About Sangeeta Chacko – With over 24 years of proficient experience in the Marketing & Communications arena, Sangeeta Chacko has handled a diverse range of portfolios spanning Advertising, Marketing, Brand Communications, Public Relations, Events & IP Management, CSR, Licensing, Retail, Publishing and Business Development with leading global organizations including O&M Advertising, The Walt Disney Group, TCI, Abacus and Kuoni. She joined Percept Limited in 2006 as Head – Corporate Communications and intercepted the Communications program for the entire Percept Group spanning 15 diverse Group Companies in the Entertainment, Media and Communications domain and IPs like Sunburn, Bollyboom, FLY and EPL.
An International & National award winner, she is a recipient of the 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and has been featured in the ‘Marquis Who’s Who In The World®’ 2014, 2015 & 2016 Directories featuring global achievers. She has also been conferred with the ‘World Women Super Achiever Leadership Award’ in 2017, the ‘Bharat Excellence Award’ and ‘Rashtriya Mahila Gold Award’ in 2014, the ‘Outstanding International Business Communicator Award’ and the ‘Rashtriya Nirman Ratna Award’ in 2013 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the Communications, Academics and the CSR domain.
An avid Writer and Blogger on topics that coalesce Business, Philosophy and Spirituality, she also addresses many SME and Media Industry forums, and serves as Guest Faculty at leading academic institutes including IIT, XIC, MET, ISB&M & DGMC. She is also a Member of the Board of Studies at the Deviprasad Goenka Management Institute of Media Studies.
What or who has been your motivation behind your success?
As a Communications Specialist who relishes the challenge of handling every type of communiqué that involves a creative and lively exchange of ideas, information, stories and advice across both business and life counselling areas, my inspiration and guidepost all through life has been Books (no surprises there)!
Books were my constant companion and window to unlimited knowledge… and with the power of knowledge came growth and success. From a very early age on I grew up in a home surrounded with Books from the greatest literary minds spanning Shakespeare, Tennyson, Keats, Milton, Yeats, Wordsworth, Emerson, Dickens, Tolstoy, Homer, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, James Joyce, the Bronte sisters, Oscar Wilde and more. I voraciously consumed all of these by the age of 12 and moved on to reading up on genres including world history, geography, satire, mystery, drama and sci-fi from contemporary authors. As I grew older Books and now the Internet became my gateway to infinite data and information across every possible science, new age philosophy and sphere.
Over the years, people may have disappointed or let me down, but books remained my wise, loyal and sturdy lifelong companions. As C W Eliot aptly said, “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers.”
How has your journey been? How easy or tough has it been to achieve your goals!
Every journey has its fair share of ups and downs, and that’s the beauty of life. If the goal is clear one develops the ability to turn a blind eye to challenges and detractors.
Given my innate fascination and interest into the complex workings of the human mind I majored in Psychology and thereafter went on to combine the skills and insights received from this Science with my natural gift of Communications to enter the world of Advertising, Marketing and Brand Communications.
The 90’s was a fascinating period in India…liberalization, new career streams and big MNC brands making an entry into the country offered us many opportunities to explore and grow rapidly. The rapid transition to Digital propelled our capabilities and careers further. I was always drawn to working on atypical innovative Brands that elicited awe and wonder such as all the Disney Films & Characters; off-beat Destination Holidays at Kuoni and TCI; and Percept’s EDM Festival Sunburn, as these brands stretched and pushed my limits in lateral thinking, innovation, creativity and audacity when communicating with Stakeholders.
Yes, I do admit as a woman there was no dearth of challenges for me in an era that was witnessing a massive shift in terms of aspirations, emergent career alternatives, gender balance recalibration, work-life balance, disposable income and a range of choices across almost every imaginable sphere. But being the daughter of a single working mother I had the good fortune of learning early on that everything can be juggled and managed in a calm, collected and pragmatic manner. That experience helped me to perceive every obstacle encountered as an opportunity to objectively research, learn and grow from strength to strength. Each challenge surmounted showed me the intrinsic values of having a never-say-die attitude, thinking out-of-the-box, tenacity, patience, willpower, humility and gratitude. Challenges only brought out the best in me and enabled me to mature into a stronger and better version of myself. Confrontations also helped me to discover the power of speaking up and voicing my truth. I realized the importance of facing my inner demons and fears, and rising above them to face bullies and oppressors head on with tact, compassion, empathy and fearlessness. Today, I look back in gratitude at all the hurdles faced as I wouldn’t be half the person I am without all the tribulations faced.
More importantly, my challenges and associated turbulence in my earlier career years helps me to empathize with the confusion, anxiety and angst faced by many youngsters who are stepping out into the corporate world. I make it a point to keep aside some time to not only educate PGD college students in the media industry from a theoretical perspective but also use that opportunity to share my life wisdom and experiences to enable them to become resilient and attain that much needed preparation, edginess and maturity towards their careers and lives going forward.
Who is your role model in Life?
My Mother ‘Rose Augustine Chacko’. A wonderful role model from the start and my greatest Inspiration.
A self-made true ‘Shero’, she effortlessly juggled many work-life roles with poise, dignity and elan. Her exceptional creativity, discipline, focus, courage, altruism, alacrity, multi-tasking skills and resolute display of grace under pressure served as a fabulous learning curve and guidepost for me as I embarked into becoming my own person. In spite of being a lauded actress, singer, dancer, model, poet and writer (featured on Wikipedia), she merged into the corporate workforce to gradually lose her unique identity and creative talents to the anonymity and insignificance that comes with the corporate world. Maybe that’s a reason why I encourage many people through my writings and speeches to break out of the rut and pettiness of industrial thinking to realize the enormity and greater purpose of their individual talents and gifts.
Her life journey not only taught me the virtues of ‘hard work, discipline, patience, kindness and fearlessness’ but more importantly that ‘Nothing Is Impossible’ if one is willing to break through one’s inner fears and limitations. I have also inherited all her creative talents, so that’s truly a blessing and gift that I intend to fully capitalize upon and leverage in the years ahead.
Tell us something exclusive about yourself? What you love to do other than your work?
I love advising, speaking and writing on topics that blend work, life and spirituality. Given my packed schedule, launching my Blog – “Bridges and Barriers” – http://sangeetachacko.blogspot.in/ took a while, but I really disciplined myself and dived into it completely in the past year… and it’s been a wonderful ride. With over 50 full-fledged articles posted up that effortlessly merge business practices, philosophy, ethics and spirituality, the writing has not only been a fantastic cathartic process, but has also translated into receiving some wonderful reviews and feedback globally.
It’s especially inspiring to receive feedback from readers who state that my ‘Bridges and Barriers’ series of motivational speeches, daily inspirational quotes and articles struck a chord and helped them resolve many emotionally taxing situations both at a professional and personal front. Knowing that my views and words can help fortify, bolster or restore another person’s spirit is well worth the midnight oil I burn when pondering over the thoughts and words poured into my articles.
Your Inspiration in Life?
All the women from my mother’s side of the family who have encircled and enriched my life including my Mother, Aunt, Grandmother and Great Grandmothers were absolutely phenomenal. They were the ultimate examples of ‘Women of Substance’. They never judged, criticized, blamed, gossiped, lectured or moralized, but instead exemplified perfection simply through the way they lived and conducted themselves. Self-made, reserved, independent and highly respected women, they lived enriched lives filled with integrity, dignity, creativity and quiet wisdom. They have all moved on beyond this world, but I hope they know that I hold all of them in the highest of esteem, and how much their lives served as an inspiration, especially during my low points, conflicting moments and tough phases. Their integrity, honor and acumen became the very backbone of my personal and professional life.
After all, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree!
Where do you see yourself five years from now!?
I see a natural progression from my current corporate space of Marketing Communications into accomplishing my goal of being a Speaker and Writer. I envisage myself travelling the globe, exploring diverse histories and cultures, embracing new age wisdom and disciplines from the Great Teachers, networking with the global community and sharing the amazing insightful experiences garnered through the pages of my books. My writings will veer around encouraging people to break free from the antiquated corporate patriarchy, developing new skills that would encourage greater creativity and freedom, keeping an open mind to new age theories, encouraging progressive social policies and collaboration, and developing greater tolerance, parity and equanimity to the global village we occupy. The old era of materialism, corruption, exploitation, self-gratification, industrialization and patriarchy is collapsing even as a new paradigm of equality, sustainable living, transparency, tolerance and compassion emerge.
Words are a powerful instrument, and I hope to do justice with them in this emergent new era in the coming decade …
You said you love to explore and travel the world! share your most admired destination/s and the reason you love it!
I am an avid explorer and have traveled extensively across England, Scotland, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Egypt, Singapore, Thailand and almost every nook of India. I have always preferred choosing destinations that showcase a marvelous portfolio of ancient history and culture, vista, cuisine, entertainment and adventure. My Blog “Bridges & Barriers”, Daily Inspirational Quotes and associated Guest Articles are often inspired by my travels, chance encounters with fascinating diverse people that comprise our world, a natural observation of their life, as also listening to their interesting narratives.
My fave destination so far has been Egypt. For thousands of years, this land has been a significant playground to some of the greatest dynasties, legends of love and heartbreak, epic battles, betrayal and tragedies, as also enjoyed a flourishing land and sea trade with other ancient civilizations, a rich multi-cultural past encompassing the Pharaonic era, Hellenism, Christianity and Islam, and a treasure trove of art, architecture, science and medicine. I traveled to Egypt with a preconceived bias expecting to see the last remains of some crumbling monuments, a land scarred by poverty and conflict, poor infrastructure, unfriendly locals and horrid hot weather! I came back completely transformed – the magnificence & grandeur of the past has been so well maintained (tourism and tour guides are treated at par with other professions such as doctors and lawyers here); the cities and towns are so well maintained (clean wide roads and all basic amenities in place) that it makes me cringe when I think about our daily struggles in Mumbai; the Egyptian locals were so warm that it makes you wish you’d never have to return to India, and to top it all, the weather was really ice cold in November! The one thing that truly surprised me and stayed in my memory long after my return to India was the amazing warmth, hospitality and love that our Egyptian brethren have for us Indians. Every single Egyptian citizen I met all along our holiday just went out of their way to help us out, guide us around, offer amazing discounts on products and just chat up the minute they got to know we were from India. The minute they heard that we were from India, the first reaction of all the locals were, “Aaah…Amitabh Bachchan!” Initially I thought it was just a flippant remark made in passing, but after hearing this non-stop from all the locals across 10 days I realized just how popular Amitabh Bachchan, Bollywood stars and Indians are to this race of people.
In the 5th century BC Herodotus wrote of Egypt that “nowhere are there so many marvelous things…nor in the world besides are to be seen so many things of unspeakable greatness”…the same holds true even today. Egypt’s glorious past and amazing embracement of the modern world makes this land an extremely unique and must-visit destination unlike any other in the world, for any traveler!
Your One Liner for All other Women Aspirants?
Voice Your Truth – Rather than be forced to change, become a force of constructive & collaborative change…
Your Message to our readers…
As a Woman you are the Full Circle. Within you lies the entire power of the Universe … the power to create, nurture, build and transform. But it is important for YOU to realize the enormity of this power, and OWN it. Take the vital step of ascertaining yourself. Understand who you truly are, identify your dreams and goals, and the legacy you want to create for future generations. Don’t ever compromise yourself. Accept who you are, and be proud of it. You are more powerful, courageous, resilient and intelligent than you are aware of, and more capable of achieving your goals than you will ever know.
And never stop pursuing your dreams. When there is genuine passion, love and inspiration in your efforts, even the Universe steps down to help you succeed!