Every year, BIMA celebrates 100 of the people who are leading the industry right now. We’re not talking about work and projects – we’re talking about the leaders, pioneers, entrepreneurs and changemakers – the people we look up to. In the BIMA100 Voices series, LBB is publishing enlightening conversations with these inspiring people.
Today we’re chatting to Visha Naul, Pinterest’’s director of business marketing EMEA. Visha has been championing diversity in our industry for the last seven years and has driven demonstrable change in inspiring our female future leaders. She is a role model to all, and is now representing Pinterest’s diversity agenda through her role in chairing their women@emea group. There’s nothing Visha is afraid of tackling and she is absolutely deserving of recognition as a BIMA100 Champion of Change.
Tell us about your career path – what led you here?
I started my career probably like most people - by falling into it. I spent time freelancing at various TV companies and then joined Thinkbox - a trade marketing body for commercial TV, in 2007. Unknown to what it might bring, I was introduced to TV advertising, the advertising industry and really interesting people. But I came to a point where change was required for me to grow as a marketer and I was interested in technology and digital. I went on to Google to work across YouTube Ads Marketing and then moved swiftly into brand trust and reputation for Google UK. I was genuinely interested in how businesses grow and opportunities for that and with Pinterest being at a pivotal and exciting moment of its time in doing so I joined the leadership team to help do that. And all of that has led me to where I am now, as the business marketing director for EMEA and building a team over here.
Who has been your greatest inspiration/mentor to date and why?
I have several and they all inspire me in different ways which is why I look to them for advice when I need someone to guide me. None of us have the answers and have it right. However, my one true inspiration has always been my mother. Coming from a single parent family, my mum suffered from domestic violence, and being born in India when she moved to England it also meant language barriers as well as cultural barriers. But her resilience was the most powerful thing I’d ever seen. Raising three children with no money, and doing tough jobs to put food on the table gave me the push I needed in myself to know that nothing is impossible. Reflecting on it continues to propel me.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? What do you love about what you do?
Apart from really strong coffee? Telling Pinterest’s story with the great people I get to work with. I love that we are figuring things out and building here but I also love doing it with the people I get to work with – whether my direct team across EMEA or my US colleagues. Despite being remote we’ve become great friends. In the spirit of ‘building’ I also love that we are finding new ways to enrich our culture in EMEA. Creating and launching Pinterest’s first ever women@emea programme was genuinely uplifting for me. Being amongst women and men all across Europe with the common goal of inspiring and supporting the progression of their female colleagues has been incredible to be a part of.
Workwise, what’s exciting you most right now?
We are working on some great initiatives and campaigns. Keep a lookout. 👀
In your career to date, what has given you the biggest sense of pride?
Four women walked into a bar and from that night out came a network called Futures, that now supports over 100 strong-minded, ambitious and clever women. It’s great to be one of the founders that created a much-needed community like that in marketing and advertising. It’s impressive to see people engage with each other in the community with very little encouragement from the leadership team which goes to show how enthusiastic people are about it.
What difference has being part of the BIMA100 made – or what difference do you hope it might make?
It’s been an honour to receive the BIMA100 Champion of Change award and it does make you accountable to that title. It’s important to be an enabler of change for good. More so in the times we are in when people are looking for a more positive outlook after we emerge from the pandemic. We all want a better and more inclusive industry, so be that voice that makes the change happen.