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This Top Marketer From LinkedIn Has Some Great Advice For Young Professionals

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By YKA Staff

What does it take to navigate the labyrinth of the corporate world to become one of the most successful working professional women of today? A lot. Over a career spanning 17 years, Virginia Sharma, LinkedIn’s Director for Marketing Solutions, has carved a niche for herself. After beginning her professional journey at a multinational technology company, Virginia went on to join LinkedIn in 2014.

In her current role, she promotes content marketing and native advertising solutions to brands looking to reach and engage with professionals active on the network. Aside from work, Virginia has a keen interest in maintaining her blog, where she refers to herself as the “Desi CMO”. In her own words, building a name and reputation for herself in the corporate world and architecting a successful career was no mean task, having taken many laborious hours of contemplation and strategy, to begin with, apart from the hours of effort put into the job itself. In a Q&A with YKA, Virginia shares her choicest experiences and advice for the benefit of young, budding professionals.

YKA: We have a young audience, looking to build meaningful careers. You’ve been a marketing professional for 17 years! What’s your advice on navigating the world of work in the early years?

Virginia Sharma (VS): Spend your first six months in a new role in “listen and learn and be helpful mode”. This will not only help you build your network of supporters for when you are trying to launch initiatives, but also help you prioritise initiatives that will bring the most value to the organisation. An employee who is a fast learner, a good collaborator and focuses their time on where the organisation needs them the most (outcomes vs. activities) is always going to be noticed, appreciated, and rewarded by the management team.

YKA: Social media has become a great platform through which today’s youth find jobs and make connections. Does LinkedIn have any specific tools for students and young professionals?

VS: We have more than 40 million students and fresh graduates on LinkedIn, and they are the fastest growing demographic on our platform. Last month we launched LinkedIn Placements, a product custom made for India, which provides a level playing field for graduates across India. The Placements platform has an online assessment test, which gives graduates direct access to thousands of openings in 35 top corporates in India.

YKA: Gender equality in the workplace has emerged as a hot topic of discussion in recent times. What kind of policies would you recommend to employers to help meet gender-specific needs?

VS: I believe that a more diverse workforce helps in driving greater productivity at the workplace. A 2015 study by McKinsey & Company indicates that companies with greater gender diversity are 15% more likely to outperform. Being in the business of creating economic opportunities, we (LinkedIn) believe diversity at the workplace is essential for us to achieve our vision. Initiatives such as WiN and Women in Technology are some of our several efforts to encourage and drive diversity across the organisation.

The Women’s Initiative (WiN) is focused on driving inclusion and gender diversity within our Global Sales team. WiN hosts workshops with managers to foster constructive communication and discussions on what great leadership is. To help women advance in their careers, this initiative also identifies high potential talent and provides them with executive coaching and mentoring.

Women in Technology is another great initiative within our Engineering and Product teams to help women transform themselves, their careers and the company. Through this initiative, women get an opportunity to get inspired by industry thought leaders, network with senior women in tech and become role models for the next generation of technical talent.

YKA: Finally, what are the five things you would tell your younger self if you could do things differently?


1. Sit up straight – a strong posture helps avoid back pain later in life when you become a white collar worker and spend most of your time hunched over a desk.
2. Drink more water – It keeps you looking younger and fresher!
3. Call my mom more often – I now understand how much she loves hearing from me. It makes her day. Wish I did it more!
4. Hone a talent that is unrelated to work – whether it be playing an instrument, singing, dance, art or learning to code, it helps you be more interesting than just being good at your job.
5. Don’t lead a double life on social media. Focus on being a happier person in your ‘real’ life, rather than pretending to be happy and having fun for the sake of validation and vanity.

This interview was facilitated by Webit, a global series of events that focus on digital innovation and creating business opportunities at global scale. These events further ignite the growth of local ecosystems, inspiring and empowering them to create a platform for dialogue between policy makers, enterprise and entrepreneurs.


Image source: YouTube
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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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