Tripti Lochan (pictured) took on the role of co-CEO of VMLY&R Asia last September following the merger of VML and Y&R, rising from her position as CEO of Southeast Asia and India. Before VMLY&R, she was CEO at Qais Consulting for about six years, and director of business and operations at XM Asia Pacific for more than four years.
Having helmed leadership roles for close to two decades, Lochan has grown from her experiences throughout the years as a leader, standing firm in her decisions and being confident. She tells A+M about her experience as a female boss in the ad industry and dishes out tips for ambitious women.
A+M: What has been the toughest thing about being a female boss?
Lochan: I really don’t feel this has been a problem for me. I truly believe – and this is the culture that I have tried to create at VMLY&R – that it isn’t about gender but about the merit of a person, and their competency or skillset for the job they are doing.
I think of myself as a CEO, not a female CEO, and the challenges I face are those that any leader faces.
A+M: Staff members aren’t always the kindest to opinionated female leaders. How do you deal with this?
Lochan: I continue to be authentic and remain who I am. For example, I communicate very openly about conflict, and do so consistently. My opinions come from experience and knowledge and I stand by that.
A+M: What are some of the biggest challenges women on top in the ad/marketing world face?
Lochan: I think one challenge is sometimes not being able to socialise with clients or others in the industry the way men do. I don’t play golf; I don’t like to go clubbing; and often these are events which clients or men in the industry network frequent.
A+M: A tip for ambitious women?
Lochan: Keep creating the bigger version of yourself every single day.
Keep learning, keep striving for more, and surround yourself with people who complement your skills.
That is the only way to grow yourself and your organisation.
A+M: Last year, the #MeToo movement took the world by storm. Do you think the #MeToo movement had an impact in the local adland?
Lochan: It definitely did. People stopped and thought, they reflected on their culture and those who weren’t already there made an effort to create a more diverse, respectful environment.
A+M: Is sexism and harassment in the ad/marketing industry an issue in Southeast Asian markets?
Lochan: While the publicity on these topics has raised awareness of the issue, SEA markets need to remain committed to taking the issues of sexism and harassment very seriously.
A+M: Do you see tides changing locally since the emergence of the #MeToo movement?
Lochan: The tide has been changing in Southeast Asia’s ad/marketing industry for a while now, not just since the emergence of the #MeToo movement. You can see this reflected in the number of women leaders across the region. At VMLY&R, we want to make sure that we nurture female talent, especially across the region in cultures where women are not always given the same opportunities as men.
This is part of an International Women’s Day series by A+M, featuring female leaders in the industry and their views on being a female boss.
Wavemaker Malaysia’s Michelle Achuthan on surviving a boys’ club
‘Opinionated doesn’t mean aggressive or masculine,’ says Pos marketer Schrene Goh
Grey Group Malaysia’s Irene Wong: ‘For me, taking charge feels natural’
‘Find your voice, not just to speak but to be heard,’ says M&C Saatchi’s Lara Hussein
Facebook’s Nicole Tan on mentoring women and creating opportunities around it
Ex-AirAsia marketer Kathleen Tan shares her personal challenges as a female boss