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Investing in My Personal Development

Through an executive development program, Publicis Sapient’s Fellowship in Transformation Leadership (FiTL), Nadira has gained confidence, tools, and friendships to help her guide our clients through their Digital Business Transformation journey.

Nadira Kalliecharan
Nadira Kalliecharan

Describe the Fellowship in Transformation Leadership and what it means to you.

The Fellowship in Transformation Leadership program has had an impact on me in so many ways, but three specific thoughts stand out. First, the program allowed me to invest in my personal development and the confidence that I can juggle being in a learning program, work, and family commitments. Through the program, I gained exposure to hard and soft tools to survive and thrive in the business transformation space that I didn’t have before. It’s helped me widen my aperture and hopefully, that helps me be a better leader. Also, this program has given me many enduring friendships – coaches, counselors, jokesters, resources – and simply people who will genuinely be there for one another through good times and tough times.


When the opportunity presented itself, what drove you to apply for the program?

At first, I was apprehensive to apply. I believe I had a combination of fear, commitment and failure that was making me second guess myself. I am a working mom and I was nervous that joining this program would take away valuable time from my two daughters.

I brought these concerns forward to various mentors in my life and realized that it would be silly to not take this amazing opportunity. I realized that through conquering my fears, I could teach an important lesson of perseverance and dedication to my young girls and to our early career associates at Publicis Sapient about being bold and fearless.


What makes an effective transformational leader?

I believe that empathy is so important in our business. Being able to help someone believe in the future of their company and being understanding with clients in their decisions to move forward in digital business transformation is very important to all of our leaders. Through the program, we worked a lot on listening and communicating with each other to prepare us to be that much more understanding with our peers, teams, and clients. Along with being empathetic, hard skills are also essential to be an impactful leader in our space.

“I realized that through conquering my fears, I could teach an important lesson of perseverance and dedication to my young girls and to our early career associates at Publicis Sapient about being bold and fearless.”

Can you give us an inside look into what a “week-in-the-life” looked like for you during the Fellowship program?

During the days, we are in our regular teams and sectors, helping with clients and making an impact on their business. After our day jobs, we would transition into our program where we all worked on our project assignments. Mentors and coaches within the organization were always involved and ready to help answer questions.


How has the Fellowship transformed you as an individual or allowed you to stretch outside of your comfort zone?

I believe that the program has given me more “swagger” in the workplace. I learned valuable skills such as communication techniques and other tools in our lessons that are extremely helpful in making me a more confident professional. Through the many techniques that were taught to us, I have been able to analyze problems through lenses that help me go further in my decision-making and be a better steward to our clients.


What was the highlight of your year-long transformational journey?

One time we were essentially tasked with building out a workshop day with staging and content from start to finish with clients – the theme was the How Kitchen – even chef hats were involved! Each team had to figure out a topic to workshop with clients in a rapid collaborative manner. Although the process was stressful- at times it felt like Hell’s Kitchen- there was a lot of hard work put into the event, it was extremely rewarding to present our findings to all that were involved. That day, it was great to look back at the outcomes of grit and belief in the process – and it was worth it when the clients told us how happy they were that they gave up attending an important meeting to spend the day with us!


How have you seen the influence of this program impact your clients, your team members, or the wider organization? 

The core learnings of this program are around the urgency of digital business transformation- the mindset, relentless focus on value, and the How. COVID-19 is putting a spotlight on the need to transform-We now have to ask ourselves what we can do to help our clients reemerge from this crisis stronger than ever. As a result of the program, we can give our clients better solutions rooted in speed and value- revenue and savings- even with the crisis looming.

Many of the cohorts have also been sharing program fundamentals with a wider group either via lunch and learns or ‘teaching hospitals’. A standout for me was the communication planning framework and I’ve been pretty regimented about making this part of my process as well as teamwork.


Do you have any advice for the next cohort?

For me, I think that embracing learning and thinking about purpose from the start of the program will take you far. There are many leaders in this program and they all want you to succeed. The feedback that you receive from them is very valuable and can help propel you forward. Embrace learning in all its’ forms and lean on your cohorts for support. Think about how the work being done in the program can be transferred to help our clients.


How has being part of this program enabled you to thrive in your own brave pursuit of next?

I believe a lot of this goes back to the enduring friendships that I have mentioned before. It is all about the people and how they make the program that much more fun and engaging. Each person in the program helped me grow in some way to become a better advisor and consultant for the company. Having this community to now lean on has been very helpful for me to be confident in whatever comes next in my professional career.


Anything else you’d like to share?

Overall, my personal development has gotten so much stronger with this program. I have always been impressed by our leaders and mentors within the company that were committed to our success from start to finish. I highly recommend anyone within the company apply to this program or to invest in personal development. Take a chance on yourself by widening your skillset and creating a lasting impact on Publicis Sapient.

Nadira Kalliecharan
Nadira Kalliecharan
VP, Agile Program Management
Nadira is a Vice President in Publicis Sapient’s product group focused on Travel and Hospitality. During her 23 years at PS, she has worked with brands that include: Norwegian Cruise Lines, InterContinental Hotels Group, Choice Hotels, Coca-Cola, UPS, Yellow, and Michelin. When not helping clients thrive Nadira, enjoys time with her family creating memorable experiences that sometimes includes cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

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