Roma Balwani | Influence 100
Charting the future of public relations

Roma Balwani

President, Group Communications, Sustainability & CSR

Expected to retire later this year, Roma Balwani has carved out a reputation as one of India’s most outspoken PR professionals, both inside and outside her company. And Balwani has brought those qualities toe the fore 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.

Can you share a moment in your career that you recognized PR's direct impact on business performance?
Vedanta's positive perception impacts its market value and share price,achieved along with strong financial performance & operational excellence that has established  its position as the 6th largest natural resources company globally.

What are the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities? 
Legacy issues of any organisation which civil society  leverages periodically to sustain negative perceptions of the organisation is always a challenge. We use this as an opportunity to leverage consistent, credible & transparent communications with all key stakeholders  that helps to isolate these situations and promotes harmony in the communities.

How do you handle the unexpected?
Always handle it with a broader discussion and collaboration internally with key stakeholders, it brings out the best solutions and practices that mitigates the risk multi-fold.

How do you relax?
De-clutter my mind, enjoy simple routine with family and take short breaks as vacation in peaceful locales where I can either see nature at its pristine best or be happy and content with my close extended family.

Book/movie/TV show/podcast that teaches a valuable lesson about PR?
Suits is a popular serial which I like watching.  I see that it unfolds unexpected situations that always makes me reflect & helps me introspect, it adds many dimensions  to my dynamic lessons in PR

If I wasn't working in marketing/communications, I would be...
I see myself as a humane HR Professional.