Since joining the company in 2021 as Head of Tech PR, Anisa’s team at Thinking Hat has doubled in size, with clients in a variety of sectors, from retail to robotics. Having had a storied career in media (and a fervent love of cricket!), Anisa had lots to tell us about when we sat down to chat.
Anisa, can you tell us how you first got into a media career?
I really enjoyed public speaking at school and never missed an opportunity to participate in debating competitions or other speaking opportunities. I was also a big reader – spent most of my spare time reading books and that helped me develop my writing abilities. So when it came to choosing a career, broadcast journalism seemed to bring most of my interests together quite nicely. It was also a time when TV News was taking off in India in a big way, and I was in the final year of my Master’s degree when a dear friend, who already worked at India’s most well-respected TV network NDTV, mentioned that they were hiring production assistants and that I should give it a go. It was an entry-level role, a far cry from the glitz and glamour of being on TV, but I went for it, and the rest is history.
What was it like to be a broadcast journalist?
I started at the very bottom at NDTV – one of my jobs initially was to scroll the teleprompter for the news anchors! But by the time I left, 13 years later, I was reporting on cricket from all around the world and anchoring prime time shows myself (scrolling my own teleprompter, because…technology!).
“I started at the very bottom at NDTV – one of my jobs initially was to scroll the teleprompter for the news anchors!”
It was an amazing time – I was given the opportunity to move from a behind-the-scenes production role to the sports desk as a reporter and anchor. I am a huge cricket buff (you can’t not be if you’re Indian!), and as a reporter, I got to watch the game from the best seats in the house at some of the most amazing venues. I interviewed famous cricketers and famous personalities– it was like living the dream! I can’t pick any one highlight. Every day was a new adventure!
What brought you to Thinking Hat PR?
I moved to London after spending eight years in the UAE, and had just started looking for jobs when I was approached about my current role at THPR. Everything fell into place perfectly, and I was very impressed by the MDs and their vision, the outstanding client roster at the agency, and by the calibre of all my colleagues when I joined. It’s rare to come across a team that is so bright, gels well together and is more than willing to help each other.
You have had quite a career, but what sets THPR apart from other places you’ve worked?
The diversity of the team and the culture is what stands out for me at THPR. The autonomy to do your best work and the atmosphere of trust is so important and the senior leadership invests that in the team and vice versa. When someone trusts you, you automatically become accountable and want to do everything you can to maintain that trust. It’s a very positive way to get the best out of a team. And our results show that it’s a great way to work!
What’s the best part of your job as Head of Tech PR?
Helping tell the stories of some amazing clients who are working hard to change the world for the better, with an incredible bunch of creative, passionate and fun teammates!
PR career highlight?
That would have to be interacting with cricketing legends when I used to work at the International Cricket Council. Getting emails addressed to me from the late Richie Benaud or my childhood favourite Richard Hadlee, or the time when West Indian great Clive Lloyd called me on my mobile – I think stood up from my seat to talk to him!
Outside of work, are there any causes important to you?
I think Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) hold the keys to a happier and more productive society, and its definitely something I am passionate about. In today’s increasingly fractured world, it is so important to understand each other, bust myths and inculcate tolerance. I truly believe that if we fix this aspect of society, a lot of other issues will start to fade away themselves.
What’s your favourite way to switch off after a long week?
Weekends are all about spending time with my two daughters and my husband. We love excursions of any sorts and try and get out and about as much as the weather allows. I’m also a bit of a DIY-er and am always looking for little projects around the house.