5 minutes with… Dhruti Shah

Dhruti Shah, award-winning journalist, author, producer and storyteller, will be sharing her thoughts at simplyIC on the power of thinking differently to drive success.

We caught up with Dhruti ahead of her closing keynote on the 19th of May for our latest instalment of 5 minutes with…

What does ‘internal sponsorship’ mean to you? 

Internal or external, for me, sponsorship is about somebody putting your voice at the table when you don’t have the privilege or power or connections to be able to do so. It’s about companies and individuals stepping up; recognising there is a disadvantage in play and attempting to implement solutions and situations that will lead to a more equitable community.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in your career? 

I came into journalism with no connections whatsoever; just a love of storytelling. This meant having to build a career from scratch and learning to master it. However, it’s a constantly evolving industry meaning many of the roles that I’ve ended up working in didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago. The other thing that has been more of a challenge than I ever envisioned is the fact that it is not a particularly diverse profession – with very few people from backgrounds like mine. And that has its own challenges – having to navigate structural issues. But whatever happens in the future, it has certainly been an adventure and has been a career where I have been able to have an insight into the lives of other people and also help hold organisations to account.

How did you overcome them? 

It’s vital to have a strong support network around you. I am a member of many formal and informal networks and I invest in them heavily when it comes to building relationships and connections. By having access to so many different people with different perspectives and who are also there willing me to succeed, I’ve been able to overcome most challenges that I have come across. It’s not just work networks but also family and friends – they help ground me.

You mentioned succeeding in the face of resistance – can you tell us more? 

As a journalist you often find yourself working in situations and uncovering material that not everybody wants uncovered. As a woman from an ethnically marginalised community, there is also that sense of trying to find a place of belonging and realising that often you will not belong. It’s perfectly acceptable to realise that those sorts of places are not for you but that’s not how I’ve found myself operating – I’m driven by a sense of innate curiosity with everything I do. That’s worked so far – being genuinely interested in finding solutions.

What are the key elements to building a network?

Being sincere and interested in people and who they are and what they are up to. A network is no different to a community. And also investing in the relationships – don’t just do it as a one-way street. That’s not networking as then the chain ends with you.

THE AUTHOR

Laura Riaz

Laura Riaz is simply’s content creator. With a strong background in copywriting and social media management, she thoroughly enjoys writing about the wonders of internal comms.

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