A Day With… Janice Goveas

We’re going behind the scenes with communications professionals across the APAC region, learning more about their diverse roles, what they love most about their jobs, and how they got there in the first place. In the fifth part of the series, we sat down with Janice Goveas – Head of Corporate Communications at Merck India.

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Briefly describe a ‘day in the life’ of you as a communications professional What’s the best part of your job? 
As a Communications Professional at Merck India, my day is never the same. Each day brings new challenges and opportunities, from organising physical events for employees to planning calls and social media campaigns with my team and agencies. But, no matter what the day brings, I always start it with a clear mind and focused intentions.
In the morning, I take a half-hour break from technology and focus on making breakfast and getting into the right headspace. This time is dedicated to planning my day, breathing deeply, and collecting my thoughts. I have a tried and true method to keep me organized and on track. I create a daily to-do list with pen and paper, a habit I picked up from my first boss. It may be old-school, but physically writing things down and striking them off as I complete them keeps me focused and motivated. I typically start my workday at 8:30am and aim to finish by 4:30pm so that I can spend quality time with my son, who I homeschool, and indulge in my other passion – writing. Whether it’s writing for work or personal fulfillment, writing is essential to my role as a Communications Professional. Without it, I fear that I would lose touch with the core of my job. The best part of my job is finding and telling stories. I love connecting with my stakeholders, learning about their work, and discovering the gems of stories that they have to share. Seeing the joy in their voices when they tell their story drives me to bring those stories to life and share them with the world. 
How did you enter the communications industry? (i.e. university study, internships, worked your way into communications, another route?)
I’ve come a long way from my MBA days when PR was just a chapter in a marketing book. I had the privilege of working with some of the best in the industry, including Roger Pereria and Edelman, as well as in-house teams at the Tata Group and Tata Communications. My journey in this field was unexpected, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have shaped me into the professional I am today. Working in the field during the recession and the Kargil War taught me the importance of staying calm under pressure and finding creative solutions to communicate effectively during challenging times. I’ve honed my skills through on-the-job learning and am passionate about uncovering and telling stories that connect with people. 
What’s the best piece of communications advice you’ve been given?
I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing leaders and mentors throughout my career. These leaders have not only imparted their knowledge and expertise, but they have also shared valuable life lessons that have stayed with me. The first piece of advice, “Always find a way,” has been a driving force in my approach to problem-solving. It has taught me to be resourceful and creative and never give up when challenged. The second piece of advice, “Always ask three questions about who is speaking to you,” has been a game-changer in my approach to communication. It has taught me to slow down, listen attentively, and constantly re-evaluate my plans to ensure that I’m always in tune with the needs of my audience. These two pieces of advice have helped me professionally and shaped how I approach life. 
What’s your superpower as a communications professional? 
It’s crucial for me to have a clear understanding of the impact my work is going to make. I have a unique ability to visualise the outcome and impact of my communications plan, and this helps me work backward to achieve my desired results. Whether through internal communications, external communications, or media relations, I always strive to create a clear and meaningful impact for my stakeholders. 
Looking ahead, what are the three most critical skills comms professionals should develop to meet tomorrow’s business needs?
I always strive to keep up with the latest trends and technologies in the industry, but never at the cost of losing touch with the human aspect of our work. Content is and will always be king, and while AI may help us to write faster and more efficiently, there’s no substitute for the creativity and intuition that comes from being human. That being said, digital skills are crucial for communication professionals today. With everyone becoming a publisher and having a presence online, it’s essential to stay connected and be well-versed in digital tools and platforms to reach your audience effectively. However, I never forget that there are real people with their emotions, thoughts, and needs behind every device. That’s why it’s crucial not just to use digital tools to drive communications but also to make an effort to connect with people face-to-face, to understand them better, and to elevate our communications to a more personal and meaningful level.