The 60 Seconds that Changed my Life: K Raheja Corp's Cheryl Dsouza-Waldiya on her first job in PR

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a journalist. 

Cheryl Dsouza-Waldiya, general manager – Corporate Communications, K Raheja Corp

‘Power of the pen’, I’d say.

‘My by-line will be in the papers’, I’d think.

Circa 2001, fresh out of my Post Graduation in Mass Media and Economics, I interviewed at a premier media house and bagged an internship. I would receive a stipend of Rs. 3000 per month. I was happy. They told me I could start in 45 days. I had time at hand and inquisitiveness in my gut.

With no online certification courses at the time to the rescue. I continued to learn from the newspapers. I came across Clea PR. Plush office replete with a snooker table and gym. Very fancy I thought. They were recruiting and my classmates were interviewing. I tagged along.

It was an intensive day-long session – presentations, discussions, and debates. I did well. I got the job. Monthly salary offer now stood at Rs. 7000. I was excited. I thought I’d give this a shot.

Work Begins

First day at work, 26th July 2001. As tradition went, fresh joinees stood on a chair and spoke for 60 seconds, And so, carefully perched on a chair with wheels, I told my story. At the end of those 60 seconds, I was promoted from junior consultant to management trainee.

My Post Graduation degree in Economics working some wonder, And I must add, the management was very gracious. Salary upped from Rs. 7000 to Rs. 12000 per month, in 60 seconds flat! I thought I’d stay a while.

Today as I reminisce that moment, I can almost hear SRK’s voice from the intense scene out of Chak De telling me…“60 seconds, 60 seconds hai tumhare paas, shayad tumhari zindagi ke sabse khaas 60 seconds.”

First Client win 

Cut to the first story I initiated for a client appeared. It was no less than the Times of India on a bright Monday morning.I squealed with baby-like excitement ‘My story appeared’, ‘My story appeared’. My parents joined my excitement and me in reading ‘my story’, Once, then twice over, looking for what, in that story, was mine. Don’t think to this date, they understand fully, what is mine in the stories. What they do know is that I create a meaningful difference at my place of work.

I of course, found what was mine, I found my mojo, and what I enjoy doing each day. Building brands, spinning narratives. So what if the by-line isn’t mine? I play my part, and endeavour to do it well. I’ve made PR my passion. I’m glad I stayed ‘a while’

‘The while’ now marking two decades in communications.And I couldn’t be more grateful to my mentors, colleagues, friends in media, and partners who helped curate my story.

Forever indebted. Forever grateful.

Cheryl Dsouza-Waldiya is GM, corporate communications at K Raheja Corp

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