ADVERTISING and marketing industry veteran Bharat Avalani was recently conferred a Special Award for teaching and spreading the good influence of advertising and marketing across the region by the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA).
He also received the award for running AFAA’s Fast Track programme, bringing hope and wisdom to young marketing and advertising professionals from 10 countries at the 30th AdAsia Congress in Bali, Indonesia, last month.
Bharat, who is the CEO of Connecting the Dots Marketing Consultancy, said in a statement the highlight, however, was the privilege and honour of interacting with Kofi Annan, the former secretary-general of the United Nations and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
He is also the Global Partner of Anecdote International, which is recognised as a world’s leader in the use of storytelling in business.
Narrating his experience with the ex-UN chief, he said: “Last year, I was in Ghana on work and I made it a point to visit Mfantisipim, a methodist boarding school at the Cape coast where Annan studied. It was a Saturday morning and I saw boys doing their own laundry, cleaning their dormitories and the surroundings.
“The mental note that I made to myself was recognising the dignity of labour early in life, taking responsibility to clean your own mess and that of others. Never in my wildest dream I had imagined that I would get an opportunity to share my experience with Annan in person.
“He told me that we have another thing in common apart from the shared memory of his school and that was his dad worked for Unilever Ghana. I too worked in Unilever Malaysia.”
Responding to a question on leadership, Annan noted: “Leadership is about understanding a problem and asking yourself what you can do to help. Leadership is service. A good leader is a good follower.”
Bharat is a Unilever veteran who has criss-crossed 69 countries. He comes with 25 years of experience in brand management, consumer insights, media strategy, brand activation, market development and integrated brand communications. He continues to be associated with Unilever in an external capacity.