afaqs!

Defining Moments: Nina Elavia Jaipuria: Risk-taker

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | October 28, 2014
Nina Elavia Jaipuria, EVP and business head - kids cluster, Viacom 18 has donned many hats. From advertising to marketing to broadcast she lists down the key game-changers of her life.

After my post graduation in Business Management, I made it to Lintas. Since I had worked (summer placement) with Clarion Ad Media before, advertising wasn't new for me.

Nina Elavia Jaipuria

Having said that, Lintas gave me a different kind of exposure, and I feel that getting through the agency was my first defining moment. I worked on Hindustan Unilever's home-care products and, later, detergents. The agency was a training ground for any advertising professional.

My career has spanned many industries and product categories and every change is, to my mind, a defining moment. The employers and teams that I have worked with have shaped me as the person I am today.

After four years in advertising, I thought of testing the waters on the other side when I moved to Colgate. I took a risk and also a cut in pay, but it was worthwhile. Colgate had acquired Cibaca's toothbrush range and that landed on my lap. It had to be revamped and I got to do a lot more than just advertising. I enjoyed doing new launches, logistics, promotion plans, sales - it gave a sense of ownership. I kind of defined my career to say that I prefer a far more holistic job and be the owner of the product than just do a small subset of it.

Colgate was a landmark year because I got married and had to soon leave the company to shift to Bengaluru (in 1998) where my husband had shifted.

Challenge - and risk

The thrill was about trying to challenge myself with different things, jobs and categories. I was open to what came my way and joined BPL Cellular in Bangalore.

Three months after giving birth to my daughter, I had to give up on a two-year-old job in BPL to take care of her. That was another defining moment. There is a fine line when you can make a comeback and when you can't. The world was changing - personal computers, instant messaging had started to make their way.

In 2003, when we came back to Mumbai and I started hunting for a job, it was not easy. I gave many interviews and there were many employers who didn't even want to meet me because I was at home for three years. But I relentlessly tried and in 2003, thanks to Sunil Lulla, I entered the broadcast industry with Sony Entertainment Television. I was a part of the marketing team of SET, and then progressed to head marketing and communication for the channel. It was another defining moment to get through the channel because in broadcast, that's your training ground.

I was itching to do a far broader perspective of any business when Nickelodeon happened. I moved on from marketing to general management, which also meant that I had to deliver on the business and the P&L. It meant building and leading a team of more than 50 people. I have always found broadcast enticing because it's the most intangible product and changes every day. You are marketing emotions, entertainment.

In 2006, Nickelodeon started from the bottom of the ladder and, within two-and-a-half years, reached the top spot. We have targeted different segments - pre-school, comedy and action - and the way forward is to build an ecosystem. Every move that I made was defining in terms of what I contributed and what I learnt. My next defining moment will be when I get to head a larger business.

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