25 years since it started, but what I’m hearing you say, it’s all about finding the right blend for each client?

Archana Jain (00:26:56):

Anne Muhlethaler (00:26:56):
And being clever, strategic, and using all of a brand’s owned media.

Archana Jain (00:27:03):

Anne Muhlethaler (00:27:04):
Including LinkedIn, not just the Facebook and Instagrams and TikToks.

Archana Jain (00:27:08):
I think during COVID we’ve seen the emergence of LinkedIn… resurgence of LinkedIn, to be honest. It’s become more powerful, it’s certainly something that people have had time to spend and maybe add more content and engagement to that platform, and we’ve seen that grow far more effectively than Twitter.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:27:32):
Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Twitter next, actually. I was reading this morning, there’s a columnist I love called Caitlin Moran and she’s been on Twitter and been very active for a long time. She had a different take about Elon from a lot of the other journalists that I’ve read recently. So let’s see what he does with Twitter and what happens when there’s no more bots.

Archana Jain (00:27:56):
Absolutely, we were talking about the same thing the other day, we said “Just when we had started to write off Twitter,” I said, “we are going to have to revisit it. Something interesting is coming.”

Anne Muhlethaler (00:28:08):
I hope so. So Communications and PR has changed so much since you started. Could you tell me what is, as of today, it could be different in a week, but as of today what is the piece that you find the most challenging for you and your team?

Archana Jain (00:28:25):
Being a generalist form, as we are classified, right? But what I find at the core of our profession, what we grapple with, is the fact that, while we are consulting with the same names as maybe the top management consultants are also consult with, but we’re not treated at par with their services. And that is something that, as an industry, we think: why can’t we be remunerated at the same rates as they are? So that is a large challenge that we need to… So the projection of the PR industry per se has to evolve. We cannot be seen as less critical consultants. So if business reengineering consultants like McKinsey or Accenture can earn top dollars, we need to sort of up our profession in that and meet that; that’s the larger goal.

Archana Jain (00:29:29):
And the other thing is, I guess like every services industry, talent remains a universal challenge for our industry. We’ve seen that, I mean, at every forum, international, domestic, we keep talking about: how is it that we can get better quality talent to come along, work with us? There’s so much effort has to go into training. The institutions that we have only are able to prepare them in a very limited manner for the profession. That impedes our, I mean, the growth of the industry per se; these two areas of the value that we own, and hence we are not able to attract the best talent either, right? Because they go off to these other professions.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:30:10):
Mm-hmm (affirmative). It’s interesting what you’re saying about the remuneration, because I’m trying to be really present and be with you and in my mind I’m sort of scanning some of the other agencies that I’ve worked with across different countries. I wonder if one of the reasons why it’s hard is because, as you said before, it’s also a long game. You need to invest in PR for two, three years, easily, before you get to see really interesting return, and I think this initial investment, where management doesn’t see ROI versus whatever targets they may have, is what devalues the profession and the hard work that gets put into play.

Archana Jain (00:30:54):
Could be, yeah. In my lifetime, a lot of time when within three months clients turned around and said, “Well, I don’t think it works for us,” and we said, “Well, we did tell you it was long-term, it weren’t going to show you results immediately. Just because you hired us doesn’t mean that you’re going to be able to change the perception overnight.” We are a young profession, PR is not an age-old sort of practice, there’s limited understanding about it, so we have to contend with that. And I think if we don’t, if we are not talking enough about it, then the fault lies within the industry. We need to change the perception, we need to get more and more people to understand what it takes and what PR means. And I think we’ll win eventually.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:31:37):
Yeah. Yeah, I think so too. I remain convinced about the profession and what it can do. So if you were to just think of an opportunity in the market, what would you say it is today, in terms of communication?

Archana Jain (00:31:52):
I think, you see, with digital, definitely, that’s kind of a given today. But in terms of the services that we offer, I would think bulk of the consumer communications work is happening in the purpose domain. We are doing a lot of community advocacy programs, because authenticity is absolutely imperative. And for that, it’s no longer talking about the big macro influencers or the celebrity advocates, but more the [inaudible 00:32:30], right? You and me that have the power to influence other consumers to buy. So we are seeing a lot of play in these two domains, by and large. Interestingly, in the profession, we’re also getting a level playing field with maybe a digital agency or creative agency, because they’re looking at: may the best idea win. And since all of us are now working on that integrated model, I think it’s interesting times for the whole profession.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:33:03):
Yes, of course, it’s: may the best idea win. That’s a really great point. I was about to ask you about purpose-driven communications and community advocates. Would you tell us a little bit more about that?

Archana Jain (00:33:16):
Let’s say if you’re trying to sell a soap, right? Or a car. In the old days, you would just attach a very famous personality to it and you would say, “Well, I’m holding the soap, and I’m kind of saying, okay, this is my television campaign, and it gives me softness and it makes my skin glow and all of that.” Now, those are conversations that are pretty much dated now; as the differentiators dissipate, that’s really something that everybody offers. But what you’re finding at the commodity level, at that sort of level of the mass market, you need to sort of somehow find or associate with a particular cause, with a particular purpose. Stakeholders want that. Consumers want that. They buy into products because of the values that they see with a particular brand, and that’s what has led to the growth of purpose-based communications.

Archana Jain (00:34:18):
So it’s about saying, while during COVID, yes, every antiseptic brand in the country would be talking about hand washing, but how do you keep up with the core tenet of antiseptic, of continuing to hand wash? That’s a very, very important thing, because that’s going to keep you healthy, keep you away from illness. And in India, if you realize, we eat with our hands a lot, right? We tend to not use cutlery and we use hands most times. So, I mean, that’s been integrated as a subject into an entire hand washing campaign for the same antiseptic brand. Then there is a brand that does skin care and has clinics. It has clinics where people can go for your dermic problems. Now, they’ve looked at inclusivity. We’ve looked at inclusivity for them and saying, “Well, how is it that you can provide employment to the transgender?”

Archana Jain (00:35:12):
So society wants this, young people today want that, and they’re not happy to subscribe to a particular brand if they’re not associated with the good of society. A fashion label, which has been used to doing a lot of work in craft, is trying… had put out a campaign saying, “Okay. We’re equally beautiful, everyone is equally beautiful,” because they want that the fundamental ethos of the brand is diversity and equality. So those are the reasons why we’ve seen purpose-driven communication really come of age.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:35:45):
I’m so glad I asked you that question, because brands, particularly the larger corporations, know it’s important to have values stated somewhere. Most of us are looking for, and I speak of myself here as a consumer, is I’m looking to see it in the behaviors, in the actions, or reflected in the way that the products are made, or, like you said, in the way that the products are presented to the public, so that it feels like it’s more than just something there to attract our dollars or-

Archana Jain (00:36:17):
Absolutely, so no greenwashing, it’s got to be real stuff that you endorse, people subscribe to that values and it’s embedded in their DNA.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:36:27):
How much leeway do you get with your clients to influence them in that direction?

Archana Jain (00:36:31):
Well, again, this is long-term, Anne, so you kind of definitely work with them long-term, but there must be something within what they do, firstly, to trigger that. Like, for example, when, for Adidas, we work with them and they have an association with Parley and because that’s a particular shoe that they make with recycled waste that they gather from the ocean, it’s before the plastic goes into the ocean, they sort of gather all that waste material and create it into a reusable yarn, which then gets made into a shoe. So, once you have a proposition like that, you say, “Well, how is it that you can claim that as a value that you subscribe to and go put it out?” And that led to a big campaign for us, which we call the Run For The Ocean.

Archana Jain (00:37:26):
It was about finding an agent of change in India that was already doing a lot of work in the city of Bombay working on the beaches. So we sort of joined forces with them to say, “Okay, let’s make this happen.” Got buses on the weekends to take volunteers who wanted to go in and help out with that effort, and that landed up to about 3 to 4,000 people running on that one particular day to get the larger awareness on about how important it is to control what you put into the oceans, because that’s going to be the only way that you can save your planet. It germinates in many different ways. You can’t create a program if there isn’t a intent at the client’s end, but we can only say, “Well, these are important things that you could possibly look at.” So sometimes they choose the very commercial angles and we have to, because we don’t run their companies, we certainly can only advise them that is the value of this, but sometimes you find progressive companies very, very willing. We’re finding an increasing number of those now.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:38:41):
Yeah. I imagine that, to your earlier point, that’s something that is generational, and also I think a change in the consumer values from what has happened since the beginning of COVID.

Archana Jain (00:38:55):
Yeah, absolutely, if you’re listening to your consumers, you will see that that’s what they want.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:39:00):
When I first met you, I think that… I’m trying to remember exactly where it was and I can’t remember, sadly. I remember accurately spending a really great evening with you and a couple of the heads of our other external agencies, namely Renata Grabert from Brazil, from Suporte Comunicacao-

Archana Jain (00:39:22):
Wasn’t it in Paris, that day when we were stuck at the Moroccan restaurant?

Anne Muhlethaler (00:39:26):
Yeah. Oh, yes, exactly! Yes, when it was snowing outside in Paris!

Archana Jain (00:39:30):
When it was snowing outside!

Anne Muhlethaler (00:39:32):
That’s where it was! And also we had Feride for the first time, Feride Tansug from L’APPART PR in Istanbul. And I remember meeting the three of you in particular and thinking, wow, these women are amazing, so I think that I probably wanted to have an interview with you since the day I met you to find out more about your journey. One of the things that struck me is: all of you were pioneers in this field. You built your own companies and all of you are women in countries that are developing in general economically, but also you are at the forefront of this sort of relationship with media and the consumer. So, of course, I’m a little bit curious: what has it been like to be a woman at the head of your own company?

Archana Jain (00:40:20):
Very daunting to start with, it was, because, let’s say, workplaces were dominated by men. And so your client customers were largely men, and did they respect women adequately? With a slight degree of skepticism. It’s changed a lot. And what is nice to see today, Anne, is that young people are getting that respect; I remember having to dress up to look slightly older, always, because so many years ago I had a baby face and I said, “This doesn’t work.” So I had to put on very starched saris that made me look very matronly, almost like our prime minister, Indira Gandhi, at that point, and go on marching into corridors and say, “Hey, listen, I know what needs to be done and this is how we work [inaudible 00:41:10].” Those kind of things, but that was different, but today it’s changed.

Archana Jain (00:41:15):
But what I also found that, over time, we weren’t welcoming of women at workplaces. When people would drop out to have babies or nurture their family, sadly few organizations would encourage them to come back to the workplace. There was no flexibility that was accorded to them in their job roles, in their timings. I remember earlier interviews that used to constantly sort of demand from a woman what were her plans to have children, very early on in the job interview, and in those kind of things we had to change. And that’s been wonderful; today we are an 85% women workforce, and our top 100% women leadership team. And I think, somewhere along the line, just being able to help women balance their personal and professional commitments has been very satisfying at one end for us. We introduced work from home way back in 2004; you know Gauri, right?

Anne Muhlethaler (00:42:20):
I love Gauri, how is she?

Archana Jain (00:42:23):
Gauri sort of, when she and I started working together, she’s had both her children and she’s worked right through it with the exception of the maternity period, because she wanted to be home and make sure that she was just checking in on the nannies while she did that, so she worked remotely. She would come in maybe a couple of days and most times she would just be remotely managing a fairly large team.

Archana Jain (00:42:51):
So we were practicing that, so suddenly during COVID, when we had to work from home, it didn’t seem like a strange thing. It just felt, well, whatever we’ve practiced with the four or five people that have been using this in the past, we will just extend it to the rest of the team. We were practicing flexible working hours as well, because what happens is there is such a lot of traffic in India, so how is it that we can sort of get them to sort of beat that rush hour or to… Maybe on a particular day they wanted to manage some inside. Women are the caregivers, are the sort of managers at home as well, so if they needed to run some errands, they could come in late or leave early. Those kind of things that we certainly did, apart from following government regulations on maternity and paternity policies.

Archana Jain (00:43:36):
So we’ve had a gender-diverse approach always to our recruitment, and lucky to have so many capable women under one roof to sort of steer the company together. And that’s been the biggest thing; we gave them role models that it’s possible to continue working, continue pursuing a career, despite having to manage families, and so we are. I think that’s the biggest contribution, I would think, that’s we’ve made [inaudible 00:44:03].

Anne Muhlethaler (00:44:02):
That’s fantastic. It makes my heart feel very warm and fuzzy, because I do remember conversations around maternity leaves and all of those subjects, and it’s different from one country to another and I understand… I also try to put myself in the shoes of the employer who doesn’t want to set a precedent, because then they have to manage people differently, but then at the same time what I was reflecting on in my own journey is that people is what makes work worthwhile, not just the work, and if we don’t look after each other, what’s the point? Right?

Archana Jain (00:44:41):
Absolutely. I mean, people will work for you if maybe you are unable to sort of pay wages of industry standards, because you treat them well. You understand each other a lot better. Of course.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:44:57):
See, I knew you were a pioneer, because that’s the word I had used in my questions, and so I’m so glad.

Archana Jain (00:45:04):
No, I think that you are being very generous.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:45:08):
Well, that’s my opinion anyway. So I saw an interview, I think it was on YouTube, that you did with CommSPEAK not too long ago with Amith Prabhu. And I really, really enjoyed it, and he asked you to share what was a favorite campaign of yours, and I want to ask you that same question because I was really touched by the one that you talked about; so what is a campaign that has marked you as to the power of PR?

Archana Jain (00:45:37):
If I recollect, I would have spoken about the tampon campaign in the state of Germany, and this was while I was on a jury for an award, sort of… I couldn’t believe it, I said, “And this is how ingenious we can get,” and that’s what said: that’s something that I need to, at some point of time, do, for sure. And just for your listeners, just to bring them up to speed on this, tampons were being taxed at a ridiculous, luxury rate in the state of Germany. And the PR agency said, “Well, we’re going to embed that tampon in, actually, a book and sell it as part of that, and that would just come at a much lower taxation bracket, and take that to the government and say, “Well, this is possible to do and make the change, so you have the power to change.””

Archana Jain (00:46:36):
That is why we pursue PR. I mean, recently, I don’t know, I’m sure you saw L’Oreal’s recent work with Kate Winslet on self-worth. I was just like, “Oh, my God!” It was, I would say, well, that’s another campaign that we said we would love to do at some point of time. So we are constantly admiring work in the industry, to inspire ourselves to say, “How is it that we can make a difference?” We’ve done work in India for Benetton, galvanizing the youth to recognize that their vote counts.

Archana Jain (00:47:13):
And this has been when India goes to vote, and because a lot of people don’t go out and cast votes. So that’s an important thing to get them to go out and vote, so it’s interesting campaigns around that, getting rappers to be part of it and the voice of the youth, because they’re influencers, so not at just the store level, but also digitally giving them a voice. I spoke about the Run For The Ocean, where we were onboarding the change agents to make sure that people realized that they shouldn’t be sending plastic waste into the ocean, so those, when you are trying to sort of make a change, do sort of make our work more fulfilling for us, and if we can make a difference in a small way, why not?

Anne Muhlethaler (00:47:57):
Yeah. That sounds wonderful. So one of the things that I wanted to ask you about is… Perhaps you’ve already responded to this a little bit, explaining how you already worked remotely. You’re responsible for a team of how many people?

Archana Jain (00:48:11):
We’re 160 now, in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:48:16):
That is a large company!

Archana Jain (00:48:17):
We’ve grown over the last year a lot, yes. Last year has been good.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:48:20):
So I’d love for you to tell me, it must have been a challenge for you to lead them and to support them throughout the COVID period; is there anything that you can share or that worked or any stories that you want to tell about how you guys supported each other during this time?

Archana Jain (00:48:38):
The first phase of COVID, which happened in April, we all went into these nationwide lockdowns, right? And businesses at that point of time, Anne, were stumped. They didn’t know what was coming their way, I mean, everybody was not sure where this COVID would take them. And so, for us, we ended up losing in the first half year or almost… or the first quarter, that was the first quarter of our financial year, April to June, about 60% of our business.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:49:10):

Archana Jain (00:49:12):
And there were times where Gauri and I and my other colleague, Noopur, we would say, “Well, I don’t know whether we will survive this,” but they said, “No, no, of course we would.” So what we did was collectively take everybody into confidence in saying, “Well, this is the way things are tumbling,” and they saw it because they suddenly… Many of them didn’t have work to do, because their clients said, “Let’s just pause our services till we know better.” They did realize it, but we actually did series of town halls with all of them and said, “This is the way we are, so let’s all just collectively sort of rationalize our wages. We may have a chance to survive.”

Archana Jain (00:49:53):
So at the top team level, people like us and Gauri, etc, we kind of, I took 100%, Gauri and all went 50%. We did, we said, “Okay, let’s just save, because we can conserve our resources. We have enough reserves that will last us for up to six months, so if in six months things don’t change, then we can take a call whether we need to sort of run the business or shut it down.” But, touch wood, once three months was done and the economy started opening up, companies also sort of figured out their business plans, they sort of found solutions to sort of, obviously, start coming back at work, and those needed to be communicated.

Archana Jain (00:50:34):
Plus the diversity in the portfolio helped us, because some businesses continued running; if you are running a consumer packaged goods business, which is, let’s say, soaps and shampoos and antiseptics, or maybe something to eat, people were still consuming that through lockdown, so that businesses kept running. IT services businesses kept running, so the diversity in portfolio certainly helped, and that’s a lesson that we had learned in, I think it was going back in 2010 or something when there was a global recession, and we found that the retail and the fashion and the luxury brands had sort of… It really hit us, it has hit us very bad on the bottom line when we weren’t able to sort of grow sufficiently, so we are diversified. So this time, with COVID, it helped us in that respect as well.

Archana Jain (00:51:28):
But just taking people into confidence, working with them and really sharing the true picture, worked to gain their confidence, gain their acceptance, and they, all of them, I must say, nobody got up and quit on us, and they all sort of worked hard to see how is it that we can get new projects and things like that we could possibly work to rebuild. And it was six months or… Yeah, the year didn’t end very well that particular year, we were substantially lower than the previous year. But I’m glad to say that, looking back today, which is two years to that time, we’re better than when we had left off at the end of March in 2020; today, we are in a happier place, in a sort of a stronger place. So working with teams, sharing, again, like we spoke earlier, sharing and making them part of the bigger picture helps to gain their confidence and to get a buy-in from them.

Archana Jain (00:52:28):
But if you don’t do that and you just give them a limited slice of it, then it becomes: they’ll only understand so much. So it’s been tough, where, yes, the second phase last year at this point was very, very uncomfortable. April ’21 was a devastating time for India.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:52:45):
I remember.

Archana Jain (00:52:46):
Organizations, global and Indian, sort of stepped forward to support the needy, grants came in from all over the world to kind of look at it. We ourselves at the industry level and at an organization level did whatever we could to find medical beds, to find doctors that could be on a helpline, to provide oxygen concentrators to whoever could do it. All of that is something that the company did as much as we can. And there weren’t any facilities available, there were times where we certainly were at loss ourselves.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:53:25):
Yeah, I remember, I think you shared on LinkedIn. Oh, it was heartbreaking.

Archana Jain (00:53:31):
Yeah. It was horrible last year.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:53:34):
Well, I’m glad to see that the transparency approach that you used with your team and the commitment to also support other people in the difficult time has made a difference and has gotten you over that hump. Hoping that things get better and better from now onwards. This is me crossing all my fingers.

Archana Jain (00:53:54):
No, absolutely, I think the vaccination has really helped. Ever since this time, also, the COVID’s spreading very rapidly currently. It’s not that there are-

Anne Muhlethaler (00:54:03):
Same here.

Archana Jain (00:54:04):
Yeah. But people don’t have to rush to hospital. I think the vaccination is certainly keeping it suppressed and it’s keeping it something that a normal flu, almost like a normal, regular flu, so a certain couple of… And at least a week’s rest and then they are bouncing back.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:54:23):
Yeah. Absolutely. Let’s hope that this goes away.

Archana Jain (00:54:25):
Yeah. Totally.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:54:28):
So, as you know, the podcast is like me! It explores life at the crossroads between business and mindfulness, because of my secondary occupation as a mindfulness meditation teacher, and I’m very interested in how all of us have different rituals to keep us grounded, to make us feel more at home in ourselves, especially when things are spinning all around us. So I’d love to hear from you, what are tools or tactics that you employ in general, or anything that worked for you in particularly difficult times?

Archana Jain (00:55:05):
If you were looking at during COVID, I got a new Labrador, and I thought that having that COVID baby around was just fabulous; sort of gave us a reason to sort of nurture for something special. So that certainly helped us, but as a rule, in good times or otherwise, I just maintain a certain discipline around exercise, to try and do that, because if you don’t put in that time every day, it builds up anxiety, it builds up discomfort, specifically at my age now. So I look at putting in at least a good 40 minutes’ exercise first thing in the morning before I go heading to work, because the evenings are not in our control. We’re always out. We’re always out and about in the city, or with something, which is either a client engagement or just out with friends, etc.

Archana Jain (00:55:59):
So that’s something, but on the other hand, travel is my absolute passion, which sort of helps me relax, rejuvenate and find my peace with the world, which is both a learning and an inspiration. So it could be travel within the country in the last two years, because of COVID where we haven’t been able to cross borders, we’ve just put our things in the car and driven off and found a remote part of India and just sort of spent time working on Zoom from there. You don’t have to go to work, so you may as well just go spend time away from the city.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:56:36):
Can you tell us about a spot that you found that was particularly delightful?

Archana Jain (00:56:40):
Oh, there’s a lovely valley close to a place called Manali in North of India. And it’s called the Parvati Valley. Oh, my God, it’s just beautifully unique. The mountains are right there behind you and this beautiful river that’s gushing around and you’re just… It’s so, so therapeutic.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:57:01):
That’s amazing, Parvati is my favorite Indian goddess! Okay, I’m going to look it up!

Archana Jain (00:57:07):
Yeah. Yeah, how do you know about Parvati? That’s lovely.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:57:11):
Oh, I don’t know if you know, but I did my yoga teacher training in 2019 and-

Archana Jain (00:57:15):

Anne Muhlethaler (00:57:16):
I did it actually in Ibiza with a teacher called Suzanne Faith, and on a misunderstanding I didn’t really do a lot of research, she had been super highly recommended and she’s a really amazing teacher, but it was a lineage that is called Anusara yoga and that comes, it’s a Bhakti lineage and it comes from Kashmir Shaivism. So I’ve got a very evolved knowledge of Hindu gods and goddesses and cosmology nowadays.

Archana Jain (00:57:44):
Oh, wow! You could teach me a few things then.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:57:47):
Possibly, at this point!

Archana Jain (00:57:48):
Yeah. So we’re looking forward to having you in India soon, where we can share a meal together and talk more about this.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:57:55):
Oh, for sure. Absolutely. I’m hoping perhaps by the end of the year. That’d be wonderful. I also heard somehow that you enjoy gardening.

Archana Jain (00:58:04):
Well, it’s taken me away from another passion called pottery. I used to be a potter till I decided to move into this house, and I built this home in 2002, and ever since, because of the garden around it, all my weekends were consumed in tending to the garden. That is the reason, yes, yes, so I do enjoy keeping a good garden, but mostly… Yeah, but I feel bad that I’m not spending enough time on the potter’s wheel.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:58:32):
Okay. Well, I’d love to talk to you about that when we see each other.

Archana Jain (00:58:37):

Anne Muhlethaler (00:58:38):
So I’ve prepared a few questions that I like to ask my guests at the end. So tell me, what is a favorite word of yours that you could tattoo on yourself, at least temporarily?

Archana Jain (00:58:48):
Yeah, I know, I’m glad you’re adding the temporary, because, “Tatoo? Never!” is what I say usually, but the word that I guess I would like to remind myself every day would be grateful; to count my blessings.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:59:02):
What song best represents you?

Archana Jain (00:59:05):
I can’t think of a song that would represent me, but you know what? I think a wine would be the best way to describe me. Not that… Yeah. I could say I’m getting better with age, but maybe the Whispering Angel, a benchmark for the new Rose with a balanced character.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:59:23):
Oh, that’s wonderful! That’s an evolution of my question. Which wine best represents you? That’s lovely! What is a secret superpower that you have?

Archana Jain (00:59:38):
Superpower’s only hard work, I think that is the only way of success, you’ve got to work hard, there are no short cuts.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:59:44):
Thank you. A favorite book that you can recommend.

Archana Jain (00:59:48):
Have you read Amitav Ghosh?

Anne Muhlethaler (00:59:50):
I don’t think so, no.

Archana Jain (00:59:52):
Okay. So you got to read all his books.

Anne Muhlethaler (00:59:54):

Archana Jain (00:59:55):
He’s an amazing writer. The book that got me hooked onto him is called Hungry Tide. So you’ve got to pick that up. That’s really a lovely author. I mean, I love Indian writing and I think, very early on when Vikram Seth wrote his Suitable Boy, that’s when I sort of started reading a lot of the Indian authors then.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:00:18):
Ah, interesting, because I did not read the book, but I did see the BBC series, which is absolutely amazing. Oh, my God! I devoured it.

Archana Jain (01:00:26):
You have to read the book, it’s totally even better, I would think. So there’s Amitav Ghosh, that’s good, that’s lovely. And if you like medical books, then you’ve got to read something called The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:00:43):
I’ve heard about it.

Archana Jain (01:00:43):
It’s about the evolution of cancer.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:00:45):
Yes! Someone told me about it this week, actually.

Archana Jain (01:00:48):
Oh, and it is so beautifully written. It just sort of is gripping, but yeah. He makes it… I can’t believe that he is an oncologist. I said, “My God! He is definitely a literary star!”

Anne Muhlethaler (01:01:05):
Oh, wow! Okay, that’s definitely going into-

Archana Jain (01:01:08):
Very good.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:01:08):
… my library. What is your favorite sound?

Archana Jain (01:01:13):
I think, see, there are two ways that I like to travel, I travel into either the mountains or the beach. So on the beach, it’s really the sound of the water lapping against the shore, that’s lovely. I mean, the sort of the mountains, it’s usually the sound of air that’s whistling through the woods.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:01:31):
Lovely. So, actually, talking about places, where is somewhere that you’ve visited that you felt had a real impact on who you are today?

Archana Jain (01:01:41):
I think just growing up in the Northeast of India, that I think shaped me. I grew up in a place in a lovely spot called Shillong. It gave me values. I didn’t become like most of what Delhi people could be, or, I mean, very aggressive, so that has kept me and that’s shaped me a lot, yeah. It is also a matriarchal society, so I suddenly looked at the fact that, yes, women can be the powerhouses, women can shape the families that they nurture. Rest of India is, well, rather patriarchal, right? So that gave me that perspective.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:02:26):
Wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. Imagining that you can step into a future version of yourself, what most important advice do you think that a future you could give to present-state you?

Archana Jain (01:02:40):
Present-state me? Well, I would have to say, “Calm down!” But I think the one thing that I would have to tell myself is, going back a few years, I would say, “Believe in yourself.” That’s been something that I’ve been a bit short of right through life, so just to remind myself that, yes, I can do things and I can make a difference.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:03:05):
And this is my last and my favorite question: what brings you happiness?

Archana Jain (01:03:11):
Simple things, having conversation with Anne! No, very, very small things can make me happy, very, very, but largely it’s been, in a professional capacity, just the joy of mentoring team members, seeing them be recognized on other platforms or chase their dreams and finding the most fabulous jobs at companies, does make me proud, totally proud. But otherwise, popcorn or a glass of wine, watching the world go by, is simple joys that I could live by.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:03:47):
Thank you so much for sharing that. And thank you so much for your time, for indulging me in my thousands of questions; I’m exaggerating, but there were a few! Where can people find you if they’d like to connect and say hi?

Archana Jain (01:04:01):
@ajpundit is what I call myself on Instagram. On LinkedIn I’m Archana Jain, and my Twitter handle’s also AJPundit, but I’m not so active on Twitter. Instagram and LinkedIn would be lovely.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:04:15):
Wonderful. I will put the details and the links in the show notes anyway. So thank you so much for joining me. I hope that our listeners will have enjoyed our conversations as much as I personally did enjoy it. So thank you.

Archana Jain (01:04:31):
I hope they do. Thank you, Anne.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:04:31):
Thank you. And so, hopefully, see each other soon.

Archana Jain (01:04:35):
Very soon, yes.

Anne Muhlethaler (01:04:38):
Thanks again to Archana for being my guest on the show today. If you’d like to find out more about her, about PR Pundit, or any of the topics that we covered today, you can head over to the show notes. Friends and listeners, thank you again for joining me. If you’d like to hear more, you can subscribe to the show, and if you’d like to connect or get in touch with me, you can do so @annvi on Twitter, on Instagram, or @_outoftheclouds, where I also share guided meditations and other daily musings about mindfulness. You can find all the episodes, and more as well, on my website, annevmuhlethaler.com. If you don’t know how to spell it, that’s also in the show notes. And also, I invite you to subscribe if you’d like to receive my bimonthly newsletter. So that’s it for today and this episode, thank you so much for listening to Out of the Clouds. I hope that you will join me again next time. Until then be well, be safe, and take care.