Rajat Sethi
Apr 24, 2020

With gratitude: Rajat Sethi

The author who recently retired shares learnings from his 40-year work life and his mentors

With gratitude: Rajat Sethi
In times, such as these, one reminisces about the past and I was thinking back at my professional career and felt it was perhaps a good time, if any, to pen my gratitude for the people who were instrumental in guiding me and shaping my career during these past 40 years of my work life! Like most of us, I have also changed many jobs during my professional journey but there are some leaders who have impacted my workstyle and from whom I have been fortunate to imbibe leadership qualities which have held me in good stead these past four decades!
Thank you, Alyque Padamsee, CEO, Lintas (R.I.P.), my first advertising guru, for teaching me the art of creating drama and impact in presentations, for instilling in me attention to detail and most importantly, for believing in your people and standing by them no matter what the pressure or provocation! For also showing the path for what a humane leader should be by caring for and giving importance to the lowest paid employee upwards! 
Thank you, Tara Sinha, former M.D. TSA (R.I.P.), for making every employee feel a part of a family and for demonstrating that even a tough exterior can hide a warm and caring person!
Thank you, Sorab Mistry, former chairman, McCann Erickson India, for encouraging your people to grow and take on more responsible roles, without looking behind your shoulder...and being genuinely proud and happy when your people progress and take flight! Thank you for showing that it’s not just the employees whom one should be proud of and take care of...but it’s important to know and acknowledge their family for their part in the success of the employee, be it their spouse, kids or parents!
Thank you, Pam Larrick, former global CEO, McCann Relationship Marketing, for building a company which truly believed in the principle of knowledge sharing across markets and geographies and for creating opportunities for people to contribute in growing the company. Thank you for creating a company free of bias and prejudice!
Thank you, Diwan Arun Nanda, chairman, Rediffusion Y&R for showing how to successfully handle the toughest of clients and how to maintain composure and presence even in the gravest of situations and provocations, for believing in your team and celebrating their successes. Thank you also for showing how to stand-up to corporate bullying and having the courage of conviction to act on it!
Thank you, Lester Wunderman, former chairman, Wunderman Inc. (R.I.P) for showing us how to focus on the core principles of our business and for personally guiding and mentoring me in growing Wunderman in India and who once told me that before we practice the CRM principles for our clients, we must first practice the same principles within our own organisation!
I can quote many examples of how each of these leaders had demonstrated these qualities with authenticity during my interactions with them, but these are very personal experiences and I believe best committed to my memory to cherish and preserve!
With gratitude!
(The author has managed country operations for MRM, McCann Erickson, Wunderman, Dentsu and Reader’s Digest.) 
Campaign India

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