Meet our new committee member: Nishika Bajaj
Nishika is Communications Consultant at Perpetual Motion and Deputy Editor of PlatformAfrica.com with focus on Fintech and financial services, backed with over 15 years’ experience across the financial services and communications space.
During her first month, we've asked her some questions for you to get to know her a bit more:
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what attracted you to joining the CIPR International committee?
I’m Indian by birth and multicultural by residence – over the last 15 years I have moved across three countries, from India to Mauritius to Singapore (and eyeing other opportunities next!). That is exactly what attracted me to joining the international committee – the opportunity to gain exposure to multiple cultures and personalities and a chance to figure out a more informed, ‘Where next?’.
Having started my career as a banking professional analysing companies and writing credit proposals for SMEs, joining the PR profession was serendipitous indeed. I enjoyed speaking to clients, figuring out their motivation for starting their own businesses and putting their stories to paper – but a credit proposal didn’t seem the right way to tell the real stories of real entrepreneurs. So, I pivoted to journalism and, as I had always been passionate about the written word, I found myself in the right place at last: combining my expertise in financial communications with my love for writing and storytelling, to become a business journalist.
I moved to Mauritius as the editor of AfricaMoney, the first online news platform and the first such media platform in English, for the island economy. From journalism to PR was a short step, and Samantha Seewoosurrun handed me the rare opportunity to do both as communications consultant at Perpetual Motion, our niche PR agency with specialisation in financial communications, as well as Deputy Editor at Platform Africa, our pan-African news platform for Africa-centric narratives to investors eyeing the Hopeful Continent. When she enrolled me and my team-mates at Perpetual Motion for CIPR CPD assessments, I was thrilled to get the opportunity to upskill myself and dive deeper into the profession under the aegis of the only body authorised under Royal Charter to provide charterships for the PR profession. After three consecutive cycles since 2019 and reaching accredited status, I figured it was high time to give back to the CIPR and jumped at the opportunity to join the International Committee.
What would you say are the biggest challenges or opportunities facing PR professionals internationally right now?
Following global developments such as COVID-19 and universal supply chain constraints on the back of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is clear that we are living in a borderless world where all countries are grappling with similar issues – and can either choose to solve them together, or go the distance alone. It is indeed this joined-up approach to PR that attracted me to the CIPR International Committee, where we can use each other as a sounding board and solve problems facing the profession together.
To my mind, the biggest challenge facing the profession right now is the proliferation of AI-led technologies such as ChatGPT. It is no secret that this chatbot can write social media posts, letters and essays that sound personal and authentic, crunching up data and using near-human intelligence to convey emotions and integrate personality into communications – churning out write-ups that are eerily close to what we would arrive at as PR professionals. Having said that, the final product might lack the same grasp over human emotions and cultural biases, or finer discernment might reveal a lack of brand voice and personality to the same extent as a human PR professional would imbue communications with – but it is simply a matter of time before OpenAI’s ChatGPT, or numerous similar offerings in the offing from tech majors such as Google and Baidu, start emulating human intelligence and emotions to near perfection. The onus is on us to understand this technology and to leverage ChatGPT as a reading and writing assistant to improve our PR deliverables – be it a press release, thought leadership, blog or white paper – rather than find ourselves on the back foot and defending ourselves against the onslaught of a technology that is inevitable.
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of having been named a LinkedIn Top Voice for Global Philanthropy and Social Development for my thought leadership on the platform. Using FinTech for sustainability and social good is a theme that resonates strongly with me, and being recognised for it gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment. I hope to continue writing on these themes that are more significant than ever in a post-COVID context, both for clients and for audiences on professional platforms such as LinkedIn, and educating peers and the public on the power of FinTech for making our economies greener and the future of our planet, more sustainable.