Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, Chairman of Adcomm Ltd., one of the leading advertising & communication companies in Bangladesh, is the perfect example of an Iron Lady. Ex-advisor, Caretaker Government of Bangladesh, Ms. Choudhury shared her diversified life experience at the recently held Bangladesh YouthFest Gala Round. Following are the excerpts from her insightful session.
She shed light on how being a woman back in her days brought with it a plethora of new challenges. She portrayed her whole journey of life from her early years to rising to the peak of her career as a series of anecdotes, leaving the audience present spellbound. Brought up under strict discipline she was always told that there is absolutely no difference between her and any boy, she told the crowd. She obtained her Honors and Master’s degrees in English Literature from Dhaka University. She spent her student life writing for different newspapers printed from Kolkata, Karachi and Dhaka. She spent four years working in The Pakistan Observer (now The Bangladesh Observer) and two years working in “She Magazine” in Karachi as Senior Editor. Ms. Choudhury entered the world of advertising in 1972 and spent two years working in one of the leading advertising agencies of that time, Interspan, in Dhaka. After leaving this agency, she was told and inspired by multiple people, some of who were clients of Interspan, to open up her own advertising agency. But she lacked the capital to do so.
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After contacting 6 banks for the initial capital, she finally acquired Tk. 50,000 bank loan from the 7th bank she approached. Finally, in the year 1974, she took a gallant step and established her own advertising agency Adcomm with only 6 people. She was approached by UNICEF, which offered her a job with Tk. 100,000 as remuneration, a car and free education for her children anywhere in the world. But she turned down that offer for the sake of her own agency which she firmly believed could serve her own nation, Bangladesh. With great determination and effort she built up her agency to become one of the leading advertising agencies of the country. To quote her, “Advertising was a past time for me, then it became my profession and now it is my passion.”
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The role of youth is of utmost importance in today’s time, Ms. Choudhury states. Youth today needs to realize that even at this young age they have the power to execute the change they are looking for. Young participation is important because youth are the country’s power. It is the youth who can recognize problems, look for solutions and actually implement them at both an individual as well as global level. She concluded her speech by citing Dan Rockwell’s famous quote ‘The strength of youth is passion. Never quench it; always fuel it. Yes it’s dangerous. But it sure beats lethargy and safety.’
by Fabiha Naz Kabir
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