Working towards serendipity

Minari Shah on communications, Mumbai and the motor industry

Minari Shah was apointed head of corporate communications at Indian automotive manufacturing multinational Tata Motors Limited in June 2013, having been senior vice president and head of corporate communications at HSBC India. Prior to joining HSBC in 2012, Minari worked at computer technology multinational Dell, first as head of corporate communications for Dell India, and later as director of corporate communications, Asia Pacific. Other roles include positions at NCR Corporation, L&T Infotech, Mahindra & Mahindra and Sampark Public Relations. She has also worked as senior correspondent for Business India.

The most important quality a communication leader needs to possess is… the ability to see the big picture and connect the dots for the key messages; to translate on ground events into holistic messages over a period of time. And to ensure leadership trust and buy-in.


 

Minari is part of the speaker line up at the 2016 Asia-Pacific Communication Summit, taking place on October 27/28 in Singapore. To hear more great insights from leading communicators, make sure to register.


The strangest thing a journalist has ever said to me was… one journalist always told me he was looking for interesting, anecdotal, “human interest” pieces. So when I found one such, his reaction flabbergasted me – “It’s a great story but people don’t read great stories”.

An influential book for me is… Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled By Randomness, which introduced the Black Swan theory; that really showcases how everything is not necessarily explicable and there are random factors at work that can play a disproportionate role in any event in life. The book has some terrific examples of serendipity but of course I believe serendipitous coincidences are only when one is working towards it! I match this with what I think is one of great Indian philosophical works, The Bhagvad Gita, that shows we need to just do our best at all times without getting impacted by the results.
 
My favourite film is... tough to chose one but Three Colors by Krystof Kieslowski.

Living and working in Mumbai is like… an adrenaline rush! With all its flaws, I love the pace of the city and its attitude, plus it has so much to offer – an amazing work culture, cinema and theatre, food places, great walks (though traffic can be an issue) and more.

The one tool I can’t work without is… my phone – for calling, for taking notes, for listening to music, for reading in a rush… it’s my connection to everything!

My favourite aspect of the motor industry is… the passion it evokes and the fact that it is at the cusp of major technological changes.

The best piece of advice I ever received… one personal advice: if you have the conviction of your thought, you do not need anyone’s approval for it in life. And a work-related piece of advice: just take the initiative and be a leader, enhance your role; designations and so on will follow.

Minari Shah

Minari Shah became head of corporate communications at Indian automotive manufacturing multinational Tata Motors Limited in June 2013, having been senior vice president and head of corporate communications at HSBC India. Prior to joining HSBC in 2012, Minari worked at computer technology multinational Dell, first as head of corporate communications for Dell India, and later as director of corporate communications, Asia Pacific.  Other roles include positions at NCR Corporation, L&T Infotech, Mahindra & Mahindra and Sampark Public Relations. She has also worked as senior correspondent for Business India.