It’s 8 pm on a winter night and we are meeting Asa Ferreira for a quick dinner interview in Pune. Sitting there with Asa, as she discusses her work with passion, feels like a warm hug on this cold day.
All of 24, she’s been heading a digital agency in Pune, Socio Loca, for the last three years. She’s also the vice president of marketing at United Basketball Alliance and was recently recognised as the ‘youngest woman in India heading a department of a sports league’ at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2017.
In an interview with indibeat, Asa shares some interesting views on women in sports and women as young leaders in India. Excerpts:
IB: How does it feel to be recognised at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at such a young age?
Asa: Being among the youngest in my position is an opportunity that I’m grateful for, and a responsibility that I’m very cognisant of, not just for the company and myself, but to help set an example for young girls. Dream big, and never let age define what you want to do in life.
IB: You run one of the best digital agencies in Pune. Tell us about the challenges and rewards involved.
Asa: The work has been rewarding enough. To identify a client’s requirements, nail down how best they can be exceeded, conceptualise ways to achieve that and execute it well before time, is a process that I’m in love with.
I truly don’t think of my work as being a chore in any way – it invigorates and fulfils me. The challenges are mainly in shape of how we can do better than our best.
IB: What do you think about the status and popularity of sports other than cricket in India?
Asa: Cricket might be a religion here, but India is a country that worships many Gods. If you look at how test cricket is faring, you can see that the public wants entertaining sports spectacles.
The public appetite is being quelled by professional sports leagues coming up across various disciplines. India is waking up to seeing sports elevated to a new level – as a career and as prime entertainment.
IB: Do you think Indian women are actively taking up sports?
Asa: The participation rate of women in sports in India is on the rise. The idea that young boys play sports and girls only play with dolls is archaic.
Be it hockey, basketball, tennis, the Olympics or badminton, sports is heading to an equal playing field in India in terms of gender.
IB: What are your views on sexism in the professional space?
Quite simply, there is no place for sexism, be it in the professional space or personal life or anywhere else. Whether you’re Ankit or Ankita should have absolutely no bearing on your work. To allow oneself to be prejudiced is a grave error.
IB: Do you think women have enough opportunities for entrepreneurship in India?
Asa: Opportunities are usually self-made. You have to continue imbibing good work habits and staying on course. You cannot allow yourself to be discouraged. Lack of opportunities coming your way should be seen as an opportunity to make your own path.
IB: How has your professional journey changed you?
Having taken up the challenge of heading India’s professional basketball league’s marketing efforts, I was initially over-thinking how I could make a splash in a new industry.
I then realised that while the game may be different, the rules are the same — the moment you stop changing, you cease evolving and become extinct. Being open to change is what helps you excel, no matter which industry you are in. Any self-doubt that I harboured is what I’ve let go of now.
Image Credit: Asa Ferreira