Success Stories:
Her Story Her Way

Introduction: Tell us about yourself and your background.
I come from a first generation business family. My father was in IPS for ten years before resigning to start his own business in the Apparel Industry. I was born in Lucknow when my Dad was posted there. I did most of my schooling in Sishya School, Chennai, majoring in Economics, Commerce and Accounting. My parents have always been keen proponents of higher education and supported me when I decided to pursue my higher education in the UK. I have always loved academia, travel and languages and it made perfect sense to go overseas and study. My parents have never held me back from anything regarding my studies, steeped in the belief that it was imperative for me to gain exposure to the education and work ethic of the West. I believe that has always held me in good stead throughout the years, and definitely been a defining factor in my endeavour with touché PR. However, 2002 brought my academic journey to a crippling halt as I had a near fatal car accident while traveling from Chennai to Bangalore. I was sitting in the front passenger seat, and my driver ran an intersection at 100 km/hr. and we hit a truck head on. What ensued was 3 months in the hospital and mounting complications. We were not able to find a hospital in India that would take on such a complicated case as I had lost vision in my left eye and was rapidly losing my right eye as well. To add to the complications, I had developed Meningitis and Cerebro-spinal fluid leaks, which made me high risk of infection. Finally, in the month of May, my father found the Rush Presbyterian Hospital in Chicago that was willing to undertake the extensive procedure. I spent the next three years in the hospital undergoing four major surgeries until I was finally discharged. Even though I had diminished faculties, I proceeded to continue my studies in US at the University of Chicago, where I earned my undergraduate degree. Further to that, I spent some time working in the US before coming back to India in 2008-2009. During this period, I was the PR Head at Indian Terrain, my father’s enterprise, overseeing the brand’s presence in the Media and Online. I then branched out into a full fledged media career, where I hosted Super Shopper, a lifestyle show on NDTV-HINDU, wrote a column called Red Haute for the Deccan Chronicle and was a radio show host on Chennai Live 104.8 FM. My experience in the media field gave way to a deep curiosity of media strategy and brand building. I wanted to be part of the bigger picture, which integrated Media and Brand Solutions. I wanted to think. Once I realized my passion for PR, it was time to get educated in the same. So I bagged a seat at the Professional/Business School at New York University and did my M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. On completion, I worked for a PR Agency called Finn Partners in New York City. It was a great experience and truly gave me deep insight into the strategies and work ethic of the industry. As my program drew to a close, it was time for my final dissertation. I chose to research the PR landscape in India and explore the opportunities in the industry. Upon meeting several opinion leaders in the media field (Corporate Leaders, Publications, Radio, TV and Bloggers), it became apparent that starting my own enterprise here in India would be the best career move I could make. My ultimate goal is to make it to the Forbes List of 40 under 40! To add to this, I intend on promoting a trauma counselling centre/program, which focuses grief, loss, identity crisis, shame and other such emotional traumas, which do not get addressed in this country. I am also in the process of writing a book (title embargoed), as well as an NGO that supports the cause. I also plan to tour more to give speeches that throw light on this same. I have full confidence that this initiative will provide succor to those suffering from trauma that often gets hidden, slighted or undiagnosed.  

Tell us about the company you have set up – when did you set it up, what products or services do you provide, what is your target market?
I started my company in late 2013. We essentially provide end-to-end customized PR solutions for our clients who want to be positioned, branded and well reputed in the market. We create content and story lines, which we disseminate in the media in most effective manner to achieve the company’s goal. The strategy for this varies from company to company depending on the scope, target, size, industry and news. We have worked with some big and small enterprises in our experience and found great excitement with each project. The services we provide are as follows: Press Releases, Press Pitches, Media Relations, Media Monitoring, Press Conferences/Press Events, Press Reporting, Media Training, Reputation Management, Crisis Management, Speech Writing, Thought Leadership, CEO Speak, Launch Events, Corporate Events, Internal/External Communication, Consumer Cross Promotion, Event Management, Brand PR, Personal Branding, Trade PR, Content Management, Corporate and Event Video Creation, Styling and Photo-shoots Sectors we work in: Apparel, Jewellery/Accessories, Retail, Technology, Celebrities/Corporate Leaders, Business/Entrepreneurial Education, Authors/Literature, Real Estate, Corporate Training Institutes, Health and Fitness, Digital Marketing Agencies, Music/Film, Travel/Hospitality, Cuisine, Magazines/Publications, Salons, Fashion/Designers, Sports Leagues .  

Why did you set up the company? / What drove you to become an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship has always been in my blood. Coming from a first-generation family, pioneering my own enterprise has always been an inner compulsion. The birth of an entrepreneur happens when you are at the right place, at the right time and with the right point of view. That’s how I found my passion in Media, Strategy & Reputation Management. Having spent years studying and working in the industry, I found a great opportunity to start my own enterprise in Chennai and call the shots of the big dream. My life story has always been about creating my own destiny, both professionally and personally, and my work does exactly the same for my clients! (P.S. PR Can play God sometimes!) .

What has been your biggest challenge in achieving your success?
Human Resources. I think the biggest challenge for me here in India has been lack of work ethic and tackling employees’ commitment to their PR work. PR writing has to be perfect and proofread multiple times. I find poor English and Grammar particularly disconcerting. Timing and apathy is quite an issue.  

What has been your greatest achievement so far?
I would say it has been my grit toward overcoming my physical challenges to go forth and complete my education in 2 of the best institutions in the world. (University of Chicago and New York University). I would say every day is an achievement in overcoming both personal and professional challenges.  

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Undoubtedly my father has been the wind beneath my wings.  

How do you balance your work life and home life?
That’s a really good question! At this point, most of my life is just work, and I live alone. I enjoy the much-needed alone time and I spend a lot of time working out in the gym and swimming. With regard to a social life, my work itself presents several opportunities to attend interesting event and meet accomplished new people. PR is a wonderful industry to belong to, if one is outgoing and wants to keep tabs on the happenings in the city. I have to have fun after all!  

What advice do you have for women starting out on their own?
This is an excellent question. A lot of women out there have great ideas and passion, but their dreams don’t become a reality because they are afraid to take risks or don’t get the right advice. I’m not saying starting one’s own enterprise is easy, but women need to stop double-guessing themselves. Research, before taking the plunge there are a lot of things to consider, investment, logistics, business model, growth plan and short/long term goals. It sounds heavy, but it’s really not. A lady can play a vital role not just in growing her own business, but being an opinion leader in her industry as well as a north star for others wanting to follow in her path. The sky is the limit. But the formula is: Commitment + Consistency + Competitiveness + Clarity + Courage = CONSTANT!  

Can you recommend any organisations or networking groups that have particularly helped you on your journey?
PRSA: Public Relation Society of America CII: Confederation of Indian Industrialists IWN: Indian Women’s Network MMA: Madras Management Association YNGers: YPO Next Generation  

If you could ask for one thing to help propel your business what would it be? 
Excellent Human Resources. I think there is a great need for talented youngsters, with incisive research skills, great command over the English language, an ability to discover new opportunities, attention to detail and of course the Killer Instinct!  

What does the future hold for you?
Expanding my enterprise’ horizons across various countries and industries. Getting the opportunity to scale my business and speak on Global Leadership Platforms. I would also like to spend more time with my trauma work with patients and creating a trust for the same. I am currently writing a book on my experience in trauma, grief, identity and recovery.

Please provide a short biography of yourself (approximately 200 words).
The Founder and CEO of touché PR, Anjali Rajgopal, is a Public Relations Professional, Media Personality, Writer and Academic. She hails from Chennai, India and has spent the last 12 years pursuing academics and career opportunities overseas. With a Bachelors degree in International Relations from the University of Chicago and the University of San Diego, Anjali began her career in global investments and national media. She has recently completed her Masters in Science from New York University in Public Relations and Corporate Communication. Her past career experiences include Strategy PR positions with several firms based in the US, such as Finn Partners, Aditi Technologies, MMGY Global and Total Management. Anjali has initiated thought leadership on the PR landscape in India, while writing her Masters dissertation/thesis on the same subject. The dissertation has been included among the published works of New York University's PR division. Anjali is a keen blogger and writes her own personal blog along with those of her clients. Also, she writes a weekly column on fashion, Red Haute for the Deccan Chronicle. Anjali specializes in various aspects of PR, including Public Speaking, Social Media, Media Relations and Reputation Management. A full list of specialties can be found in the Professional Skills section. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, traveling, playing pool, watching the NFL and regional cinema.  

Please provide any relevant contact details you wish to feature e.g. website page, Facebook page, twitter, linked in, email address, phone number etc.
Anjali Rajgopal Website:
Twitter: @Spectabulous
LinkedIn: Anjali Rajgopal +91 98407-75062