The Glitz ‘Super Woman’: Aparna Kulkarni, Marketing Director, Natural Diamond Council (NDC)

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With a career spanning across 1.5 decades, Aparna Kulkarni, Marketing Director, Natural Diamond Council (NDC) has led the successful digital transformation and launch of a new avatar of the brand, with a complete pivot in the marketing strategy, more so in the middle of the pandemic! her feats are many. Meet TheGlitz ‘Super Woman’ Aparna Kulkarni…

Aparna Kulkarni
Aparna Kulkarni with colleagues

Your journey has had many momentous milestones. Could you tell TheGlitz about your life-changing journey that has molded you to be what you are today?
There have been several moments in my career that have had an impact, but my decision to shift to Ahmedabad to pursue my MBA from Mudra Institute of Communications was truly life-altering. It taught me so much about interpersonal relationships, team management, time management and independence. It helped me become the person I am today and contributed immensely to my professional growth.

Could you list 3 of your major achievements?
With a career spanning across 1.5 decades, it’s difficult to put a finger on just three major achievements, but for me, the brand refresh of Natural Diamond Council in 2020 would be at the top of the list. Imagine leading the digital transformation and launching this new avatar of the brand, with a complete pivot in the marketing strategy, in the middle of the pandemic! We owe our success to a collective team effort and it is a very special feeling to have been a part of that experience.

Second would be winning GOLD for PR Campaign of the Year-India at the 2015 Sabre Awards for the ‘Chal, Kar Pehel’ initiative, a 3-city walkathon for gender equality which was part of the promotions for the TV show Everest. And lastly, though it is a small achievement in the larger scheme of things, it is very personal to me. I was the social media lead at Vh1 and I grew their Facebook page from just 1500 members to over 6 lac fans in the span of 2 years.

What are the setbacks you have faced? How did you tackle these setbacks or challenges? And what lesson have you learned from it?
One of the first setbacks I faced very early on in my career was when I was with a yet-to-be-launched broadcasting company and recession hit. At that point, I had to choose between taking up a different role in the organization that was not my strength v/s choosing to take a step back and evaluating my career path forward.

For a 23-year-old, when your career is just taking off, choosing to ‘take a break’ didn’t come easy. I took a relatively brave decision to not pursue that role, and spent some time teaching underprivileged children. On hindsight, that experience taught me so much about the values of patience, integrity and sticking to your guns – all of which have served me immensely in my career. These were my scars of strength. But as I always believe, whatever happens, is for the best, and soon after this, I joined Vh1 in a marketing role and it gave a fresh lease of life to my career.

When you look back, what are the three qualities in you that have helped you become what you are today?
My top 3 would be the desire to organize everything around me, no matter how chaotic the situation is; second being my love for numbers, analytics, and language (yes I don’t mind being called a geek), which have made me a stronger marketer and communicator; and my perseverance to extract the best out of myself and my team have all helped me become the professional I am today. And I believe that these skills are basic life skills that help you not just at the workplace but outside of it as well.

Who are the people who have been the wind behind your wings?
That credit rests with my family and friends. I have an incredible family who has always encouraged me, supported all my decisions, and been my rock as I navigated through the various highs and lows of life. My amazing set of girlfriends are my forever cheerleaders. They inspire me as people and professionals, pushing me to step out of my comfort zone and propping me up when I feel low.

Lastly, if there was a quote to define you, what would it be?
“I don’t like dreams or reality. I like when dreams become reality because that is my life.”

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