Staff Reporters
Aug 18, 2020

Women to Watch 2020: Aakanksha Patel, Oliver Agency

Aakanksha Patel was appointed Oliver Agency’s country head in one of the world’s largest markets at the age of just 30, all while running her own leading probiotic brand on the side.

Women to Watch 2020: Aakanksha Patel, Oliver Agency
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Aakanksha Patel

Country head
Oliver Agency
India

Aakanksha Patel has accelerated through her career at impressive speed, from interning at Red Bull and Leo Burnett to being promoted to an account lead within two years of her first agency role, handling Fortune-500 brands like Tata Motors and Johnson & Johnson. During a nine-year stint at Digitas India, she was promoted every year, going on to lead the FMCG and food and beverage verticals with key accounts like Nivea, Anheuser Busch and Parle Agro under her wing. Her work for these clients scooped several awards, including Kyoorius Blue Elephants, Indian Digital Media Awards and Campaign India’s Digital Crest awards. Plus, Patel was personally recognised in Social Samosa’s 30 under 30.

Around the time of her most recent promotion at Digitas, to become a regional associate vice president, Patel founded her own business—probiotic brand Kefir Culture. Her company now claims to be the single largest manufacturer of Kefir milk and water products in India. After spending time on her passion project, Patel was lured back into advertising, becoming the VP and country head of India for in-housing agency Oliver in August 2019.

In this role, she leads in-house teams for major brands such as Unilever and Anheuser-Busch InBev, and since her takeover of the position, the revenue for the business in India has increased by 40%—a mixture of a 15% lift in organic growth plus new business. Moreover, Patel has ensured an average of only 4% staff turnover—well below the industry average— by focusing on people initiatives alongside business growth. She is the “perfect young leader”, according to manager Paul Bonnette, while her clients describe her as “incredible”, “transformational” and “challenging the status quo”.

Her colleagues describe Patel as a woman who “goes at a thousand miles a minute”, with seemingly no limit to how much she can manage in one day. Along with running her own brand and a home bakery, she spends time giving back to the world by participating in animal adoption camps, fundraising drives and rescues in Mumbai.

SEE ALL OF THE 2020 WOMEN TO WATCH
Exceptional female talent from the APAC marcomms industry 

 

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