Offbeat: Anshuman Verma – A text book approach to success

Adgully’s special feature section – ‘Offbeat’ – seeks to give a peek into the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more.  

Featured this week is Anshuman Verma, Chief Marketing & Digital Officer at DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance (a joint venture of Prudential USA and DHFL in India). An IIM Calcutta and Delhi College of Engineering alumnus, Verma’s core expertise lies in building strong business strategies and aligning them with the marketing technology. With domain expertise in financial services, telecom and consumer product categories, Verma has created competitive advantages across organisations with a start-up mindset. 

In a career spanning over two decades, he has led multicultural and multinational teams, created strong businesses and compelling brands. He has held important positions at organisations like Bharti Airtel, Commercial Bank of Ceylon (Sri Lanka), DU Telecom, Saudi Telecom Sapphire and HSBC Canara Life Insurance. 

A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
I am a curious learner who always tries to understand the difference between cause and effect. In my daily routine, I always try to incorporate the basic life skills learnt at kindergarten. 

Ever wished you had superhero powers?
Every senior professional has an opportunity to inspire people to recognise their true potential and guide them towards it. This is the hidden superpower that I would invoke every time somebody needs help. 

What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
Boxing legend Mohammed Ali had said, “Fear is only a word and not an institution. Live and let live and fear only your conscience”. I couldn’t agree more with this thought. Fear is not real, it is a product of the thoughts that we create. So, for me fear is always a choice and if we can control our thoughts, we can easily overcome our fears. 

A secret that you have which no one knows about?
I attach a lot of importance to self-awareness and also practice it, because self-awareness is often the first step of setting goals. 

What would one find in your playlist?
Soulful music from the melodies of old Hindi film songs, ghazals and some soft rock. 

Your go-to activity to relax?
I prefer listening to light music and ghazals for de-stressing myself. 

What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
Curiosity has been my best teacher. Learn every day and you can learn from anyone. There is no feeling in the world better than being a wide eyed curious learner. Relationships and culture are important, particularly the organisational culture, because that is very hard to change. 

A social cause that you are most passionate about?
Educating underprivileged children is something which is very close to my heart. In India, there are thousands of such children who are devoid of basic education and I am planning to take it up as a pro bono activity in the days to come. 

What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
In his book ‘Managing Oneself’, noted management author Peter Drucker says, “Do not try to change yourself - you are unlikely to succeed. But work hard to improve the way you perform”. So, instead of changing, I’d rather focus on improving myself. 

If not in your current designation, what would you have been?
I have a domain expertise in financial services and don’t see myself working elsewhere other than in the realm of financial services. 

What are the three apps on your mobile that you couldn’t live without?
WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook are the must-have apps for me. 

Any content/ film or book you saw or read recently and why?
I have just finished reading ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’, written by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck. The book talks about how success in almost every area of human endeavour can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. It was indeed an engrossing read. As far as movies go, I enjoy seeing good, artistic, relevant and meaningful films. ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’ is easily one of the best mainstream films to come in recent times and I liked it a lot. I am also a big fan of the ‘Avengers’ series and recently saw ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. In terms of scale, special effects and grandeur, I must say that only a few films can come near or measure up to this film. 

Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
I have worked at the Commercial Bank of Ceylon in Sri Lanka and Saudi telecom Sapphire in Dubai and have made good friends at both these places, whom I am still in touch with. 

Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
Unlike various other sectors, Insurance is a highly regulated sector. So, sometimes I wish if we could have worked with a little less regulation. 

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
I have worked in countries like Sri Lanka and Dubai and really like both these countries. If given a chance, I would prefer living in Dubai.


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