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Turning the tables on gender ratio, Pink Lemonade employs 75% women

Tanvi Dubey
4th Dec 2014
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The gender ratio in Indian startups has been a hot topic for discussion. More males to females is usually how it is, but Pink Lemonade is breaking some gender norms. At present, they employ 25 women to eight men; a statistic that raises many eyebrows. Tina Garg, the Founder and CEO of Pink Lemonade, is happy to tell us all about it with a disarming smile.

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Pink Lemonade is an agency specializing in content, communication, and design. With Tina at the helm, they offer end-to-end solutions such as corporate identity creation, marketing collateral, design and web services. Tina is an Army brat and claims that her olive green background has given her the spirit to strive, change and rise. Her first professional tryst with writing was for a magazine called ‘JAM’. Thereafter, she went on to specialize in creative writing from London and did her post graduation in journalism. We caught up with Tina to know more about the interesting ratio inversion at Pink Lemonade and to discover why Pink rules.

HS: How did Pink Lemonade happen?

Tina: I always had a knack for design and copy. This was cemented when I was doing communications for Ernst & Young, followed by a role where I was heading creative for another agency. I like to believe Pink Lemonade happened to me rather than the other way round because at one point there was so much work coming in that it seemed the natural thing to start a creative agency. I’ve never regretted the decision.

Each day, I do what I love, and it reflects both in the people’s happiness as well as the company’s performance. Do what you love and you’ll never work a day, is something I firmly believe in.

HS: How did the name Pink Lemonade come about?

Tina: Lemonade is passé, Pink Lemonade is different! Every company looks for freshness in their communication, be it internal or external. Pink Lemonade believes in bringing that degree of freshness and differentiation – the required zest to a brand’s voice. It has worked very well for us and we have clients calling us out of the blue to say someone referred them to us because they remembered the name.

HS: How do you manage a gender ratio inversion at Pink Lemonade?

Tina: To be honest, we are about equal opportunity but it’s just that more of the ‘right’ women have come by and stayed on. And considering their performance, I am not complaining.

Pink Lemonade is a women-friendly organization. Though it wasn’t a conscious decision from the beginning to make it women heavy, it has developed into a company that nurtures women and values their voice at the workplace. We give ample opportunity to women, and have many working mothers and women returning to work after a long break.

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HS:Do you feel the gender ratio inversion changes the way you operate? What are the advantages?

Tina:The biggest advantage I think we have is that we can define ourselves today as a workplace with empathy – which is something women bring to the workplace. The friendly and informal feel at work is largely because women tend to bond over everyday stuff, both work-related and otherwise. What I feel ecstatic about is that this is one place where we’ve managed to put together a culture of empathy and care, where people are not given to gossip and can actually work well together irrespective of same-gender equations. When a team comes together to support each other rather than pull members down, it shows.

HS:Your tips on how others can make it work.

Tina:Making human connect with employees is very important. Human beings everywhere are the same. They look for TLC. If you get this right, people stay motivated. At Pink Lemonade, we have defined TLC as:

Trust & Transparency – It’s important to keep people informed of developments, engagements, new customers, etc. so they are always aware of where the organization is going. Trust them and share whatever you can. And always play fair. How you lead is what others will emulate.

Learning & Growth – Ensure that your people grow along with you. This covers growth of all sorts – both learning at work and the monetary aspect. At Pink Lemonade, we ensure that everyone gets exposure to different kinds of projects. We have also made it a habit to share profits with our people all through the year – our growth is their growth too, so they receive bonuses through the year.

Celebration & Fun – People can work better if you ensure they have fun while they work. Keep it informal, keep it fun. Gone are the days where people worked in straight-jacketed formats. At Pink Lemonade, we give everyone a Pink Holiday by rotation. This is one working day where they are paid to take the day off and visit the spa or shop for themselves or go out for lunch with a partner. What’s more, Pink Lemonade sponsors this.

The spirit of working together is further inculcated by fun potluck sessions with the teams, where the office turns into a ‘khao galli’ of sorts or when the entire team plays Secret Santa during Christmas. Every once in a while we also shut shop earlier than the norm so everyone gets to chill with their families. In a creative agency, it’s very important to recognize that people have a life outside of work too.

HS:What has been most clients’ first reaction to an entire team of women across the table? Post the initial reaction how does it pan out?

Tina:When we work with large manufacturing firms, it’s funny how our clients explain technology to us using examples of washing machines and microwave ovens. Makes us crack up!

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However, post the initial reaction, people work with you because you deliver results and have substance beyond the exterior. The fact that an all-girl team can pull off a video shoot through the night, work with an all-male crew for a photo shoot, plan for change management-oriented communications in manufacturing plants, or even conduct branding workshops for a boardroom filled with men, is a huge feather in our cap. It proves that there can really be gender equality at the workplace.

HS:What is the response of men at Pink Lemonade?

Tina:We are proud of our male colleagues. Their attitude towards women and the respect they feel for women is clearly visible through our interactions at work. They make special efforts to speak up for women. During this year’s Independence Day celebrations, the boys did a silent walk where each of them carried a banner with a social message relevant to women – NO RAPE, NO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, NO DOWRY, etc. This speaks volumes about the respect men can have for women.

HS: Is there anything else that you would like to share with us about workplace gender diversity?

Tina:I find that women are naturally shy in projecting themselves. Men don’t typically wait in the wings for projects to be offered to them, while women are cautious before they ask. The gender equation in the workplace flipswhen you see women come up to the fore confidently. For example, even the young girls at our workplace feel comfortable from day one.

Diversity in an organization inculcates the best of both genders. While women bring in the right level of empathy and commitment, men add the right balance of guts and the ability to deliver.

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