“Never work for a company, work for your growth in the company, and success will surely follow.”
These words hold true for Azam Shaikh’s own career and is also the advice he chose to give new joiners in the company.
In this wide-ranging interview done out of AnyMind’s Mumbai office, Azam starts by sharing with us how his career has panned out.
“My career has been rather a very interesting roller coaster but what has stayed consistent in my career is my being open to learning and new challenges,” started Azam, sharing that he worked as a creative designer for close to seven years before moving into a product and sales role.
Soon after, he joined an AdTech startup called vserv.mobi and took on an advertising operations role. “I was with Vserv.mobi for 4.5 years and exited the organization as a General Manager managing a team of 21 people from India, SEA and LATAM markets,” he shared.
In 2015, Azam joined POKKT as a delivery manager, and he rose through the ranks to become vice president of operations, supply and programmatic for the mobile video advertising outfit.
Describing his work and journey within POKKT as “like an intrapreneur,” he shares that the co-founders of POKKT, Rohit Sharma and Vaibhav Odhekar (now COO and MD of India and the Middle East respectively for AnyMind Group), empowered him to constantly learn and grow. He also had a mentor in Purwa Jain, who was an employee of POKKT in its early days and recently joined AnyMind Group, as she showed him the ropes around programmatic and tech solutions.
“But I feel I am not yet done – with AnyMind there is so much more to learn and I am excited to see my journey ahead. I truly believe my story hasn’t even reached its prime yet,” exclaimed Azam.
A different angle to the POKKT acquisition We’ve covered quite a bit about the POKKT acquisition on our blog, but mostly from a corporate and leadership point of view. That’s why we wanted to peel off more layers to find out what this was like for the POKKT team.
Azam shared: “With this acquisition, I honestly expected a comparatively difficult path with AnyMind coming from a different culture and mindset, but I was very pleasantly surprised.” He added that post-acquisition, work routine and employee welfare were not only maintained, but there were so many new dimensions added that were beneficial.
“The most important growth I experienced is that my team and I have been given an opportunity to expand our horizons and the company facilitated our exposure,” as he continued that “Getting acquainted with professionals from different countries, our brainstorming on strategies has created a tremendous learning experience for me.”
As we shared in our 6th birthday infographic, the 1,000+ person AnyMind team has over 27 nationalities based across 13 markets around Southeast Asia, East Asia, India and the Middle East.
Azam also spoke to various AnyMind employees, and many of them described how the company provides a unique learning curve “with a liberty to explore.” When he met with AnyMind’s leadership post-acquisition, he shared how his excitement grew even more as he learned about the thought process of the leadership team, and how they constantly think “beyond the current” to provide better opportunities to employees.
“So far, the company has delivered more than I expected. I think this company has kept me curious and excited enough to wake up every single day and go to work with the same energy and enthusiasm,” said Azam, as he also shares that “the company has never let monotony hit me and has also given me a work-life balance. Outside work I have my own army with my wife, 3 kids and my friends, and trust me I haven’t heard them complain about any insufficiencies in terms of time from my end.”
It’s all about collaboration “I have noticed that employees really grow when the environment of the organization is collaborative,” as Azam shares that this cross-department collaboration and delivering “state-of-the-art results” is the best thing about his job. He also says that having to navigate various challenges whilst keeping the engine running is a highlight of his job.
More importantly, what keeps him motivated to push further is seeing how his team members have grown (he has worked with them for over six years), and working with them to discover new ways of delivering results.
“On a personal growth front, I think I have really become more patient, mindful and positively motivated,” said Azam, as he recollects how he has collaborated and brainstormed with teams across markets.
He ends the interview with: “We are here to facilitate you with everything that will make your career shine. All we need in return is the right attitude, passion for work and a clear view of your goal.”