Natasha Mudhar, CEO of Sterling Communications, on the challenges and joys of being an entrepreneurSaswati Mukherjee
Courage to face seemingly insurmountable challenges often comes when a loved one sets the example of breaking barriers. Raised in London, Natasha Mudhar graduated from City University in Sociology and Media. Back then, even in London, there were not many women in the communications sector, but she was determined to make a mark. What helped was her mother, who showed by example how to convert challenges into opportunities.
Today, Natasha is the CEO and MD of Sterling Communications, London.
On gender equality at work, Natasha feels that though strides have been made globally, inequalities exist even in the Western world, where women who hold top positions in firms are subjected pay parity.
Ironically, I faced the most amount of discrimination from Indian peers and clients who, because of my Indian heritage, had the perception that I only worked with clients of Indian origin or that my work only extended to the Indian diaspora,
recalls Natasha, who took over quite ably from her mother who was the backbone of Sterling Communications.
When Natasha’s mother started the company, it was with a computer, a cell phone and two assistants. One of Natasha’s first clients at Sterling was Western Union, a brand that helped her mother launch in the UK.
Around the time Natasha started at Sterling, marketing Indian cinema to the global diaspora began picking up pace and Natasha’s mother started it in the United Kingdom. Sterling is credited as one of the first communication agencies to have given taken Indian cinema a global platform.
Natasha remembers that breaking into the market wasn’t easy. With her persistent hard work, drive for innovative strategies and an incredible team in place, the industry accepted her and Natasha says they have managed to give the company a global position in the market.
The historic UN campaign
Natasha, apart from focussing on Sterling become a global company, also headed a historic UN campaign in India.
The Global Goals Campaign was conceived by philanthropist and acclaimed British filmmaker Richard Curtis. “The aim of the campaign is to promote the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development that were agreed by 193 world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015, to citizens globally. The ultimate goal is to end poverty, fight injustice and inequality, and tackle the threat of climate change by 2030,” says Natasha, who is the India Director for the Global Goals Campaign. She was responsible for spreading these goals to the 1.27-billion people living in India.
“It is the future of children under-14, that we are committed to improve,” says Natasha, adding that they will soon be revealing exciting plans for the campaign in India in 2016.
On the journey of entrepreneurship
Natasha picked up most of her skills on the job, and believes there is no substitute to hard work.
My mantra has always been to challenge the conventional hierarchy. Then there is of course the big virtue of working hard and knowing your strengths. Being surrounded by a team that brings out the best in you is equally important,
One powerful tip from this entrepreneur, which she herself has closely followed in life, is to never underestimate the power of initiation and innovation.
Natasha says her work keeps her motivated.
“My mission is to develop the company into a global business that links corporates, celebrities and governments internationally . In addition to my international work with mainstream brands, I am proud that Sterling is recognised as a pioneer in popularising the India narrative to a global audience, fostering thought-leadership opportunities across both business as well as cultural links,” she adds.