A multi-faceted individual who has won two national awards from the Prime Minister of India for her radio documentaries as producer and script writer in her early years as a professional, Lavanya Wadgaonkar is now the Vice President for Global Communications at Nissan Motor Corporation, based in Yokohama, Japan.
Lavanya holds a PhD and MPhil from Osmania University, India, with specific focus on the language of cinema in India and its effectiveness in representing socio-economic issues. She was also a co-publisher of a book of stories in translation on women empowerment and has several academic papers to her credit on the language of visual art and cinematic narration.
Having spent her initial life in academics, Lavanya also volunteered for All India Radio, Audio Visual Research Centre at Osmania University, and wrote culture columns. When the shift to the corporate world happened, her outlook towards communications didn’t change much – but as a creative person, she started looking at the world in a very different way – in terms of stories, culture, human emotions, etc.
The only difference, she believes, is that in the corporate world, you are hit by a stronger material reality. For her, it is not just about communicating what her organisation is doing, but about bringing that dialogue to a wider audience.
Lavanya believes leadership is all about intuitiveness, and requires a person to take a hybrid approach. It is fine, she says, to have a different personality as a leader from what he or she is expected to be.
Lavanya believes there are plenty of opportunities for women in the automotive industry with no restrictions whatsoever. Of course, it isn’t easy for women in any industry, because we question some of the fundamental behaviours that exist in the society. Her message to young women keen to make a career in the automotive industry is to not hesitate when they arrive at a crossroad or think about somebody else’s impression about them.