Samra Muslim has around 20 years of experience in public relations, marketing, and communications, social media, event management, and brand activation in a diverse range of industries. Samra has been associated with Etihad Airways, Starwood Hotels & Resort, and Zindagi Trust in the past and is currently spearheading, Walnut and Alchemists, a PR and Talent management Agency respectively, both of which have become forces to reckon with in a very short time.
We met with Samra and witnessed her super busy schedule, constantly answering calls and managing everything, she was still completely calm and in control of the situation.
Describe yourself in three words
Samra: Crazy, Passionate, and Chaotic
Something you wish you knew 5 years ago
Samra: I wish I could know things before times, the current pandemic is something I would have liked to know about in advance
What’s your favorite thing about yourself
Samra: I would like to think, that I don’t think like others, it’s my thoughts & perspective to things that differentiate me from the rest and have made me who I am today – along with my passion for whatever is driving me.
How you ended up in PR and what is your take on the future of this industry
Samra: To be honest my first job in Karachi Sheraton was in PR – but running a business was not a pre-planned thing – I would actually say ‘Walnut happened’
Maheen Khan (the designer) actually nudged me to start a company, because she wanted someone to take care of Gulabo’s PR – and I just did it on her nudge. That small start at the right time was all I needed, Walnut was born and it was at the time that digital PR (with bloggers and blogs) had just started coming into the landscape, something that became a part of our DNA from day 1 as a company, the rest is history.
There is still a lot to be explored in Digital PR. Content is definitely the king and anyone who is offering original relatable content will be ruling the next era.
I see entertainment and PR being the front runners. Organizations in PR who not just adapt Digital but will treat it as a part of their DNA will only survive.
The biggest hurdle you had to face in your professional journey as an entrepreneur
Samra: Frankly there were not any big huddles. Obviously, HR-related issues, cash flow management, and administration issues come and go. But I wouldn’t say there were any major speed breakers in my journey as yet.
Which person has influenced you most in life
Samra: Maheen Khan has been the reason behind me getting into the business, as I already mentioned. She has always believed in me and her encouragement has meant a lot to me always. Hareem Farooq made me get into celebrity PR and management – and that was the start for Alchemists and working with her was been amazing. These women I will be eternally grateful for seeing something in me that I didn’t know I had.
How do you wind down when you’re not working
Samra: Working is pretty much how I wind down actually. My mind is constantly thinking of nutty ideas which are quite fun.
What does being an effective boss woman mean to you
Samra: Being flexible as an employer is very important. You need to be task-oriented instead of time-oriented in this day and age. A good boss is constantly in touch with her people yet knows when and how to delegate (which I am still learning)
What do you think is one of the hardest things women face today, whether in the workplace or in what measures we need to take to make it easier for women to find comfort at work
Samra: Corporate sector still is a boys club. One needs to challenge the status quo to settle in. it’s still new for most people to see a woman being in-charge hence on some level a woman has to work harder to be recognized.
What is your message for all the potential boss women out there?
Samra: Be comfortable in your skin and carve your way on your own terms. And have fun!