Roma Balwani | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations

Roma Balwani

President, Group Communications, Sustainability & CSR
Vedanta Group
@RBalwani

Roma Balwani has carved out a reputation as one of India’s most outspoken PR professionals, both inside and outside her company. And Balwani will likely need all of those qualities in droves at Vedanta Resources, the mining group that has attracted more reputation scrutiny than most. Balwani, who reports to CEO Tom Albanese, sits on Vedanta's executive committee, with the sustainability, CSR and communications functions all reporting into her. Prior to joining Vedanta, she spent six years as Mahindra's communications and CSR head.

Notable career highlight?
Positioning Vedanta, which is a diversified natural resources company as a caring organisation with a zero harm culture, and this was reflected in unifying brand Vedanta as 'One Vision One Vedanta.' The visual manifestation of brand Vedanta is reflected in the refreshed Logo design and typeface that embodies the spirit and heritage of the organisation and this energised the young professionals within the organisation and created a positive impact with all our stakeholders.

What is the most rewarding/challenging aspect about a career in communications/marketing?
Building a positive brand image of an organization over a period of time which resonates with stakeholders is very fulfilling, as brand values are long lasting and create a strategic impact. Reputation of the brand needs to be nurtured and sustained as it impacts the market capitalization of the organization and also has a multiplier effect on all aspects of business performance.

What skills/experience will the CCO of the future need that may not be required today?
Quick data analytical skills along with formulating effective strategies for a global audience will be essential for the next generation as the future CCO will have information on tap and tools measuring tangible results will be the norm. 

We, as a communications industry, must embrace the socialization of the Web to transcend the foundation and very essence of PR into a more meaningful, relevant, and lasting renaissance.

What skill/experience is required of today's CCO that might not be as relevant in the future?
The new age media which will evolve and mature in the future may require a completely different skill set. Today a communicator combines business acumen, networking skills and strong communication skills which may not be as critical in the future.

Who or what inspires you to be your best? 
In today's context, change is constant. I draw inspiration from the young inquisitive minds who always question the status quo and this gives me an opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn continuously. At the same time I am inspired by the past experiences of the great minds that have achieved success in their sphere of work.

What is on your must-read/view/listen to list? 
The breaking news and business news on my smartphones.

Most interesting place you've traveled to?
Lithuania