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Michelle Pereira, Empowering Women Through Entrepreneurial Vision....

Michelle Pereira's journey into entrepreneurship was ignited by her extensive experience in leadership roles within national and international public relations agencies. She became acutely aware of the myriad challenges faced by women in leadership positions, particularly the pervasive glass ceiling that limits equality in opportunity, pay, and promotions. Recognition for women's contributions in agency life was scarce, often hindered by factors such as marital status, physical appearance, and family status. Determined to eliminate these restrictive barriers, she aspired to create an environment where women are recognized solely for their work.

The biggest challenge she faced in her entrepreneurial journey was establishing a business model free from traditional encumbrances. Inspired by companies that championed remote work, she decided to create a permanent remote work culture in 2018. This was a revolutionary concept in India at the time, and clients were initially skeptical about the efficacy of managing projects without a physical office. By investing in technology, tools, and training, she convinced clients to give her model a chance with a six-month trial period.

The advent of the Covid pandemic in 2020 underscored the advantages of her approach. While traditional agencies struggled to adapt, her pre-existing remote infrastructure allowed for seamless operations. Clients who initially doubted the model became its staunchest advocates, recommending her agency to their peers.

Her journey after becoming an entrepreneur has been characterized by a focus on building strong client and media relationships. In large PR agencies, senior executives often prioritize winning new business, leaving junior team members to manage these relationships. This high attrition at the junior level leads to client frustration due to constant onboarding of new team members. As a bootstrapped company, she breaks this cycle by personally investing time with clients, providing senior-level counsel, and ensuring that business problems are addressed through strategic communication.

Through her entrepreneurial endeavors, she has learned several invaluable lessons. She emphasizes the importance of humility, noting that one's business card no longer carries the same weight as it did in employment. She advocates for taking one day at a time, recognizing that true success requires patience and persistence. She stresses that strategic communication involves complexities that require deep research, industry understanding, and realistic client expectations. Ultimately, clients seek partners who understand their business and can build long-term, trust-based relationships.

She has successfully guided companies to meet their business objectives through strategic reputation management. Her efforts have helped secure significant funding, provided critical litigation support, managed leadership transitions, and significantly boosted stock prices through strategic messaging and positive media coverage.

The prioritization of profitability over relationships often leads to weakened client relationships. She also highlights the high attrition rates among juniors and new entrants, attributing this to inadequate mentoring and grooming. This shortage of trained executives affects the professionalism with which media relations are handled. Moreover, she critiques the practice of paid PR as a short-sighted approach that can damage a client’s long-term reputation, emphasizing the need for an investment mindset akin to systematic investment plans (SIPs) for sustained reputation building.

Her message to aspiring entrepreneurs and industry professionals is clear: Do not chase numbers and profits. Focus on building relationships and mentoring your team. Establish a strong foundation based on trust, integrity, consistency, research, and the thoughtful application of knowledge. Through her visionary leadership, Michelle Pereira continues to redefine what it means to be a successful entrepreneur in the public relations industry.

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May 26

Proud of you Michelle and Karl ...God bless

Prashant Sagale

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