A Collective Responsibility: Priya Balan

Leading and winning as if my 6 years of mommy break didn’t happen is something that makes me give myself a pat on the back.

Priya Balan
Executive Vice President Mullen Lintas

MullenLowe Group
Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
London, Regno Unito
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How would you describe the overall culture at your agency / company? 

Open, Fair, Meritocratic, Inclusive and Equal.

There is a collective responsibility and accountability to each other. It’s a bunch of people who watch out for each other just like a family would and that’s what makes us an institution.

My career with the agency began as a management trainee and thereon I donned many hats across offices to now heading the biggest operations for Mullen Lintas.

For me personally, my return to work after a 6-year break is defining in many ways of the culture of the agency. The approach was not that of rehabilitation into an active career, but one that embraced me into the thick of action and groomed me for a leadership role in the immediate future.


In your opinion, what do you see as the biggest change in the advertising industry since women have begun to break the glass ceiling?

It’s a bit ironic that when the concept of winning the gender balance wasn’t even a priority for industry captains, advertising had struck it quite effortlessly. But the head start didn’t quite translate into something more consistent in the long term.

While Media and PR agencies have done it, the journey in many creative agencies has just begun. Singular instances have begun, and those numbers will only rise. So yes, I’m confident that there will be a more definitive answer to this question soon with more of our tribe breaking through.


Do you think that women still face challenges in our industry, and if so, what are they? 

I read a post recently: “We expect women to work like they don’t have children, and raise children as if they don’t work”. While some of us are fortunate to have an ecosystem that steps up and allows us to find a semblance of balance, most don’t. The 3Es - empathy, environment, ecosystem, should be developed our industry so that we are then able to truly enable equality. Otherwise we’ll end up losing talent to marriage and motherhood.


How did you find your way into the marketing communications industry and what professional achievement are you most proud of?

A happy accident that I waltzed into the corridors of the place I always looked up to and haven’t left. Leading and winning as if my 6 years of mommy break didn’t happen is something that makes me give myself a pat on the back.


Who inspires you the most, either inside the industry or outside? Why?

Falguni Nayyar. Effortlessly inspiring in what and how she has built. And having interacted with her a few times, I have come back energized and inspired every time.