dentsu India Team

This interview was originally published at Social Samosa.

There’s a Superwoman in all walks of life. Mansi Shanbag of WATConsult explains how a healthy personal-professional divide is a trait that Superwomen of the A&M industry desperately needs.

Mansi Shanbag, Lead Copywriter, WATConsult and the newest recipient of Social Samosa Superwoman 2022 talks about mental health and work-life balance, challenges women face in the industry, and much more. 

Edited Excerpts:

What do you think it means to be a superwoman in the New Normal?

To be a superwoman in the New Normal is actually not very different from the old normal if I’m being honest. You have to be patient and impatient, kind and ‘kattar‘, sweet and (seemingly) salty. The New Normal has only added a layer of urgency to all these attributes, is all. 

A big part of success is mental health & work-life balance – how do you ensure to create work-life balance for yourself & those around you?

Strict adherence to ‘normal’ work hours. I don’t care when you start working, but you have to do your 8.5 hours, do them well, and then f— off. Build your day the way you need for that to happen and stick to that plan. We work to live, we do NOT live to work.

While a lot has changed for the better in the A&M industry, what kind of challenges continue to exist for women? Especially with the whole WFH & hybrid work situation

During the pandemic, the challenges have nothing to do with WFH, the hybrid work situation or gender. Everyone – gender no bias – has learned what it could be like to have a peaceful work-life coexistence. And now to have to go back to a world where your work rules your life – again sucks for everyone. 

Pandemic situation aside, I still have instances at work of having to break into a boys’ club to be taken seriously. You have to be ‘non-emotional’, you have to be chill with or sit through certain types of jokes. I hate that and I am constantly rubbing people the wrong way by calling it out. I would like to not have to prove all the time that I am worthy of being taken seriously or having my opinion heard. Some days are just rough days, and I would like for people to not label it as a woman’s emotions. I’m tired and I’m hungry and I want coffee. I could be tired and hungry and want coffee even if I weren’t a woman. 

What in your opinion, helped you excel in your career?

Standing my ground when I believed in my cause. In this industry, as in most, people like to keep doing what they have done in the past. If it ain’t broke and what not. But sometimes, there really are positive changes we could bring about that would make our lives infinitely better, our work processes smoother, our communications crisper and more effective. And if you believe your changes could actually do some good, stand your ground and stand it nicely. Do no harm, but take no s***t

One Superwoman you look up to & why?

I would say my mother, but there’s a very good chance she isn’t going to read this. (she falls asleep when she has to read stuff I have written, you know, very conveniently).

So I would say, there’s a wonderful team of superwomen I work alongside, a network of absolutely brilliant minds who have had to go through similar struggles and emerge out of it as badass as they have. I look up to them every single day.

One thing you would like to change about this industry

The pace maybe? Everything is so rushed and everything is urgent, we have begun prioritizing quantity over quality, and in any world, that is just not going to work out well for us. We’re a busy bunch, I’m aware, but nah. Anyone can do more work. Let’s also do good work.

One thing that this industry desperately needs

Good humour. My god, we need to be able to laugh at ourselves and keep things light for ourselves. We’re a creative field. We should like to have fun with our work. What went wrong here?

And a healthy personal-professional divide. In bold caps actually. HEALTHY PERSONAL-PROFESSIONAL DIVIDE.

One tip for all aspiring A&M professionals out there

Fighting the brass is stupid. Make friends with the brass, grow on them, slowly seed your ideas in their heads, and make them gravitate to your side. Or you know, something less evil.