Pavithra Ramaswamy – COO of evam entertainment, an avid traveller, official party planner, unofficial matchmaker and an occasional sabbatical taker.
Recently I toured Delhi & Bangalore with the evam lab & Sideways team for our play-shop solution ‘It’s not U, it’s Ë.Q’. It was International Woman’s day on the 8th of March with #BeBoldforChange as the main theme and most of the corporates had organised a series of workshops & presentations around this time. The experience – right from prep till delivery was absolutely fabulous for me and this blog has me talking about what it was like interacting with these audiences & clients and of course, the team.
Prep started a few weeks back when our Director Sunil came to me seeking my help with producing these shows – my job mainly revolved around client servicing and logistics management for five clients delivering 6 shows across 3 days. It meant multiple calls – explaining to them what we needed in terms of technicals & stage setup on show days, handling travel boarding and lodging for a team of 6, ensuring they were comfortable & well taken care of during this gruelling schedule and above all reassuring the clients that the shows would be fabulous.
Interestingly for all these shows, the corporate sent out a common mail inviting the employees to come attend this event which meant it was purely voluntary – the employees had to take time off from their work and come, which made the HR very nervous about the turnout and that’s where BRAND evam helped. We walked around the various floors within the premises, did cute cubicle previews & canteen gigs with our guitar and cajon, (nukkad natak types) giving them a flavor of how fun the act was going to be and once this was done & the setup & sound check was done – we waited for people to turn up and they did in large numbers ☺.
What is E.Q and what really worked for them? Some of the common issues that almost all HR were addressing using this forum were, the poor ratio of women to men in Leadership roles, issues of how employees are seen by their colleagues when they were inducted because of the diversity and inclusion mandates, inhibitions of people within a workplace, dealing with work pressure from superiors, attrition etc. The gender ratio used to be low before and there could have been a number of reasons for it, like the nature of business the corporates were in (Manufacturing or Tobacco or Alcohol industry), stage of life the woman was in, the corporate policies of the company etc. The good news was that all of these organisations were trying to rework their structure to give diversity and inclusion a lot more focus and more importantly to ensure that the process was done right with the right approach – and our play shop solution E.Q precisely spoke about how to do that. The 60-minute act (with a lot of fun music dance & singing) talked about gender stereotyping, addressed common issues faced by men and women in their career path and spoke about how emotional quotient can be used to make better decisions at the workplace. 45 minutes into our ACT, there was a small forum theatre segment between an employee (woman) and the boss (man) – and the audiences were given an opportunity to pause the play whenever they found something wrong with the way the conversation was going and name the issue out loud as a red flag – and that helped them realize what everyday conversations could be at office if one’s emotional quotient was used properly & wisely. The teams organizing the show were ecstatic with the response because everything said felt real & relevant and more importantly came from one of their own – which meant the agenda set was fully served.
So what was it like for me? The standing ovations & the participation we had were heartfelt – felt like pure redemption. The sense of having made a difference using an art form and knowing that what we are and what we do is truly valuable and important. This gave me reassurance that we were on the right track and could only grow from here on.
From late night flights, 3 hours of sleep every day, to canteen food to back-to-back performances and quick wraps – it was a lot of hard work – but the joy of performing to over 2000 people across 3 days made it all worth it. For me it was also fascinating seeing this ensemble come together, co-create, own & deliver the show with full earnestness. I came back overwhelmed with pride.