Raj Girn: Hi, everyone, and welcome to ‘The Transform Your Confidence Show.’ This is a show about holistic leadership and advocacy. And I’m your host, Raj Girn. Here’s a bit about me: I’m a long-time serial entrepreneur who specializes in mindset, branding, media, communications and marketing. And I firmly believe that great leadership and advocacy is predicated on the mission that everyone must benefit across the entire food chain. I’m an award-winning C-suite entrepreneur who has worked in the media and event space for the past 20 years with many Fortune 500 celebrity and thought leader clients from around the world. At this point in my life, I seek to share my many insights and resources with anyone who wants to learn about holistic leadership and advocacy, in a newly launched online community at www.OpenChestConfidenceAcademy.com, where I’ve mandated my entire organization to provide products and services that center around knowledge, action and accountability.
My goal with this show is to pull back the curtain. I mean way back, to bring you insider knowledge and resources on how today’s change-makers are leading with intention and creating meaningful environments that serve everyone. I also want to help you reimagine what your life could be if you had a constant view from the top of the mountain. I believe that in order to get there and stay there, you need to learn from those who have a constant and unobstructed view of nirvana. These are not just the usual suspects, but the ones that sit in the middle of the volcano as the lava explodes to the top of the mountain. They are the crazy ones who change the world, and they are the ones that I want you to meet. Are you ready?
Let’s go. This is a weekly show called ‘The Transform Your Confidence Show,’ which resides under The Open Chest® Confidence Academy umbrella, the third brand that I just recently launched this past month. It’s an e-learning community and we’ve got a lot planned for that. So as time goes by, I will be sharing a lot of what’s going to be going on in that community. Today’s episode of the show is the inaugural episode, so I’m just really excited about getting your feedback on the format of what we’re looking to accomplish. The goal here for me is to show you by pulling back the curtain and sharing varied insights into leadership psychology, so that those who want to have more confidence in their personal and professional communications with coworkers, clients, loved ones and even with yourselves can readily access knowledge and tools that work in the real world, and not just in theory, because knowledge without action cannot change your life.
I’m going to say that again, knowledge without action cannot change your life. This sounds like a cliche, but it isn’t, because if you look at the statistics, most people who set an intention by the end of the first month of a calendar year, their intention is already null and void.
So it’s important that you really focus and sit with what that means. Knowledge without action cannot change your life together. The intention is so rapid in terms of how it can transform your life and your respective ecosystems. So no matter what you’re doing, where you are in the world, sitting with that is really important; the action piece, which is the other half of the knowledge piece. Each week on the show, I will be introducing the topic of the week, providing you with insights and then bringing in a guest to deep dive so that collectively you and I and my guest are able to walk away from each session with actionable knowledge, which in my book is the Holy Grail.
Before we begin and because this is the inaugural episode, and because we are all live across three of my brands and communities around the world, I would like to use this opportunity to bring everyone up to speed about who I am in my complete avatar rather than the version that you’ve been getting, depending on which brand you engage with. So that everyone from this moment forward has the same context on who I am and why I do what I do, especially when it comes to the big, bold statements that I make. This will allow you to understand why I make such big, bold statements, why I action them and why I get them done. Why tune in if you’re going to be getting yet another live stream with no real value to you, your life and your future? I want to help you reimagine what your life could be if you knew what the thought leaders and change makers know.
Just in the context, you can understand where I come from and what my belief system is. So here it is in a nutshell. I was born in England in the ’70s and grew up in South Wales in the ’80s. I had an arranged marriage that brought me to Canada in the early ’90s, and I gave birth to my one and only son in the late ’90s. I got divorced in early 2000. Then I learned to write my very first check and founded two brands. I had no business related academic education or any contacts in the media and event space. These are where the two brands, for those of you who have been with me in those particular ecosystems, is where I’ve been building out since 2002 to now, with absolutely no confidence in whether I’m going to get to that end goal, whatever that was going to be. I had constant fear as my best friend, pushing me and pulling me in all directions, so that I could build out these brands to the level where I felt that they deserve to be, so that they could be poised to work with Fortune 500 companies, A-list celebrities and globally-known thought leaders. I got there, I accomplished my goals. And I did it in a way that I would not teach or coach you guys to do, because it was predicated on a lot of things that I did that if I’d have known better, I could have done better, I could have done faster, and I could have probably had a lot more relative success with that.
I really want this coaching show, this e-learning community, to be a place where the focus is on transforming everyone’s respective ecosystems through leadership-centric communications.
On the personal front, I’m very much a family-, friends- and community-oriented individual. And those of you who have been a part of the media world, also know I love to dress up. I love the glitz and glamour. I love to put my best foot forward, whatever I’m doing and wherever I’m doing it. I live with my 23-year-old son, Karam, and my two and a half-year-old four-legged son Maximus here in Toronto. So that’s a bit about me.
Now, let’s get into the show. I would recommend that you grab a pen and paper so that you can make notes as we go along, because I have a lot to show and I won’t really have time to repeat any of it. The reason is I want to make sure you get a high touch, high level, high value show each and every time that you guys tune in. But on the other side, if you just don’t want to be sitting there making notes, don’t worry, these lives will be available on the platforms that we are currently live on indefinitely. So just sit back, grab your coffee, grab whatever it is that you need, put your headphones on so you can get rid of all that noise, and let’s do this together. Let’s do this every Sunday at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and whatever that time is in your world, anywhere in the ecosystem that you reside in.
Alright. So for this month, I’ve decided to start the year off by giving you a view from the top, because in all my years of working with high profile individuals, brands and companies, celebrities, influencers and everyone in between, I found that knowing where you want to go has a lot to do with knowing what it feels like to be there. And the work to get there, we all know, requires deep motivation to stay on course because sometimes it will be like walking through a light breeze against your face. It will be like nirvana, and at other times it will be like crawling through a hurricane.
And we all know what that feels like because that’s the moment that will you kind of hit that fork in the road, but you have a decision to make: Are you going to keep the trek going? And if you do, you’ll get there, trust me. And we’re going to learn more about that as we go through the year. Or you can decide that I just can’t do this. The expectation of me is greater than what I feel the result of an outcome would be. Those are your two choices, there are no others.
I hope that you’ll be on the road of the track. I hope that I will be what will help you understand and learn through your own experiences, and also through those that I bring to the table through this show.
Staying on course has a lot to do with fixating on that glimpse and feeling that you get when you have the opportunity to touch, feel and taste what it feels like to be on top. Having been, as I said at the beginning, an entrepreneur and a C-suite executive, I can unequivocally attest and tell you that the best solutions are always the simplest in concept and the easiest to communicate to your team so that they can quickly grasp the knowledge and skills, and execute swiftly and efficiently with effective communications. From the top down in your ecosystem, that entire food chain can be compromised. So the nucleus of every successful ecosystem is effective leadership communications.
I am absolutely, unequivocally sold on that because I’ve seen it time and time again. Those who are successful have them. Those who are not, do not. The way that I stay focused, and I want to share that with you guys on my communications being of paramount importance, is the center nucleus of every single thing that I do is to follow something that I have coined as the defining statement. So what is that? First of all, it’s not to be confused with a mission statement because a mission statement is the vision and purpose that are the building blocks of your entire organization, because you need everyone to be on the same page.
The defining statement, on the other hand, is the cement that holds the building blocks in place securely so that the house that you are building is able to weather all storms. Your cement or defining statement must be centered around how you as a leader will communicate with your organization. This can also be translated over in the personal realm because as a parent, how you send to communications in your home as the “leader” of your ecosystem will have everything to do with the outcome of effective, uplifting, valuable relationships that you have with the people that you love. This is the defining statement that I use.
In my leadership, communications is something I’d like to share with you. It’s one that’s been coined by John Brandon and here is what he said. The best leaders are those who seek every opportunity to communicate and mentor others in an effort to clarify team objectives. So let me say that again.
So what does that mean? Let me tell you what I have kind of translated this to mean in my ecosystem. The communicate part means that leadership must advocate a consistent, high touch environment with everyone in the ecosystem. The mentorship part means that the leader must provide training and resources to that team so that they can set them up for performance on the highest levels of competency and advocacy. The third, the clarifying team objectives part, is where the leader needs to cultivate a two-way relationship for the same reason. Time and time again with clients that I’ve worked with over the last two decades, and especially since 2017 when I started by one-on-one coaching, mentoring and consulting practice, I have found that that piece of cultivating a two-way relationship has always been missing in those organizations where success has been very difficult to accomplish, to sustain and also to grow. So it’s really important that you don’t forget that piece, folks.
So the last part of that, of course, is to make sure that you do this consistently, that you also ensure that this as a rinse and repeat formula so that everyone up and down the food chain is well versed with what this is. I want you to replay this part. Actually, I want you to write this down. It’s very important to be the center core of how effective your communications is if you have a defining statement that you use. I would love for you to share it in the comments below. And I’ll take a moment to take a look after the show to see what your defining statement is. But if you don’t have one, I’d love to set that as your homework.
So I want you to work on that. If you already have a defining statement, I want you to revisit it. If you don’t, I want you to sit with the three elements and then the fourth, which is the means. Some of the ways you show that your defining statement is where you want to be with everyone that touches your ecosystem.
Here is our conversation:
Raj Girn: I think that’s a good moment for us to go into our guest. She is waiting with bated breath as I am. She’s a dear friend and someone that I’ve worked with for the last more than 15 years in the professional arena. With a lot of touch points that we’ve had. I’ve learned a lot from her. I want to have the opportunity to introduce her so that we can say hello. Hey, Anita. How are you, my darling?
Anita Chatterjee: Good, good. It’s such an honour to be on your show. I’m so pleased to have the opportunity to share my expertise with your audience.
“Knowledge without action cannot change your life.” -Raj Girn
Absolutely. And they are so lucky to have you here on a Sunday when usually you are going crazy, getting ready for all the work that you’re going to do with your extensive team and all your clients throughout the the rest of the week. So without further ado, let’s get right into it. Let’s get some deep dive happening in terms of what it is that we want to impart in terms of the value of today’s session. Before we do that, maybe I need to make sure that I apply context around the people that I bring on the show so people understand the wheelhouse from where you’re coming into this whole conversation that we’re having.
So folks, Anita Chatterjee is the founder and CEO of A-Game Public Relations, a bi-coastal firm that is known for their representation of celebrities, venture capital firms, tech startups and consumer packaging goods companies. Anita has worked with several venture capital firms and corporate brands such as CAVU Venture Partners, (which CNBC Squawk Box called the hottest venture firm in the consumer packaged goods space). She’s also worked with Trinity Ventures, who were early investors in Starbucks and Jamba Juice.
“My goal with this show and with the academy is to position you guys with the knowledge that I’ve gotten over 30 years of being in the entrepreneur space, with 20 of them being in media, branding, events and marketing so that you can just kind of level up at warp speed because you’re getting it from someone that’s already actioned it, as well as my vast resource pool.” -Raj Girn
She’s worked with Buy Beverage, which sold to Dr. Pepper for $1.7 billion; Vital Proteins, which was acquired just last year by Nestle Health Sciences; and ClassPass, a wellness, fitness and beauty app that hit unicorn status about a year ago. Anita is also someone that builds profiles for these very well known personalities that head up these particular companies and organizations, CAVU Venture Partners’ founder Rohan Oza being one of them. He is also a shark on the hit ABC show Shark Tank. ClassPass founder Payal Kadakia Pujji, who is in a very rare class of entrepreneurs because she’s a woman who has founded a company that has accomplished a multi-billion dollar valuation, extremely rare out there in the venture capital space.
Before Anita founded A-Game Public Relations, she orchestrated PR campaigns for several A-list celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Rihanna. She was an executive at a multimedia startup company called Desi Hits, where her celebrity roster was quite robust. She went to Georgetown University and graduated with a public relations graduate degree, one of the best in the country. And she uses her vast knowledge of network base to drive her company to new heights. Please welcome the fabulous Anita Chatterjee to the show officially. You are just awesome.
“The Academy had a soft launch last month, as I mentioned earlier, and we will be launching products and services throughout 2021 and 2022. Towards this end, I hope you’ll be along for the learnings and ultimately for the transformations that you deserve. Truly, I really want that for you.” –Raj Girn
Well, you’re awesome, Raj. Thank you again for having me on.
It’s an honour, of course, my love. So let’s just dive in. Are you ready?
I’m ready. I’m excited. Go.
Perfect. So I’d like to begin by asking you what leadership means to you.
Absolutely. What a great definition of leadership. Folks, this is another one. If you guys are watching it on the replay, you want to write this down like every single question and answer that you’re getting today. You’re getting tips from the top. You heard Anita’s bio, she works with the best of the best in the business out there. So these insights are insights that you’re getting from behind the curtain.
We’re pulling it right back with deep diving, so I want to make sure that you get the full value. Write this down, guys, and see how you can incorporate and implement it in your own ecosystems, because without doing that, you’re not going to move forward. These are tried and tested, experience-oriented, actionable, simple ways that you can take for the success of your company, and just really push it and elevate and propel it to the very next level that you’re looking to accomplish.
This can also be incorporated into your personal ecosystem, your home environment, your friends, relationships. All of these are very tactical ways that you can actually see how you can create more intimate, meaningful communications and relationships with everyone in every single aspect of your life. Alright. So let’s go into question two. Why, in your opinion, Anita, is the idea of communications training vital to the success of effective leadership? Because time and time again, I see people not taking seriously how important effective communications is in building businesses. So I’m going to ask you again, why, in your opinion, is the idea of communications training vital to the success of effective leadership?
“I hope that you’re able to really catapult and empower yourself and therefore also empower your entire ecosystems.“-Raj Girn
So when executives work with communication professionals, they are able to reflect on what they have done, what they’re doing, and most importantly, the messaging that they want to get out to the public. As communication professionals, we understand what the current appetite is for the press, what they want to report on and what is impactful for them, and will help our clients get their message out. So most importantly, we help our clients put the message that they want to get out in the right words to create the most impact, and to ensure that they are in the media. And the segments they do are well positioned so they can make sure to stay engaging and inform the public, and at the same time get out the messaging that they need to. So that’s why it’s important to have a communication professional to guide you in that process.
Absolutely. And with the noise that we have out there, Anita, online in every single platform out there, just because people are talking to you, does it mean that what they’re talking about is being communicated to you in the right manner? Does that mean that it’s going to engage the right audiences?
There are so many layers to understand in terms of tactical communications, in order to make sure that, number one: your message is succinct, clear, concise. Number two: to ensure that who you’re speaking to, you’re very clear on who they are. Number three: how to actually ensure that you are able to successfully communicate the value proposition to them to come on board into your enterprise, and to be very honest about what those results would look like. Oftentimes, people want to go big or go home, but it’s kind of like smoke and mirrors. And there’s not really any true authenticity around what it is they’re offering, they are just literally doing a plug and play on what they see is going on out there in the virtual world, without realizing that they can end up doing more damage, bringing a lot of the wrong people to the ecosystem because they’re not learning how to effectively communicate.
And a big part of that is making sure that you have an expert like yourself who knows how to do that, or at the very least, if you can’t afford those types of experts to make sure that you actually take the time to come on a show like this, come on other shows and hear what experts are saying about how effective communications should be thought about, should be implemented, should be actioned on, and what the results are that you should expect to come out of it. So thank you so much for that, Anita.
It’s all about quality of placements, of media placements as well as positioning, and that’s what a PR professional can handle.
“The best leaders are those who seek every opportunity to communicate and mentor others in an effort to clarify team objectives.”
Absolutely. So can you share three tips on how in your professional journey, Anita, you made the mind shift so that people can connect with you on that level, how you made the mind shift from following other people’s belief systems to creating your own? And for those people who aren’t clear on what I mean by that is literally working for someone and then making the decision to work for yourself. What are the three tips that helped you make that shift?
Well, over the years when I worked for other agencies, they would encourage us to follow a formula when we reach out to the press, when we interact with others. And after you’ve been on a field for a certain time, it’s okay to try out things that are a bit out of the box. Do you think that’ll work? And if it works, well, you don’t have to follow the formula. So that’s what I’ve learned. And I think a lot of the way I operate is out of the box. And I think it’s very important for all of us to be very creative. So basically what I’m saying is you don’t have to follow the formula. It is important for you to learn the formula and how the industry has been successful because it does work. But you could also find your old ways. It could be more effective for you. So definitely don’t always drink the Kool-Aid. Do your own thing.
“What is your defining statement? And the reason I call it a defining statement is because it will define the success and failure of your enterprise. I’m going to say that again, it will define the success or failure of your enterprise.” -Raj Girn
Secondly, I have to say, a lot of people shared their opinion with me while I was on my career journey in terms of what type of opportunities I should take on and what type of opportunities I shouldn’t. And it’s important to listen to people and take their expertise. But at the end of the day, you are the only person that knows what’s right for you. You know everything that’s on the table for you. You’re the only one who knows what you can or can’t do. Other people may assume that you have the aptitude to do certain things, but here’s the thing, they don’t know. They just really don’t know what advice to give. Listen to them, but at the end of the day, follow your gut and do what’s best for yourself. That’s really what’s helped me.
I had a lot of smart people tell me that I should not move to New York City, that there was no need to do that, and that I shouldn’t pursue a career in media because it was challenging. And I understood where they’re coming from. They’re all grounded, rational. But I also knew the opportunities that I had in front of me. I actually met with everybody one-on-one, and I listened to them. But at the end of the day, I listen to what I have to say. So listen to yourself. And the last tip I will share with everyone is that you don’t have to follow the same path to achieve success.
“What leadership means to me as a leader, is someone who leads their team to fulfill objectives that cater to the overall mission of the company. And to do this it’s very important that you maintain a healthy corporate culture and continue to mentor and inspire your team. It’s also important that you inspire the public and become a voice for your company, because what you put out to the public really reflects the spirit of your team and health.” -Anita Chatterjee
I often hear people saying, well, this company has done such a great job and they were all over the press. We need to do exactly what they did. And no, you can’t do exactly what they did. You are not them, you do what the strengths are within your team and use that to get to the point you need to be at.
Absolutely to all three of those points. Folks, I hope you are making notes because this is the valuable insight, the behind-the-curtain, fully pulling back deep diving on the things that they don’t tell you on the outside. And let’s move on, because I’ve got to ask you this. I’m super excited about getting to this point in our conversation. You have created global profiles for some very well-established companies and leaders. Is there a difference in the methodology of creating company=centric leadership awareness versus personality-centric leadership awareness? I mean, are they the same thing or are they different? Can you share?
No, everything is different. And it’s funny because I always tell people you wouldn’t go to a pediatrician for your heart issues. So when you come to a publicist, make sure you understand what they specialize in. For me, I work with organizations and brands and tech companies, and I work with celebrities when it comes to business and tech deals. So I don’t work as much with experts who are trying to build their personal profile. I mainly work with companies where I see the benefit of building their founder’s profile as well, so the organizations can then leverage the influence their founder has to get their announcements out there. And that’s worked very well for for a lot of the different companies that I’ve worked with. What I will say, though, is that I feel for experts who aren’t necessarily leading large organizations. They obviously don’t have to worry about having to consistently align with an organization.
When you are the founder of a company, you have to always think about, okay, well, if I talk about this, how will this impact my company? Because if you jeopardize a business deal, is this taking away from an announcement it’s about to come. So you always have to have that in the back of your mind, and you just don’t have that extra worry when you’re building your personal profile. But again, there are people who specialize in that, and they could probably go more into detail on that. That’s their specialty. But I would say that that’s the prime difference where you do have a bit more freedom on what you put out there.
Absolutely. For those of you out there who don’t think that effective communications is really something that needs to be a priority in your respective ecosystem, even in your home, you’re hearing here that that’s wrong. The reason is, is that there are so many different ways of ensuring that you accomplish the right goal depending on what that goal needs to be.
Everybody has their own strengths and talents and you need to use that to navigate through that path to get to where you need to be.” –Anita Chatterjee
So, as Anita mentioned, if you are building out a profile then this is also for you, and if you’re doing this for yourself, you’re a solopreneur, it is important for you to know what it is that you’re actually looking for accomplishing with that. Anita builds profiles for her CEOs that are directly related to impacting growth and awareness properly and in the effective manner for their respective companies. So it’s a hand-in-hand kind of scenario. So what I’m learning from what Anita is sharing here, is what is your intention with your communications? I think that’s an important thing for us to really sit with and understand, rather than going out there and just putting yourself out there without truly understanding what it is that you’re looking to accomplish.
As Anita just mentioned, when you’re doing it in terms of being a CEO, a C-suite person, someone that kind of heads up an organization, there are certain guidelines. There’s a methodology associated with making sure that the professional image of that individual and the culture and the mission of the organization are aligned and succinct and then moving towards the same direction. When we come into the world of celebrity, as Anita said, and she’s worked with both types over the last couple of decades, you’ve got a lot more room to get fully creative, fully innovative and fully kind of putting them out there as well. And again, as she said, be clear on what your intention is so that you can ensure that if you have enlisted the aid of an expert communication or individual like Anita or like anyone out there, that you’re actually going to the right one.
Anita’s expertise is obviously working with individuals that head up organizations. So she’s perfectly positioned in a very kind of rare spot, actually, where she’s created her boutique public relations organization to be extremely high touch, to be extremely aligned with elevating an organization through lifting up the awareness associated with the person that’s kind of heading up that organization. And that sounds easy, guys, but it is the most difficult type of communication strategies to put out there, because you have to be mindful of the organization and the individual. Anita, is there anything else when advocating that?
No, I think that you did a good job in terms of kind of going more in depth in regards to what I was originally addressing. But now I think we both conveyed what we need to.
Brilliant. So let’s go into the next part of things. I want to ask you, can you share just from a general perspective, because you can’t really kind of fully say this is the only road to nirvana, but can you share your general formula in building a profile with someone that’s completely unknown to kind of get them up to the leadership authority status? Maybe a couple of pointers for people who are kind of just getting started off so they can get their head around what that actually needs to look like.
So first off, anybody who I work with, they’re not unknown. They are under the radar. But it’s very important that before you start press, that you are known within your industry. You’re respected. You have built a track record, fairly known well, and you have maybe even done a little bit of press before actually strategically starting on your journey. So that’s an important part to keep in mind.
“There’s no actual formula that you can use on everybody. Everybody has a customized strategy.” -Anita Chatterjee
However, what I’ve used often that’s been effective is that when I’ve met with the clients. I’ve spoken to them about their journey. And then I normally ask them what’s their next major newsworthy announcement? And if I see it as being newsworthy, what I always recommend is that’s where we begin by sharing that announcement. And once we make that announcement, you’re putting news out there that’s relevant with what’s going on now and what’s current. But then in that same article, we could go a bit into your background and your track record. So the audience gets to know you while you make that announcement. So that particular method has been highly successful. But as you explained, everybody is different. So you can’t necessarily use that one formula for every situation.
Absolutely. But from your perspective, considering who you work with, what your portfolio is, this is kind of a good rule of thumb for your organization, right?
That’s generally how we work with a lot of our clients.
Okay, perfect. So let’s talk a little bit about your clients now, Anita. There are many types of leaders, as we know, all over the world. But the most successful are the ones who understand the importance of communications. Right? Am I right when I say that?
So looking at some of your clients, can you share some insights on what you have experienced first hand because you work with them intimately, how they themselves incorporate communications-centric skills to effectively lead their teams? And what have you seen that they do?
So all of my clients are brilliant. And what’s great about each of them is they defy the odds and they don’t follow the formula. They all have their own style, they are highly effective because they’re authentic. One is Rohan Oza who I speak about often as he is my very first client. But what I love in terms of how he leads is he really lives his brand, which means that every company that he’s invested in or partnered with is very much a part of his lifestyle. You see him holding the drinks that he’s invested in, or partnered with. If you go into the CAVU Office in New York or in Santa Monica, their products are everywhere. The New York office has a very trendy CAVU bar that literally serves all the beverages that is in their portfolio. If Rohan has an event, you’ll definitely see all of the foods and beverages that are in their portfolio offered to the guests at this event. So he lives his brand. And in doing so, people trust his leadership because they see how passionate he is about everything that he backs up. And this gets his in-house team excited and passionate about who they’re working with. And it also gives them a sense of pride about working with these brands that their founders are just so immersed in. And so that’s just brilliant about his style of leadership.
He’s very authentic. People trust him because he genuinely believes in what he does and in products that he’s backing, and he’s showing that every single day. So that’s brilliant and unique. And he just he’s a great guy to follow. Honestly, if you want to read the stories and his journey in general, he just has great advice and philosophies and he’s brilliant. So that’s what I love about his leadership style.
What I would say about the female founder of ClassPass, Payal Kadakia Pujji, we’ve had an amazing journey with her. I think she’s taken the whole female founder position and turned it into celebrity status. Yes, we did more with her. I mean, it was more than just press. There was a point where we were even doing Nike campaigns with her, where she was promoting the value of just being a strong and female leader, which is amazing. So it’s been an amazing journey with her.
But where I see her strength and leadership is that she really believes in the value of inspiring her team. Anytime there’s a milestone or if it’s the beginning of the year or if there’s hurdles that ClassPass has to overcome, she’s quick to address the entire team, getting them all on a virtual call and showing them that there is light at the end of the tunnel and sharing her insight on how she built the business and got through all the different types of obstacles she had to jump through to make them happen. And I think that really inspires the team and keeps them united. And she also did an excellent job of inspiring the public through the media that she does through her own social media account. And that helps her and her team be proud of the fact that they are working for a company with such incredible visionaries. So like I mentioned early on, the inspiration you share with the public really does impact the spirit of your in-house culture.
Absolutely. And you also work with Ne-Yo?
Yes. The Grammy Award winning singer Ne-Yo, who’s not only a great artist, but also an incredible leader. And what I respect about him is he understands the importance of making time where there is none. All of these leaders are extremely busy. And I work with him particularly on his tech initiatives. And he’s a big believer in the fact that there needs to be more diversity in the tech industry. He understands that in order to be a leader in driving this movement, he has to do more than just do a few interviews about it. He knew that he had to, like a politician, be very hands on and fly out to Silicon Valley and meet with investors who are interested in investing in platforms that help drive more diversity into the tech industry.
And he’s invested in a school called Holberton, that I have actually worked with as well, a software engineering school with no upfront tuition. And their models help bring more diversity in tech. And Ne-Yo actually went to these campuses and met with the students on these campuses and asked them, “Do you think this model is working? Do you feel like there is more diversity when you go into these companies?” And that’s brilliant. I mean, as a leader, he understands the importance of being hands on and directly communicating with the public. So that’s why I really respect him. And I think he’s been very effective with his mission to bring more diversity to Silicon Valley.
Absolutely. For anyone out there, Anita, who doesn’t buy into the importance of effective communications being mandatory in leadership roles, what would you say through your experience of having worked with some of the top-tier leaders in the world, especially in those industries that are really making the big change, making ideologies for kind of where society’s headed today across multiple different platforms? What would you say to those people who are just not converted? They just don’t see the importance of effective communications.
They’re missing out. I’m not saying that you will not be successful if you don’t invest in communications or PR because there’s a lot of companies that are under the radar and they’re highly successful. However, when you put yourself out there, when you do press and you do media opportunities, people see you on CNBC and The Today Show and often they reach out to you with new opportunities. So you could be missing an opportunity to have an amazing partnership or even pivot your company to enhance it in a way that you would have never thought of before. So you’re missing out. You really are.
Absolutely. And especially as it relates to the fact that pretty much the big kind of push of doing business today is online, is virtual. We don’t have a choice right now with kind of where we are sitting with the world situation. So even more so effective communications down your entire food chain, and also both inside and outside are incredibly important to to ensure that everyone stays true to the mission of the organization and stays advocating for it because they still believe in what the company is all about. What are your thoughts around that?
I completely agree with you, Raj.
“I think that in order to really immerse yourself and continue to remind yourself of the mission that you’re going after, it is very important for you to communicate and consistently reflect on what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.” – Anita Chatterjee
Consistently reflect, that’s the other big one, isn’t it? Absolutely. So my final question for you is, for anyone out there that’s aspiring to become a communications expert today, because I’m sure there’s going to be a gazillion of them out there after listening to you, what advice would you give to them about the industry opportunity where perhaps there’s currently a gap in the market? Especially since as we’ve just finished talking, we’re living in a very heavily virtual environment. Where is that gap that they could look into if they’re looking to get into this field?
If they want to get into this field, I would say the most important thing is for them to be creative. I think it’s very important that they work their way up. Start off as an intern, learn how to really function in an agency if they want to work in the agency. There are a lot of different types of PR you can go into. Many people choose to go in-house and companies, and that’s very different from working in an agency space. But if you want to work in the agency space, definitely learn what you need to do to grow as a professional. But be creative as the world is changing. We need to keep thinking out of the box ways to really push hard to get our clients messages out there.
Absolutely. And the great thing is, that there’s so much more opportunity today, Anita, than there’s ever been just because of how technology has allowed us to be able to tap into each other’s world. Just a click of a button, which was never the case before. But then on the other side, there’s also the danger that because it’s easy to access the world, that you may perhaps be not properly communicating what it is that you want people to know. Again, effective communication; that’s the key to being effective with your communications, not just communicating.
Right, exactly. Because you could put an article out there and there could be no impact afterwards. But if you get the right key terms and phrases into it and introduce the journalists you’re working with to how you’re positioned, that’s how you create an impactful article.
Absolutely. And finally, I just want to ask you this, Anita, just so that people are very clear on your portfolio in terms of public relations, what do you look for in terms of consideration for clients? Because I know you’re very niched in who you work with.
I think that it doesn’t make sense for anyone to start if you’re in early stages. I think if you are the founder of a company, make sure that you’ve gotten to a certain point where you have grown and raised funding if that’s what you’re doing. But you have somewhat of a track record and you also have announcements coming up that you can share. It all really depends. I think we work with those that are established to a certain degree. But like I said, they come to us and they’re under the radar because they haven’t done it before. So that’s where we help them.
And again, we specialize in venture firms, celebrities, when it has to do with their business and tech deals. And we work with dozens of tech companies and brands as a consumer packaged goods space and just various other types of organizations. So a lot of it also comes down to the fact where maybe you don’t meet that criteria. But if I just love the the concept of your company and I think great things will happen every once in a while, we do go outside of our general mode of doing things.
Anita, thank you so much for sharing your wealth of wisdom on my inaugural show. I couldn’t imagine anyone that I wanted to bring on from my first show other than you when it came to the fact that I wanted people to actually understand how important it is to be able to communicate effectively and that communications is something that you really need to have a strategy around. And that strategy needs to directly relate to the intention of why you need to communicate.
There’s just a plethora more as we go throughout the year on the show that we will be talking about regarding this, because this is the area my wheelhouse is effective leadership communications, because it’s what I’ve been doing all these years and I’ve made every mistake that you could possibly make. And I see it coming like a Mack truck, when other people come to me with their issues in and around that. Anita, thank you so much. Again, Anita is the founder and CEO of A-Game PR, a bi-coastal company, New York to L.A. and everywhere in between. Thank you so much for giving your words of wisdom, and I really look forward to bringing you back on.
I hope that I do have the opportunity to come back on and I hope that my advice is helpful. I am on Instagram @anitachatterbox and I share a lot of the work that I’ve done on my clients and my Instagram. So please follow that. And hopefully that gives you some inspiration and ideas.
Absolutely. Thank you so much Anita, I’ll see you again.
Alright, folks. So that brings us to the end of the very first show, a very different concept of show than I’ve ever done before. You guys who know me with my other two bands know that my interviewing has always been very informal and conversational. It’s always been centered around the stories of inspiring celebrities. This year, I’m taking a turn and adding different elements to my portfolio. And it’s kind of predicated on the fact that I have received so many people coming to me since the pandemic hit, (What was it, 10 months ago?) that were trying to figure out how they can effectively communicate within their ecosystems.
Ecosystem is not the same as an organization.
An organization is a specific defined arena within which there is an infrastructure and it’s usually kind of one entity. An ecosystem is everything that you and what you do touches. – Raj Girn
So this is you and your internal circle of people that you work with, leadership on the leadership management, executive level, all the people down your food chain that work with you or the people externally that work with you, be they collaborators, partners, contractors, service providers of any kind or the people that you message as prospective clients. These are your ecosystem, be they prospects, or be they actual active clients. And then the other thing that I want you to also understand and why effective communications is so integral for you to understand, is that if you don’t understand that, you need to find someone who does. That’s the kind of thing that I do, for full transparency. It’s why I have this show. It’s why I have soft launched, as of last month, The Confidence Academy.
The Open Chest® Confidence Academy is a multifaceted transformation community where we use effective communications, mindset, marketing, branding, public relations to help people actually understand how to empower the ecosystems that they live in through utilizing these towards the goal of effective communications. I work predominantly with executives, entrepreneurs and people who are in leadership positions. – Raj Girn
But that’s not to say that I wouldn’t work with people who are looking to maybe transform their own internal ecosystem, the space that we hold deep within ourselves, the immediate environment in our personal environment that is important to us.
I found that when I’ve been working with my coaching, consulting and mentorship clients since 2017, for those of you who are just joining us, I found that a lot of the work that we’ve ended up doing, initially speaking with the first lot of sessions, has always been around the personal space. Because we’re able to kind of unpack the narrative that’s holding you back from understanding that you actually can do what it is that you’re looking to do in your life. If you’re just able to maneuver some things, take some things out, put some things in, get the support from an experience perspective to the table, I really feel that those are the people that actually are really able to catapult their brands, their projects and their lives forward above and beyond anyone else that I’ve ever worked with.
So I hope you take that away and you think about it. And the reason why I keep coming back to the fact that experience is important, especially in leadership, is that if you don’t yourself have, the experience or the know how or the resources to get them, you need to work with someone who does. I myself, on a personal level, I will tell you, I’ve been on quite the journey emotionally, spiritually, economically, financially, health wise, all of the above, just like you all have.
“I found that I’ve gotten the greatest leaps in my journey when I’ve gotten out of my own way.” – Raj Girn
Cliche statement. But it is what it is. And I’ve allowed someone else in and I’ve trusted them.
So here’s the thing that I want to leave you guys with. These three things that are going to help you grow as an individual in whatever it is that you’re looking to accomplish on a personal or on a professional level. First of all, you need to have an open mind. Second of all, you need to do the work. That’s a big one. But we’ll tackle that later on in the show. And number three, you need to have someone or have access to someone that’s already done where you want to go, because if you keep doing what you’re doing and keep doing what you’ve done to get to where you are, you’ll quickly realize that that is not going to be enough to take you to where you want to go. I want you to write that down and I want you to stick with it.
This brings us to the end of the first show. It’s a bit longer than I expected it to be, but I knew that I needed to kind of contextualize from the top of the show why I’m doing this, who it’s for, why it’s important and what my intention is with this show and with the academy. This is going to be a big build out year for me and for my team. We’ve taken on this kind of big objective to be able to serve as many people as possible around the world to help them with their communications and to create effectiveness in their respective ecosystem, be it on a professional level or on a personal level. So I hope that you will bookmark. I hope that you will put a on switch on notifications for every Sunday on this platform that you’re currently watching this on 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and whatever that is equivalency wise in your particular part of the world and you join me.
It is going to be a great time growing this community, and also having you participate and tell me how effective we are being in communicating the knowledge and the expertise that I am mandating myself to bring to the table here fully and open, pulling that curtain way back beyond any other that I ever have before. This is the place that you’re going to get access. And I really want you guys to be able to dial in to what it is that we talk about every single week. I want you to give us your thoughts of what you like, what you’d like to see improvement on. This is, as you know, the first time I’m coming to you guys from a coaching show perspective. So I really would love some constructive criticism on what you’d like to see more of and less of, just to wind down each show. I’m going to let you know what the topic is. I’m going to dive into a little bit from my own experience perspective, and then I’m looking to bring on an expert that specifically is related to that area. And we’re going to dive to a Q&A session and then we’re going to close it out with a bit of homework.
This is what I’m planning on doing each week. If this sounds like something that you want to be a part of, tune in every week, guys. Give me your input. Let’s make this community the best it can be. Let’s support each other. If you are a leader or you are someone that is being led on a personal or professional level, this show is for you. If you are looking to finally get out of your own way and allow someone else to step in, and you’re giving them the honour of trusting them with imparting their knowledge with you, then you’re in the right place.
So homework, guys, homework for you is going to be twofold. One thing that I would like you guys to do is, I would like you to look at what I said at the beginning of the show, where I said to you guys that I’ve coined this phrase “defining statement.” A defining statement is where you say how you instill effective communications in your organization. So whether you are someone that has one employee or whether you have a thousand employees, you can all implement this. You can implement this ideology at home. It’s important and it’s something that a lot of people don’t realize is the defining point within the organization, from a foundational level, the ecosystem within a foundational level that can either take you on the road of success or the road of failure. Because if you can’t define what your communications is, nobody in your ecosystem is going to understand what it is that you’re looking to accomplish, and they won’t be motivated to do it. They won’t be able to do it properly. And they won’t be able to advocate for the company and for the ecosystem that you’re building.
So that’s one thing. And the other thing is, if you are someone that is truly confused and truly not in a space where you understand what communicating effectively even means, and you want a bit more of a high touch access point, send us an email. Send us an email HERE, and let us know what it is that you’re looking to accomplish. And let’s see if there’s a way that we can work with you.
For those of you who are just catching the tail end of this, this is Raj Girn, the founder of The Open Chest® Confidence Academy. I’m coming to you here with our inaugural edition of ‘The Transform Your Confidence Show’ presented to you guys by Open Chest with Raj Girn.
Please let me know what worked for you for this show, what you’d like to see more of, what you’d like to see less of, and I really look forward to seeing you next Sunday. Have a great week ahead. And remember that the only way to be successful personally and professionally is to align your core value system with effective communications inside or outside and all around.
Thank you so much for staying till the end. I really hope you enjoyed the show. Before you leave I would love your support by subscribing to my show and letting everyone you know, know about it and have them come take a listen. I would sincerely appreciate you joining me at LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube search Raj Girn and The Open Chest® Confidence Academy. Until next week. I hope you continue to cultivate your own ecosystem so that everyone in and around it is empowered by your mission to elevate them all. See you next week.
To Contact Anita Chatterjee: Instagram @AnitaChatterbox