By SHABBIR H. KAZMI
Mar 13 - 26, 2000
Zainab Ansari started her career as Executive Public Relations with ICI
Pakistan Limited in 1975 and today after nearly quarter of a century she manages her own
public relations company Xenith Public Relations (Pvt) Limited. Within one month
from commencement of operations, Xenith got two prestigious clients Intel being the
most important account. Not because of the amount Intel spends but because of the service
it provides for developing awareness about information technology and being an innovative
solution provider. Zainab is among the few professionals who strongly believe that public
relations is a full-fledged discipline.
PAGE: What has been your biggest ambition as a professional?
Zainab: When I started my career, I had an ambition to establish my
own identity. I still work to achieve this objective. I believe that when an individual
works for a company, he/she may not be able to achieve what he/she desires. Also, there is
a saturation level. After working for companies like Intercontinental Hotels, 3-D Systems,
Digital Communications and CMC, I realized that to establish my own identity, I must
establish my own enterprise which I could manage the way I like.
I started my career with ICI Pakistan as their first ever public
relations executive. After working for nearly two and half years, I joined
Intercontinental Hotel, Karachi, as Guest Relations Manager. Though, I did not have any
formal training in this discipline, the hotel sent me for training to Indonesia.
Intercontinental chain has a very strong guest relations department. At that time
Intercontinental hotels in Pakistan was under Middle East Region. I prepared a Guest
Relations Programme which was adopted by the entire Middle East Divion. Ultimately I also
became a trainer for trainers for Intercontinental Hotels in Pakistan.
PAGE: Why did you establish your own agency and what kind of
association Xenith enjoys with the Fleishman-Hillard?
Zainab: Working for companies like Digital Communication, 3-D
Systems and CMC (a period spread over more than 15 years) constantly reminded me "I
have to establish my own identity". Like every one, I also felt a little scared of
establishing my own business operations. Running one's own show and working for others
have their own advantages and handicaps. I thought, if I had to be an outstanding
professional, I had to accept these challenges. I am fortunate that I was able to put
together a strong, hardworking and dedicated team. Another plus point is Xenith's
collaboration with world known Fleishman-Hillard. Our partnership with Fleishman not only
enables us to tap into extensive resources but also facilitates us serving our clients
Fleishman-Hillard is the fifth largest public relations firm in the
world and the second largest firm in the United States. Established in 1946, it has been
the fastest growing agency in the industry, with compounded growth of more than 26 per
cent over the past decade. Fleishman-Hillard is a global agency with more than 30 offices
and 1200 professional and support employees around the globe.
PAGE: Why do you think that public relations is a discipline
Zainab: I would like to quote John D. Graham, chairman and CEO,
Fleishman-Hillard on the importance of public relations. He said, "Public relations
has reached a significant turning point in its evolution as a profession. In today's
highly competitive business environment, with more public attention focused on business
actions and their consequences, public relations has the opportunity to become one of the
key management disciplines of the future."
Keeping his saying in mind, public relations agencies not only have
tremendous potential for growth but a key role to play in building corporate image. Our
principle is to cater to each client's individual needs by creating strategies and plans
that distinctively cater to its specific objectives. We provide a multitude of services.
However, making money is not the only objective.
We provide free of cost services to educational institutions. Though,
we do not charge any fee but the level of services, hard work and dedication of our team
is nothing less than the quality being offered to our highest paying client. Xenith, in
association with Intel Pakistan, has been providing the best possible service to Karachi
PAGE: What is your message to our readers?
Zainab: Since a large number of students of business schools read PAGE
regularly I would like to say that getting the highest salary is not the climax of a
profession. It is more important that an individual should be identified by the cause
he/she pursues. One should aim at attaining the level of 'self actualization' which makes
working a pleasure.