About Jagruti Mistry, Senior Director and Head of Corporate Communications, North Africa, Levant and Pakistan (NALP), Visa

Jagruti Mistry currently leads Corporate Communications for the North Africa, Levant and Pakistan (NALP) region for Visa. She is based in Dubai from where she works on strategic communication and brand building campaigns with external and internal stakeholders for the 15 countries that make up this region.

A seasoned global communications practitioner with more than two decades of experience of working with international blue-chip brands, Jagruti has been with Visa for 16 years and in this time has led global and regional communications from both Dubai and Singapore in a variety of fields including innovation, product, sponsorship, social impact and cross border. 

Originally from Singapore, Jagruti started her professional communications career with public relations agencies where she drove successful external and internal communications programs over multiple geographies for several global MNC brands covering electronic payments, technology, aviation and travel and tourism, multimedia content production and digital and social marketing communications. 

About her thoughts for the industry

I’ll never forget the day a palm reader at a music festival in Singapore told me my “ideal career” was in communications. I was surprised because I was already in my first year working in a PR agency, so I figured hey, there’s no looking back now!

Of course, not everyone is given sound career advice from fortune tellers, but I will say that my faith in the power of communications has been bolstered from being part of very progressive organizations and working and learning from extremely intelligent communicators and savvy spokespeople from all parts of the world. I’ve seen up-close how effective our industry can be when everyone’s synced up and key messages are on point. That usually happens when comms is at the decision-making table from the start rather than being called in at the last minute to “clean up the mess”.

Of course, that “communications utopia” isn’t always the norm and many challenges – not limited to certain geographies or industries – do remain. I’ve commiserated with my global peers on how all of us deal with small teams juggling massive workloads, miniscule budgets, measurement and ROI inconsistencies, lack of career and representation opportunities, and a fast-changing media and digital landscape. 

In addition to that, we also have to deal with a dizzying array of new media platforms, fighting for visibility from an audience that has an attention span that’s depleting faster than natural rainforests, and of course everyone’s favourite new “I-hate-you-but-I love-you” technology – Artificial Intelligence (A.I.)’s exciting new baby ChatGPT. 

While it’s true that clear and effective communication can help build trust with customers, enhance the reputation and success of one’s business, attract investors and new talent, engage employees and of course manage the occasional crisis better, all that work is only effective when it is consistent. 

My wish to my fellow communicators is to keep learning and to stay curious. Our industry is more in demand than it has ever been and I do believe most CEOs and business heads will openly admit how critical corporate communication is for the success of their business. In the spirit of industry validation, I will quote Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group emphasizing the importance of PR in building the Virgin brand when he said, “Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.”