“Be fearless.” That’s the top piece of advice Capital One’s Sukhi Sahni gives women who want to succeed as communications pros in the latest “PR’s Top Pros Talk” interview with Doug Simon.

Sahni, who is head of corporate communications at Capital One’s U.S. card and retail bank divisions, says that “having a good relationship with fear allows you take risks. And that’s really important for all of us, especially for women.”

Another major plus for women on their way up is to have a sponsor. “Not just mentors,” she tells Simon, “but sponsors who would be ready to support you when you’re not in the room itself.”

Capital One has seen a big jump in the number of women in senior roles. “It is a big priority to make sure we have women leaders who’ve got a voice, who’ve got a seat at the table,” Sahni says.

Finding those female leaders, she says, requires uncovering “the right talent that meets the needs and requirements of the business.” She says that she looks for women who are good at developing the teams that work under them and finding out what’s needed for the company’s customers.

Sahni also talks about the strategies those leaders need to employ to make sure their communications programs, and the companies they serve, are moving forward.

Learning lessons from past successes isn’t enough, she says. Leaders also need to look at what hasn’t worked and then develop a “solutions-oriented mindset.”

One example she cites is the “Zoom fatigue” that has resulted from the an overdependency on the platform in the new work-from-home world. What's not working about the standard approach to Zoom, she says, can be the basis of a new opportunity.

Sahni encourages her team members “to take some time off Zoom and actually just get a sense of belonging.” She also talks about the dangers of “overcommunicating,” which she says leaders can defuse by being “very thoughtful and intentional about what you want to put out there.”

She also discusses why empathy is so important and how companies can keep up with the accelerating pace of innovation.

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at dougs@dssimonmedia.com

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