Thank you to the 1646 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 questions! I hope reading 7 Questions with
helps you in your leadership.
Name: Ansoo Gupta
Organisation: OneShoe Trust
Ansoo Gupta is the COO of Pinstorm – one of India’s earliest digital marketing firms.
Founder of a social enterprise OneShoe Trust for Responsible & Mindful Travels. Volunteer at Beyond – building global corridors for Indian startups in Middle East, Europe, Africa and South East Asia.
Ansoo started her career with one of the largest mass-media platform in the country : Star TV Network. There she worked across the bouquet of Star channels such as Star Plus, Star World and Channel V. She launched The History Channel in India and other A&E brands Biography, Crime & Investigation in South-East Asian markets. She moved from the then-behemoth TV to a then-fledgling digital in 2006.
As one of the very early movers into digital marketing, Ansoo joined Pinstorm as their International head and expanded Pinstorm’s offices to Singapore, Malaysia, Switzerland, US and China making Pinstorm the first Indian digital agency to have a global footprint. Pinstorm continues to be an independent digital firm with clients such as ICICI Bank, Airtel, Mondelez, Accor hotels, Save The Children, Adobe etc
While she deals with internet marketing technologies on one hand; organic farming and sustainable travel are her other fields of expertise. Her passion project OneShoe Trust evangelises responsible travel and works with various travel brands and government bodies to promote a better way of travelling. With a large B2C travel expo, rural experiences and other cultural immersions under its belt, OneShoe was incubated at IIM – Bangalore under its women entrepreneurs programme.
Currently she is setting up market and funding corridors for Indian startups to take them to international markets in the regions of Middle East, Europe, Africa and South East Asia.
An award-winning woman leader, Ansoo supports many initiatives which aim at bringing more women into Entrepreneurship, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, specially from the non-metro regions of India.
Ansoo envisions a greener planet with clean technologies and healthy people with digital and financial equality for all.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
Just like beauty is in the eyes of a beholder, similarly leadership is as perceived by your team. You don't become a leader just because you proclaim yourself to be a leader or even by assuming a title in an organisation. The most challenging part is to have others bestow the title of leader on you by the virtue of your actions, decisions, thought process, your contributions. You have to continuously serve as a leader of a team even if you are not a designated leader. And that's a tight rope to walk.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Years of working with teams of people who come from different backgrounds, different viewpoints, approaches to life and work and may or may not be willing to listen to you.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I am a morning person. I go for my morning walks along with my music, podcasts, videos etc that I want to catch up on. I do a call with my family every morning. Breakfast is my main meal of the day. I do not drink coffee the moment i wake up - I actually don't drink too much coffee or tea :-) I meditate every day. I do not watch TV as such. I catch up on news etc on my pre selected sites along with a crossword and a few other pastimes. I have a 'work - from - home' routine so my day goes on with my professional work and my house work moving from one to another seamlessly. I like to sleep no later than 11 pm so I can stick to my morning routines. I believe in eating clean and green as much as possible, I support climate action, I am a keen gardener and grow many herbs and vegetables. Being a part of the digital industry, I need to devote a lot to time to upgrading my skills on a daily basis. Whatever time is left, I spend with my kids and family.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Leadership is not about you sitting on the top and bossing people around. Its about having a vision which is more comprehensive, far-sighted than others. It's about doing your own job well and empowering everyone else to do their job with least to zero interference, or even guidance, from you. And the most important task of a leader is to nurture empathy, compassion, collaboration, kindness in their team.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Many books, many leaders, many youtube videos, reels and youtube shorts are very profound. My biggest learnings came from the writings of Choa Kok Sui. He is the founder of modern Pranic Healing and Arhatic Yoga. His main tenet is that of kindness, empathy and positive energy towards one and all, including our environment and our planet - everything in management and leadership flows from there.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
You are not a leader because you are better than others, you are a leader because you understand, appreciate and know how to use the skills of people better than you for the larger benefit of the whole group. A good leader is all about others, not self.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Initial on, in our careers, we all feel the need to prove ourselves and sometimes we end up being ruthless to win that race. It is only later , as we mature as leaders, do we realise that a leader shines not because he or she is on teh top or ahead of everyone else. A leader shines wherever they are and other people naturally consent to his or her exceptional qualities. So the journey of leadership is not to prove oneself over others but of continuous improvement of oneself.