in television and media
a handful of them but all worth their
salt. Most people know them for what they do in their respective
fields but there's much more to them than just their work and the
designations that come with it. A mother, a media buyer, a homemaker,
a soap maker, a Gucci lover, an animal rights' activist, a producer,
a journalist, a shopoholic, an entrepreneur, an ad sales head, a
CEO, an auditor
they're all there
carving a niche for
themselves and making their presence felt in boardrooms and studios,
on-screen and off-screen. Whatever said and done, creativity runs
in their blood. These Indian media power women have arrived and
the first of the weekly series - Ms Media - 25 Women Who Matter
- we have someone who felt she was giving an exam while answering
our queries for this column. Hiding behind her serious professional
appearance is a lady who is extremely passionate about animals.
She's Lynn de Souza
the multi faceted media professional,
author, tennis champ, a trained veterinary nurse and animal rights'
we could go on!
going on to what the lady is all about
Let's take a dekkho
at what she thinks she's all about!
song by Whitney Houston best describes Lynn's life mantra
there's a bridge and there's a river that I still must cross
As I'm going on my journey
Oh, I might be lost
there's a road I have to follow, a place I have to go
Well no-one told me just how to get there
But when I get there I'll know
Cuz I'm taking it
Step By Step, Bit by Bit,
Stone By Stone (Yeah), Brick by Brick (Oh, yeah)
Step By Step, Day By Day, Mile by Mile (ooh, ooh, ooh)
am a very intelligent person, and also more creative than most.
I am also more perceptive than I would like to be. It's a Scorpio
trait and when I was born both the Sun and the Ascendent were in
Scorpio. So yes, my weakness is that I do have a nice sharp sting!!!
I am an impatient person; impatient with humans, but very patient
with animals! In my performance appraisal, I am always told to be
less direct and more tactful, but then I don't know whether being
brutally honest is a strength or a weakness! I believe I am also
quite a compassionate fool."
a word more required to know her true mettle. Panache, threat, compassion
and an impatience of sorts
it's all there in those words.
2, 3... Mike testing... I'm ready to sting!
the uninitiated, as far as the "designation" bit goes,
this Goan heads Lintas Media Group as director and has been in the
industry for more than two decades. Lynn is known for her outspoken
nature, one who doesn't hesitate to call a spade, a spade.
wishes she were 20 years younger so as to start all over again
but this time on the content side of the business as that's where
all the action is going to be. "For the television and media
industry, there are optimistic, positive, exciting, challenging
and great times ahead," says Lynn.
alumnus of the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute, she began her career in
1982 with a brief stint at Speer before spending five years at O&M,
where she did planning and buying for brands like J&J, Asian
Paints, Titan Watches and Unilever. Trikaya Grey (now Grey Worldwide)
got added to her resume, where she joined as media director in 1988.
this media business, which has become a huge scientific industry
in the last few years, Lynn was an early bird entry. She's been
credited with pioneering the concept and openly championing the
cause of media buying, as an independent business in India, after
training stints with Mediacom at London and Dusseldorf.
this male dominated Indian society, women are now making their presence
felt and in every walk of life. So how easy or difficult is it for
a woman to be a top-notch professional? Lynn believes it's not that
difficult. "This is an equal opportunity industry, much more
than most. At one time, there were more women media directors than
men, and people used to wonder why!" she says.
an industry where there are more men than women, how does she face
male dominance (if any)? "I don't face any challenges that
men don't. As for male dominance, better you ask them how they fight
female dominance! (If there is any, and I am sure there isn't!),"
Lynn quips back.
with the Goa SPCA members
1995 and Lynn moved yet again, this time to join the Lintas Group
to start India's first media buying agency - Initiative Media. But
a couple of years later, another vocation came a calling Lynn. She
went Down Under (literally) to study veterinary nursing in 1998.
also founded and is the chairperson of the Goa Society for Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), which is situated in "a beautiful
peaceful corner of the earth called Torda" -- her ancestral
village in Goa. Torda also houses Goa SPCA's veterinary hospital,
which is Lynn's favourite getaway from work but at the same time
is serious work too. She is an active life member and volunteer
for several animal NGO's, and conducts workshops and awareness programs
around the country in her capacity as a Master Trainer for the Animal
Welfare Board of India.
what's on this versatile lady's inventory at present? Firstly, she
wants to see the Lintas Media brand and its sub-brands "making
a positive difference to the market in all aspects - from client
service, to new media use, to talent development to rebuilding client
respect for the work that media agencies do and the ethics that
media professionals employ."
the Goa SPCA workshop
thing on her agenda arises out of her love for animals. "I
am driving expansion of the Goa SPCA's activities within Goa beyond
what we do for ownerless animals - responsible pet ownership is
practically non existent in that State and that's a new thing that
we are working on," says Lynn.
pet peeve of Lynn's is the current television ratings system. She's
made no bones about the fact in the media that the current ratings
system is not up to the mark. And that with new emerging media platforms,
the existing ratings system will become redundant. An active member
of the Media Research User's Council (MRUC) Lynn has formed technical
and business committees to act on the suggestions made by the industry
for improving the TV ratings system. "I am keen on making a
real difference to the state of TV audience measurement in this
country despite some fairly stiff and below-the-belt opposition
in this area," she stresses.
asked about that special quality of hers which brought her to the
position she is today, she cheekily replies - "Breathing."
with publisher Maneck Davar, Lintas' Prem Mehta, O&M's
Piyush Pandey and her godchild Amanda at the release of her
book 'A Dog's Life'
avid lover of animals, Lynn took in a pet rat for company when she
went to Australia to study for a year.
two homes, one in Mumbai and the other in Goa. In Mumbai, she lives
with her parents. "My parents are in thier late seventies but
pack in more energy and spirit than 20 of me!" Lynn says. Then
she has her pets Gemma and Pixie. Gemma is an Afghan hound who she
rescued a few years ago and Pixie is her 13 and a half year old pom.
passion is her pets and her day starts and ends with them. "Apart
from my pets, the other thing that makes me tick are all the birds
and animals we work with and help. I don't know how I could ever
live without one of these creatures with me. Animals put our lives
into perspective, they remind us that we do not own and control
the earth, and never will," she philosophises.
more, Lynn is also an author and has to her credit a work of fiction
- 'A Dog's Life', which was published two years ago. The book is
a first person account of a mongrel and his mates, a touching story
of friendship that crosses social boundaries. Now
she's working on her second book, which is scheduled for release
what she loves most
being queried about her philanthropist efforts, she quickly replies
that she's not as much a philanthropist as she would like to be.
"I wish I could do more for less fortunate people, but I think
there are already too many people doing that. So I choose to give
a lot to the world of nature. Indians do very little for the animals,
it's certainly not a popular cause to work for, and that's our society's
short-sightedness," she says.
I always find that the people who say 'why do you work for animals
when there are so many suffering humans?' are those who do nothing
for humans either, whereas all those who work in human and social
upliftment show a lot of compassion towards animals too," she
a concluding note, what this tough lady strongly believes in is
that the means are always just as important, if not more, than the
end. "I like to build rather than raid, to enjoy the fruits
of my own efforts than feast on the efforts of others," she
note that the order of appearance of women featured in this section
is not a ranking or a countdown)