In an interview with Insights Success, Shanaz Ramzi — Chief Executive Officer of StarLinks emphasizes on her impeccable journey of gaining a successful stature in current hectic markets. Her unique ideologies and methods assisted in achieving many milestones in her pathway.
Shanaz started her career as a freelance journalist in 1994 and wrote prolifically for various publications, both local and international, including for their leading English newspaper Dawn. In 2004, she was hired as Head of PR and Publications by an upcoming television network, HUM, and while continuing her writing, she joined the organization as one of the founding team members. She stood with them for eleven years, finally resigning in November 2015 from her position as GM PR and Publications to start her own PR and event management company called StarLinks.
A brief on StarLinks
StarLinks PR and Events is basically a PR and event management company that has a strong CSR component as well. While the company offers pro bono services for various charitable institutions, she and her team also try to involve the company’s clients in CSR activities to enable them to give back to their country. They believe in going the extra mile for all their clients and have fast developed the reputation of under-committing and overdelivering. Company’s small team of 12 people works dedicatedly through its head office in Karachi, while it has linkages in other cities of Pakistan as well, as in different parts of the world, which have helped StarLinks to do PR for events in Dubai, London, Houston, Toronto and Colombo.
Shanaz and her team holds daily meetings to discuss the progress of projects/clients on hand and to brainstorm for future endeavors. She states that daily targets are set by the entire team and end of the day reports is to be submitted so there is clarity in how much each has succeeded in meeting their targets. An increment system has also been put in place based on the employee’s productivity, pro-activeness, resourcefulness and creativity which works wonders to motivate the team to put in their best. Further she adds that a fixed commission is also given to those employees that bring in new clients or projects.
Her traits led Impeccable Achievements
Shanaz strongly feels that every leader, and particularly one in the PR business, should and must have a cool head, tons of patience, and the ability to listen, as well as delegate. Through quoting, “A good leader is one who is accessible at all times, and who inspires confidence and respect,” Shanaz implies that the leader should be hands on and know their work thoroughly, so that they can’t be hoodwinked.
Moreover, she also mentions some of her achievements, yet she often wondered what she considered as her greatest life achievement — her marriage of forty years to her childhood sweetheart; her two beautiful children; her book, Food Prints published by OUP, the first of its kind in Pakistan; or her two international awards received soon after establishing her company for Start-up of the Year, and Best CEO of the World. She states, perhaps, in retrospect, in a post Covid-19 world it is simply staying healthy and being in touch with her childhood friends all across the globe digitally.
Having said that, she would like to add here that there are two projects that she considers her greatest work achievement to date, which she would like to specifically mention. The first is the launch of the biggest mall in South Asia, LuckyOne Mall, which she and her team were entrusted with in the very first year of her company’s existence. It was humbling enough that the company landed the mammoth project in the face of stiff, and far more experienced competition, but what was even more over-whelming was that it landed up extending its launch activities from three days to thirteen full days, with her team staying at the mall day and night, in order to ensure footfall, for most important shops had not opened up on time.
She also states that the second project was a three-day international conference for INTBAU Pakistan — International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture and Urbanism — that she and her team carried out last November. With 30 foreign delegates, five foreign students, and over 250 local participants taking part in the conference, which provided boarding and lodging to all the foreigners, as well as to over 60 local delegates in the interior of Sindh — in custom-made, eco-friendly resorts — as well as in Karachi, the most challenging part of the event was not the logistics or the conference itself, but the fact that the president of Pakistan and his entourage attended the opening day. The nightmare of meeting the protocol requirements and security measures made everything else pale into insignificance, but the fact that the company managed to pull it off to rave reviews by one and all, was a feat they are all very proud of.
An advice for Triumph in Tech-oriented World
Shanaz finds her work extremely challenging and the times we live in constantly evolving, and feels one must be grateful to this ever-changing technological era. She states that she is learning something new from her young colleagues daily, and while there is the occasional time when she misses the way it used to be, by and large she is grateful for the changes for it does make connectivity, gathering information, keeping records and so much more, a lot easier and quicker. One has to learn to move with the times, and rather than being daunted by the head-spinning technology, she find it exhilarating and exciting.
She also states the fact that there are many emerging entrepreneurs in their industry as it has been growing rapidly this past decade, but many of them are oneperson shows with no overheads, no legal standing, and are not registered as taxpayers. Her advice to all these youngsters is that there are no short cuts in life — if they want to truly succeed and make their mark, they need to go about it the right away, even if it means making a substantial investment into their business.