We chat to Communications and Public Relations Consultant Nishita about her experiences moving between public, private and third-party sectors within international law, politics and infrastructure
What is your ethnic, academic and professional background?
I am an Australian Indian, born in Delhi and raised in Sydney.
I hold a Bachelors of Social Science and a Masters of Human Rights, Law & Policy and have over six years’ consultancy experience from the public, private and third-party sectors, primarily working in politics, international law and infrastructure.
Since moving to London in July 2019, I have been a freelance PR/Comms Consultant. At present, I work for an infrastructure consultancy, Schofield Lothian as an Engagement Consultant.
Can you tell me about your career in public relations, particularly your projects on social impact and ethical trading? What inspired you to take on this work?
As a Business and Human Rights Consultant, I worked on lobbying pharmaceutical companies in China to re-consider the supply chains and ethical trade. In my current role, I work within a strong Social Values rhetoric when developing consultation and engagement strategies for my clients.
I was inspired to take on this role after many years of managing public relations as a Special Adviser to senior cabinet ministers in the New South Wales Government in Australia.
After leaving politics and moving to London, I was determined to make it a career path and feel rather blessed to combine my love for PR/Comms with sustainability in the infrastructure space.
What have been your biggest successes and learnings to date?
I would have to say my gig in Delhi straight after my masters. I was a Human Rights Adviser to the Secretary of Women of Child Development. I was not entirely sure what I had signed up for, however, I knew it was something I was incredibly passionate about. Being a NRI and working for the government was not a walk in the park to say the least. Despite the challenges at the time, it has shaped my resilience in driving collaborative PPP strategies in all the projects I have worked on.
Being South Asian, did you face any backlash from family, friends or society at large for choosing to pursue a ‘niche’ career path? Has it been challenging?
I was fortunate not to have any backlash. I grew up in a very liberal family and I was always supported and encouraged to follow my own path.
How have you actively changed your daily practice to be more sustainable?
I have been playing my part by limiting the use of plastic, being a vegetarian for over 10 years and buying most of my produce from local farmers markets.
Do you feel there is a stigma or lack of understanding of the climate crisis amongst South Asian communities? What do you believe the blockers to be and how would you go about solving the issues?
It’s hard to answer this question, however I think perspective is key when thinking about what the community stands for. Education is always an effective method to decrease ‘the blockers’.
Being carbon conscious in a practical day-to-day sense can be quite costly – how can people easily and cost effectively make a difference? Do you think being sustainable is accessible to everyone?
Again, I think educating the community can go a long way. Sustainability and carbon conscious have become such buzz words these days that it has, in some ways, lost meaning. I strongly believe having a breakdown of what these terms mean in the context of day-to-day practices will help increase overall awareness and encourage the community to be active participants.
What advice would you give to younger generations in relation to sustainability and the environment?
Speak to people who have the role that you would like to see yourself in the near future, understand your strengths and develop the skills you need to work towards that position. Ask questions, reach out and establish the support system you need to get into the broad sector.
Can you share one life story which has deeply impacted you?
My Grandfather was my inspiration, motivation and influenced my life in many ways. He was an electrical engineer and worked on major infrastructure projects across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He did not go to university, however, he was a testament of hard work, resilience and determination.
Connect with Nishita on LinkedIn