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Executive Voice

Journalist and Media-Tech Entrepreneur, Linda Ashok on Pivoting Crisis to Claim Her Space


Her job is to tell stories of inspiring entrepreneurs making a global impact at scale. Almost every digital news media is into profiling stories and at a pace that often compromises objective journalism. But on StartuptoEnterprise.com, one would not find regular startup stories but those that balance social impact and revenue through innovative technology and marketing strategies.

The Founding-Editor of StartuptoEnterprise.com says that she is in no rush to produce automated content to rank her site, which is the standard practice. She wants to invest time in building a platform that shares genuine stories through critical appreciation and contextual market positioning. She wants to take it slow and craft stories that will stand the test of paid and non-paid media. Who is she?

Meet Linda Ashok, a poet, journalist, and media-tech entrepreneur from India. Linda studied English language and literature from Rabindra Bharati University (RBU), Kolkata, and dropped out from her Masters in English from EFLU, Hyderabad. In 2019, she had the offer to study MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College, US, and in 2020, an offer to study MSc in Digital Marketing at Herriot Watt University, Scotland.

According to Linda, she has been fortunate to have received offers to study funded programs at prestigious universities, but the timing was never appropriate, which conflicted with her professional priorities or the pandemic. With a career starting as early as 2006 while pursuing her first-year graduation at RBU, Linda has worked as a marcomms professional with Fortune 100 and 500s such as Bank of America, IBM, Deloitte, ADP, and SMBs.

In 2019, Linda worked with a supply chain firm based in Mumbai when she was wronged by her CMO and terminated on false allegations related to information security violations. She approached the labor court, but her efforts went in vain. Ridiculed and humiliated, she was forced out of the business premises, unprepared as a middle-aged woman trying to make sense of living through depressive episodes to follow. It was the pivoting moment.

While she was still in the firm, she had registered BrandHappiness.in intending to build her digital marketing firm someday. On her termination, she took it up as her solo venture. In this particular venture, a staffing firm named Kelly Services pitched to Linda for business association and sent her a pdf of compensation, which then revealed pay parity in India is a major problem wherein she was paid half of what she deserved 12+ years of work experience already.

Six months into BrandHappiness, Linda got her first client, wherein she managed three businesses as their digital marketing consultant. She deliberately chose to work with emerging IT startups where she could unleash all her learning to help these businesses grow against traditional setups where businesses are less likely to experiment. Two years since her audacious departure from the supply chain firm, she has never looked back.

According to Linda, “Media is formidable, but it is difficult to stick your values above the waters when that Media is sold out. Whether as an employee, a whistleblower, or as a fledgling new business with no network or networth, you are not in a position to find that necessary advocacy. I had no one to fall back on for support during my crisis. So starting with BrandHappiness as a digital consultant, I rediscovered my journalism, my power to tell stories and make media accessible to all. Thereof I founded StartuptoEnterprise.com

While going through her experiences, Linda realized the potential of storytelling within the entire gamut of businesses, starting from startups to enterprises. Linda didn’t want to replicate the existing and formidable media-tech startups such as YourStory.com or INC42. She wanted to carve her niche, go slow, and write about innovation across industries. Because she has an affinity for technology in general and her industry-agnostic professional life, she focuses on first narratives.

Today, Linda is ready to speak to investors once she has done her homework assessing her unique skills and values that have so much to offer to the global startup community. It is the very reason that on StartuptoEnterprise.com, while you read about Indian startups on their Cancer and COVID-19 breakthrough technologies, you will also read about Metaverse and the first flying cars from Europe to breakthrough in apiary from Israel or breastfeeding technology in Japan.

Linda has a fern tattooed on her left arm, and it speaks of resilience. Indeed, her story is that of resilience, to fight back not in words but action. Here’s hoping that she finds her community of believers who are ready to turn the odds into a win with no business funding from friends or families. That’s the way to claim a self-made identity, a way to perpetuate self-care through one’s creative potential.

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