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Women’s History Month at BORN: Part 1

3 years ago

By Ramesh Patel

BORN is proud to be home to a number of inspiring female leaders who have grown our business to what it is today, and exemplify our goal of being a diverse, globally-integrated powerhouse agency. In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re doing a two-part feature on some of these accomplished women, who represent different regions and areas of expertise across our firm.

In Part 1, we profile Siobhan Daukes and Lavanya Kurup, from our New York and Bangalore offices, respectively.

SIOBHAN DAUKES, VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS & CLIENT SERVICES (U.S.) 
siobhan_post
What attracted you to the digital commerce and content space? 

I didn’t pursue this space from the get-go. Instead, I began working in BORN’s Content arm in the U.K. about 15 years ago, and have since grown with the business as it evolved. I have been part of many of the agency’s new ventures, from expanded digital services to creating new technologies and growing our global footprint. In that time I managed to experience several different roles across Sales, Operations and Client Services. My work also brought me over from the U.K. to establish the great offerings we had in Europe here in the U.S. office.

What do you find most fulfilling and challenging about your role?

I have been extremely lucky to work with some incredible colleagues and clients over the years. For me, the team I am working with has always been the most enjoyable part of my job. In our line of work, expectation management is key but people can be unpredictable, so working to ensure alignment is both fulfilling and something I’ve come to regard as my particular skill.

In terms of challenges, managing global time differences can be tricky. We have offices in Europe, Asia and the US, as well as clients all over the world, so it can sometimes feel like your inbox is always full. At BORN we pride ourselves on being able to offer a ‘follow the sun’ model, but it can make for occasional late nights or early mornings.

Tell us about a major milestone you accomplished last year.

Last year I completed 10 Spartan races. During this journey, I learned a huge amount about myself and what I was capable of, both physically and mentally. Through that experience I came to the realization that I wanted to be a triathlete, which has led me to train for 4 Ironman races in 2017. It can be a little overwhelming finding time to manage work, training and the important relationships in my life, but every day I continue to learn more about myself and ensure my life is rich and meaningful.

What would you advise your just-out-of-college self? 

Success for me is about happiness and balance. Sometimes focusing all your efforts on one area isn’t the way to be the best you.  I have a career, I am an athlete, I have many incredible relationships in my life—and all take dedication, mindfulness and discipline. I truly believe I am able to grow in all these areas because they exist side by side. To my younger self I would recommend not getting too upset about things beyond my control. Most of the time, you only have control over yourself, so it’s best to focus on handling tricky moments with grace. That way, even if the outcome isn’t ideal, you still know you were authentic in your behavior.

What opportunities do you see for women in business and technology?

I love that I have many remarkable female peers both within BORN and the industry itself. To live in a city and work in an industry at a time when the opportunities for women are so huge and encouraged is something for which I am very grateful. I’m aware that this isn’t the case for a large number of women around the world, so it’s even more important that those of us with these positions capitalize on them whenever possible.

Who is your female role model?

My grandmother was my role model from a very young age. She and I have led very different lives, practically speaking. She brought up 8 children and was dedicated to her community, but I always loved the authenticity she showed in everything she did, even if others didn’t agree with her. She was always smiling, singing, and generous with her love. I felt extremely special when I was around her—and that’s a trait I aim to share with people in my life.

 


 

LAVANYA KURUP, HEAD OF CREATIVE, APAC (INDIA)

Lavanya_post What attracted you to the digital commerce and content space?

This is a very dynamic ecosystem and the possibilities of working with commerce, creative and content in today’s world is infinite. Every day we see and hear about exciting trends that could rapidly change our future in unprecedented ways, which is the reason I chose my career in this area. There is constant opportunity to learn and contribute in a meaningful way. I love the sense that I’m working on projects that keep pushing the bounds of what digital innovation means to us in this area. 

What do you find most fulfilling and challenging about your role? 

Nothing is here to stay! That’s one thing I have learned to enjoy in my role. Becoming comfortable with this ambiguity can be challenging, but after a while I found it empowering to know that I wouldn’t be creating the same output over and over. In my line of work, there is a constant need to reevaluate what we have learned and either take it forward or find a better path for the client and consumer. It is a powerful experience to push yourself to improve, rather than grow complacent and repeat what has worked in the past.

Tell us about a major milestone you accomplished last year.

Last year we launched a large number of new flagship sites for clients all over the world. Each time a new website goes live, it’s like crossing the finish line of a major race. For me it’s meaningful because it’s the culmination of a lot of dedicated effort not only on my part, but on my team’s part as well. A successful launch is only feasible with team collaboration, and that’s something in which I take a lot of pride.

What would you tell your just-out-of-college self?

It’s easy to put success on a pedestal and intellectualize it into something abstract. What I’ve found through my years of experience is that real success is totally different—the path towards it lies in the details of whatever you’re working on. There’s a temptation when you’re young to look for overnight success, but that’s largely a myth. Most of what I deem successful nowadays is the result of a concerted effort, and I find that the small triumphs are often just as important as the large ones.

What opportunities do you see for women in business and technology?

There has never been a better time than now for women entrepreneurs, or any woman starting a career, to excel and innovate in this space. It’s empowering to be in a position that, not so long ago, I might have considered out of reach. This holds particularly true for me in India, where we have so many talented women looking to prove themselves and become agents of innovation and growth.

Who is your female role model? 

I feel lucky to say this, but I cannot name just one female role model because I have many women whom I admire and look up to. From a personal standpoint, I seek inspiration from female artists and environmental conservationists, as these are pursuits I deeply care about cultivating in my life as well as in society more broadly. I think we’re in an age of riches when it comes to having female role models, and I hope that continues to be the case.

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