MERgE Talk: Enlightenment
Diwali, one of the most celebrated Indian holidays, is observed over a 5-day period that begins this week. The direct translation of “Diwali” is the Festival of Lights and stands for many ideas, including light over darkness, good over evil, self-reflection and awareness, and most importantly, enlightenment.
To celebrate Diwali, the Asian Heritage Group and MERgE set up a talk with Arun Kumar, Chief Data & Marketing Technology Officer at IPG Mediabrands, to further discuss the subject of enlightenment. Arun discussed some experiences throughout his life and career that he felt were important in his journey so far toward his own enlightenment.
Arun grew up in India in a traditional household where being at the top of your class in math and science was considered a critical achievement. Arun ended up being in the middle rank of his class and majoring in journalism and communications, a status that no one else in his family had ever attempted, and one that caused a great deal of tension at home. He decided at that time, when he was breaking the family norms of tradition, he was going to push boundaries and achieve elsewhere in the world what others thought was not possible.
Arun then went on to work in multiple countries, including India, China, Singapore and now the United States. Throughout all his experiences, he said he has learned much more from his failures then his success. He has found that leadership and success is a team sport and he has failed when his team, or eco-system as he called it, didn’t have a balance of diversity, which included a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds, with people who think differently from him. Arun believs the most important factor to building your eco-system is looking for people who are going to help you and who you can help in return. He strongly encouraged finding mentors, whether part of your team or in other areas of your career, as those are the people who help you dream, help inspire you, make you question why and how you want to go from point A to point B and most importantly support you in your journey. He ended with saying, “the strongest thing that drives you is also most of the time your biggest blind spot”.
About MERgE: MERgE is IPG’s umbrella group that houses five Business Resource Groups (BRGs) across all of their agencies. Their BRGs encourage a rich, inclusive environment as they increase networking and business opportunities for all IPG staff. MERgE’s mission is to ensure that IPG and its agencies are among the world’s top companies for diversity and inclusion.