While she might not be the face on camera and her name might not appear on all credit roles, she plays a staggeringly pivotal role off-screen for the Indian media and entertainment industry. Her name is Priyanka Khimani.
Not your usual lawyer on the block, Khimani has had a multi-hyphenated career all her working life. Today, having been a model and screenwriter, she operates across a diverse set of capabilities as a mentor-collaborator-board member-business advisor-entrepreneur in the global M&E landscape.
With her law firm Khimani & Associates back in action post a demerger from a much talked about the partnership, she is ready to write the next chapter of an already envious career so far. The firm's 100% women-led workforce across roles, with her at the helm, is a great fresh start and unprecedented in an otherwise conservative and often perceived to be patriarchal industry. Here is what she had to say:
Tell us about your team and how is this in line with your vision for the workspace?
The emphasis is on inculcating good practices and establishing the right culture. We're a zero-tolerance to toxic and bias workplace – both internally within the firm and externally with clients as well as opposing counsel. We're a place founded on mutual respect – for time, space, boundaries, physical and mental fitness and personal goals. This solid foundation helps a great deal in keeping us in line with our larger vision of a healthy, collaborative and supportive workspace. We look at adding people with multi-dimensional and varied skill sets to the team. My practice is supported by an exceptionally talented pool of lawyers trained to be commercially and socio-culturally savvy. That is a reason our clients perceive us as business advisors in the truest sense. We're able to guide and handhold at every level and front, right from conceptualization of a new business division or venture or career move to even a public crisis.
It is not every day we see a legal firm with a female-dominated workforce? Is this intentional?
No, it's not intentional at all. It's happened over a period of time, and, perhaps, a big reason for it has had me, a woman, at the helm of affairs. Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, gender remains a big challenge for women in the legal profession, and I say this from personal experience. Be that as it may, I've personally always adopted a no-nonsense, unapologetic, zero-tolerance attitude when dealing with bias or patriarchy in my professional career, and I don't plan on changing that now. My aim is to build a talent-based, healthy and collaborative workspace that eliminates any perceived barriers for great talent to shine. The goal is to have a talented and inclusive workforce, and therefore everyone is welcome.
What is in store for the future?
My eyes are on putting India on the global map regarding international thought leadership in entertainment, music and technology. Equally, I am going to be focused on building communities that will give our strong, empowered girls and women of India the perfect platform to shine before a global audience. My team and I have already taken several steps in this direction and have valuable work to our credit, but we are not finished. I can't wait to unveil these developments soon.