Jasleen Makker, HARMAN’s director of corporate communications, leads the company’s communications in India, the company’s largest employee base of over 8,500. She also leads the Connected Services division, with 12,000 employees globally.
A key member of HARMAN’s communications leadership team, Makker demonstrates a powerful mix of communications and operational leadership. At a time when companies vie for talent, she has helped strengthen recruiting, and increased retention and engagement through effective storytelling, strong communications, community relations, and diversity and inclusion programs. She also oversees thought leadership and media relations, securing strong media coverage for HARMAN even when competing against much larger companies.
Although Makker contends that diversity in the workforce, and its positive effect on business is nothing new, she also believes that truly successful and innovative companies build diverse teams. “Diversity and inclusion means support for a collaborative environment that values open participation from individuals with different ideas and perspectives,” she explains. “A diverse set of minds within a company will better serve tomorrow’s customers; companies that accept unique ideas and perspectives will be most successful.”
She goes on to say, “I read somewhere that companies that give their employees ‘the freedom to fail’ are most successful. At HARMAN, I’ve always had a strong backing from my manager to introduce new ways of working and engaging employees. For me, this is also inclusive.”
Makker’s advice to professional women is to block any negative chatter they hear, particularly if it relates to gender. “Throughout my career, I haven’t let negative voices block my vision. I continue to use that approach even today,” she says. “I urge women to remain confident, spark new ideas and conversations, and follow their dreams … and have fun once in a while.”
She also encourages women to help, support and engage with each other. “We need to form informal networking groups of working and stay-at-home mothers, and lend a hand when things get difficult for someone,” she says. Makker relays a piece of advice she was told: “If you bring curiosity and faith to your work every day, the rest will follow.”