Sahiba Dhandhania

Sahiba Dhandhania Milestones and Challenges of an Aspiring CEO, Empowering Digital Boom!

WOMEN INTERVIEWS

How did you come to be an entrepreneur?

It all started with my passion for Economics and Finance. In 2013, I joined DE Shaw, the world’s largest hedge fund, as an Associate. It was an amazing learning experience!

However, I felt a strong desire to bridge the gap between academia and industry. So, I created a unique EdTech product with support from IIT Bombay and Matrix Partners. In 2016, Economic Times recognised us as The Most Promising Startup, a proud moment for the team!

After a few years, my passion for content led me to consult with global advertisers and publishers, helping them monetize their content through contextual advertising. This move turned out to be a great success, and soon brands were seeking my expertise.

In 2018, the Walnut Folks Group was born. We have tirelessly assisted over 500 brands with their content and marketing strategies, generating over 1 billion content views. It has been an incredible journey, and I am excited for the future!

Throw some light on your business and its offerings/services. How is it different from other companies?

Well, let me tell you about Confluencr, India’s Largest Influencer Marketing Agency. We’ve got a whole bunch of cool services that we offer. We’ve got UGC, Meme Marketing, Celebrity Endorsements, Influencer Marketing, and Talent Management.

But here’s the thing that really makes us stand out from the crowd: we know our stuff when it comes to leveraging social media influencers. We’ve got some serious expertise in creating impactful campaigns that make a real difference. Our track record speaks for itself. We’re all about driving brand awareness, engagement, and conversions.

How challenging is it for a woman to start/ or associate with any company? /Have you faced any unusual situations doing business in India as a female entrepreneur?

Most of the time, it is Gender bias and stereotypes. As a woman myself, I’ve personally witnessed how women are often subjected to unfair prejudices and stereotypes that suggest they’re somehow less competent or suitable for certain roles. These biases impact how women are perceived, treated, and supported within the business environment.

Work-life balance is another demanding aspect, particularly for women. Juggling professional responsibilities and personal lives can be overwhelming, especially when societal expectations and care giving duties come into play. These factors can seriously hinder women’s ability to dedicate sufficient time and energy to their business pursuits. .It’s a real struggle, but we’re strong enough to overcome it.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

Achieving that work-life balance is a real deal for me, especially being a dedicated mom. First things first, I’ve got this structured routine that kicks off before the crack of dawn at 6:30 a.m. It sounds early, but trust me, it sets the tone for the whole day. I’ve also learned to set realistic goals for myself, which helps me avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Now, here’s the real MVP in my game of work-life balance: Google Calendar. I rely on it for everything. I rely on it for work-related tasks and to carve out dedicated time with my son. I make sure we have moments for shared snacks and even schedule personal activities like journaling. This level of organization helps me get things done efficiently. I usually wrap up my work around 5:30 to 6 p.m. each day.

Ultimately, this approach empowers me to strike a harmonious balance between my professional endeavours and my personal life. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort.

If you could describe yourself in a few words, what would they be?

Goal oriented, Visionary Leader, Dynamic, and Multifaceted Marketer.

If you could change anything in the Indian market, what it would be?

In the Indian market, one prominent observation I’ve made is the predominance of males in key decision-making positions. This male-dominated landscape extends even to sectors such as cosmetics and skincare, where the majority of the target audience comprises females.

Let me give you an example. I once worked with a European brand that had a unique practice of employees using their own sleep-enhancing mattresses, creating a strong bond with the brand.

In contrast, the Indian market lacks gender balance in top-level roles, and many brand representatives lack personal experience with the products they promote. This raises an important question: How can they effectively market a product if they don’t have the personal understanding and connection that come from using it themselves?

That’s why I believe it would be highly beneficial for the Indian market to strive for a more equal representation of both genders in decision-making positions.

How are entrepreneurship and working women important for India?

Entrepreneurship and the presence of working women are like the backbone of our nation, just as mothers are to an ecosystem. Their presence brings diverse perspectives that complement those of men, creating an inclusive environment benefiting everyone. Women deserve equal opportunities and should overcome self-doubt to seize them confidently.

To establish India as a hub for world-class brands, we must embrace inclusivity, diverse cultures, and unity. By embracing different opinions and empowering women in significant roles, we can shape a better business landscape.

Define a perfect business leader. What are the qualities you think a great leader possess?

In my opinion, a perfect business leader is someone who knows how to lead a team effectively and consistently delivers impressive results. They’re not just good managers; they’re true inspirations who bring out the best in others.

But what sets apart a great leader is their openness to new ideas and their willingness to adapt. They understand that the business landscape is constantly evolving, and they’re quick to adjust their strategies to stay one step ahead of the competition.

What is the road map of your organization?

Confluencr’s organizational road map is all about embracing the ever-changing marketing landscape. It’s a bit tricky to predict exactly where we’ll be in five years, but we’re laser-focused on growth and expansion, especially in emerging markets like Southeast Asia and the UAE.

We’re also super excited about our latest initiative called “Spotlight By Confluencr.” It’s all about talent management and building a vibrant community of content creators. This initiative is the heart and soul of our long-term strategy, and we’re planning to pour a ton of resources into expanding and refining it in the years to come. So, keep an eye out for some awesome things happening on that front!

A brief description of the major awards won by your company.

  • Most Promising Startup in 2016

  • Best Startup on Campus by ET

  • Outstanding Leadership Award

  • TGIM Young Marketer Award (Under 40) Female

  • Best Large Influencer Marketing Company

  • True influencer in the BFSI Category for multiple Campaigns by The Incredibles of 2021-22

  • Best Use Of Video in Influencer Marketing campaign

  • Best B2B Campaign by Social Stars 2022

  • CEO of the Year by Indian Achiever’s Awards

  • Best CEO by Fempreneur

  • Young Businesswoman (Under 35) by Fempreneur

  • Best Video Content in a Digital Campaign by/for a Healthcare Enterprise

  • The Great Indian BFSI Influencer Campaign of the Year

What advice would you give to other businesswomen who want to thrive in a male dominated industry and deal with the typical and stereotype people?

Challenge stereotypes and embrace strengths. Women are often labeled as overly emotional, but we can defy expectations by incorporating data into our conversations. Let facts and figures support your arguments and witness the positive impact it brings.

But here’s the thing, ladies: remember to celebrate our strengths as well. Our empathy and emotional intelligence are often undervalued, but they hold great potential for business success and building meaningful connections. So, ladies, never hide your strengths-let them shine!

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