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Verve People
January 16, 2018

Their Fathers’ Daughters: Lara Balsara Vajifdar And Sam Balsara

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photographed by Shubham Lodha

Just as Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogrammed trunks reflect the Maison’s heritage, we discover a beautiful continuity in the blend of the old and the new, as witnessed by these father-daughter duos. Here we speak to Ad gurus, Lara Balsara Vajifdar and Sam Balsara

Over the years, Louis Vuitton, one of the most iconic luxury brands in the world, has defined tastes with its emphasis on fine craftsmanship and trend-setting innovations. As the modern draws from — and often reinvents — the traditional, the House has expanded its coveted collections with memorable offerings. In a conversation with three women and their fathers who have infused their lives with love and learning, we discover a beautiful continuity in the blend of the old and the new, as witnessed by these father-daughter duos.

Ad Gurus: Lara Balsara Vajifdar And Sam Balsara

Lara Balsara Vajifdar On Her Father

“As a child, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue.
But towards the last few years of my higher education, one thing led to another and I landed up doing a master’s in marketing at the UWE, Bristol, UK. On my return to India, I joined Madison World as a management trainee.”

“My father has always been very passionate about his job. When I was young, it was exciting to see the ads he was involved with — in print or television, and get a chance to go for shoots where I met many celebrities.”

“Working hard and having a strong sense of integrity and my values — these are some of the qualities that he has inculcated in me. The biggest lesson I have learnt from him is to go after what I believe in and not wait for things to happen.”

“I didn’t have any special privileges as such. It has given me a strong foundation, and I now see the benefit of having worked my way up without taking advantage of my name. The benefit of being in the same workplace as dad is that someone’s got my back all the time.”

“He comes up with 100 ideas and I shoot down 90 of them. But our vision is similar — to see the company grow from strength to strength and to make a positive impact on our clients. I also have his strong sense of ethics, but he is more of a people person than I am.”

“I have been involved in diversification and setting up new ventures for Madison World. Recently, we acquired a specialist digital agency called HiveMinds as well as a PR agency called Brandcomm. We have also entered the Bangladesh market through an affiliation with an independent agency called Mediacom. Some of our earlier diversification projects include Mates Entertainment Professional Management Group (PMG) and The Football Edge (sports); Penada for events and artist promotion; and Madison Media Sri Lanka. Madison World today has 24 units across 11 specialised functional areas, with 1,000 employees across India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bangladesh.”

“The biggest high was the exposure I got. I learned through the highs and lows and realised my ability to make a difference in people’s lives.”

“The advertising and media world is so dynamic that no two days are the same. You go through so much that it really prepares you for life and empowers you to take on the world! ”

Sam Balsara On His Daughter

“As a child, Lara was quiet and obedient. She is the exact opposite of me. She is extremely cool, calm and calculative.”

“To a large extent, she was exposed to the nature of my work, its demands and challenges. Very often, I would discuss it at the dining table. And I did envisage that she would eventually join Madison World.”

“I don’t know if I have shaped her dreams — I don’t know if I was capable of that. But, if at all, I have done so, it was by frequently talking to her about her fears, her hopes, her challenges and her desires. If I had to give her advice today, I would tell her to be bolder and more adventurous.”

“The biggest learning she has imbibed from me is the importance of being persistent. You must continue with what life throws at you. Failures and successes are all a part of life. And one must not get overly elated by success or daunted by failures.”

“We have had our differences. This is mainly because we belong to different generations and I am conditioned by past experiences. For instance, her vision for Madison World is different from mine. I guess she is more inclined to bring in a global partner than I am. She is more objective and calm in stressful situations, and more cautious with investments in new areas than I am — that has saved us from venturing into dangerous territory.”

“She has helped broaden the company’s horizons. She has done this by diversifying into varied areas related to communication, and going beyond media. I hope she will be able to achieve more with less effort and have a clearer view of the work-life balance — and achieve it.”

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