Avanne Dubash© Avanne Dubash

Avanne Dubash On Her Journey, Striking Work-Life Balance And More

HELLO India Logo

We’ve heard of the adage ‘Empowered women empower women’ several times over the years. During a special panel discussion hosted by HELLO! in collaboration with designer Neeta Lulla recently, we had a chance to see this proverb come to life.

The panel featured some remarkable women like Vinti Lodha, Naiyya Saggi, Devita Saraf, Avantikka Kilachand Raju, Shouger Merchant Doshi and Anshuka Parwani, who opened up about the various challenges that women still face in their quest to have it all, whether it’s striking the perfect work-life balance or projecting a confident persona. And who better to speak on these issues than the moderator for the panel, Avanne Dubash?

Avanne Dubash©Avanne Dubash

Avanne Dubash has over 15 years of experience working under the Times Group -India’s biggest media conglomerate as a prime time news anchor. She has now moved to a Consultant Role, emceeing events and moderating panel discussions for various corporates in the business and lifestyle space along with content writing. She currently hosts the show ‘The Market‘, where she interviews India’s top market and corporate voices and ‘Startup Central’, where she engages with veterans from the private equity and venture capital space, along with the country’s leading entrepreneurs.

We had a chance to chat with Avanne and get her to open up about her remarkable journey, the skills she’s picked up over the years as an emcee extraordinaire, balancing work, being a mother, and so much more. Here’s an excerpt from our conversation…

In conversation with Avanne Dubash

HELLO!: Tell us a little about your journey and how you decided to take this path as a career.

Avanne Dubash: “Growing up, I was a very shy child, slightly introverted, if you will. So much so that I hid under my mother’s skirt at birthday parties! 12 years at J.B. Petit High School were full of wonderful memories and lifelong friendships. I was still in school when my mom enrolled me in the Trinity College of London’s Speech and Drama class and that’s what made me blossom. I turned a new leaf, enjoying being in the limelight and developed a passion for elocution. While studying in college, I got a chance to participate in the Seventeen Cover girl contest and won! And there began my brief stint of modelling—while I completed my Bachelor’s in Mass Media from Jai Hind College. I was always inclined to media and soon – after some hands-on experience at a small production house- I joined ET NOW as a junior assistant producer. All this time, I was still lured by the thought of anchoring and so, I underwent extensive training and also learnt about capital markets on the job. Ultimately, my tryst with anchoring was a stroke of luck! The anchor who was meant to host the morning show missed her alarm and so, I was put in the hot seat and there’s been no looking back. I love the buzz of a newsroom, meeting the sharpest minds in the country and of course, being in front of the camera as a prime-time market anchor.”

Avanne Dubash©Avanne Dubash

H!: What have been some of the biggest milestones in your journey?

AD: “The wonderful thing about doing what I do is that I get to meet and interview some of the brightest minds across the spectrum of markets, India Inc. and the start-up ecosystem. Over the years, I have had the privilege of hosting live market shows, investor camps and even award shows like the India Economic Conclave and Global Business Summit, with the Prime Minister in attendance! These have been some major highlights.”

H!: What motivates you and keeps you going even after setbacks?

AD: “While I have been fortunate to have had a great journey at work, it’s not always been easy. The most nerve wrecking part of live television is that its- live! There have been multiple times when you’re hosting prime-time shows and there’s a shuffle or change and you find yourself doing another show altogether. Or, you’re promised interviews and the guests back out at the last minute. I think it boils down to sheer passion for what you do. I still wanted to be in front of the camera, so I kept at it.”

H!: Is there a trick you employ to appear more confident on stage than you feel on the inside?

AD: For me the stage is where I thrive, but it took some time to get there. I’m putting out a lot of content on building communication skills and doing a few workshops on this. But if I had to nail it down to some advice- here’s what I’ll share- for anyone who wants to try their hand at anchoring or hosting and build their confidence --practice, practice, practice! The more you do it the better you get at it. I look back at older videos of me anchoring and I can tell I was more nervous, but with time and experience I got stronger and better. Being prepared with your material helps -so you’re never caught off guard and finally-- take three deep breaths before you start to calm your nerves and try and imagine you’re at home in front of the mirror, so it’s less unnerving!

Avanne Dubash©Avanne Dubash

H!: What is the best and the worst (or most unforgiving) part about what you do?

AD: “I think the best would be the passion for what I do. I’m so grateful to have found a job that I love; it’s not very often that people get to combine a passion of theirs with what they do for a living. Now that I’ve evolved to a consultant role, which took a long time, I have the pleasure of hosting a plethora of events from finance to lifestyle and from technology to beauty. It’s such a thrill! My least favourite part and it are honestly not all too bad, but I’m not a fan of caking my face in heaps of make-up ever so often- I breakout like a 12 year old going through puberty and so I can’t wait to wipe my face clean at the first opportunity I get! So hair and make-up for long hours is an occupational hazard for me.”

H!: Can you share some important lessons that you’ve learned on the job over the years?

AD: “From a very young age my parents instilled in me the value of hard work. They taught me that if you put your head down and give it your all -you will get what you deserve. Later in life when I met my husband he taught me to never be afraid of asking for what you deserve. This is so important because I feel as women, we tend to always accept what we are given and never question it- so recognise your worth and what you bring to the table. I’d say both these traits have been vital in allowing me to thrive in my field.

H!: In today’s age of hustle culture, what are some steps that you take to strike the right work-life balance?

AD: “The concept of balance should not have a negative connotation. You do you! Try your best to do what makes you happy. Undoubtedly, a great support system is critical. Carve time out for yourself to do things you enjoy—could be yoga, painting, a sport or even binge-watching something on Netflix. But it’s essential to keep yourself going! And don’t get bogged down by this ‘perfect, filtered Instagram version’ you see as you scroll through your phone- that’s not reality – its everyone’s ‘best version’ of themselves. Try and use social media constructively.”

Avanne Dubash©Avanne Dubash

H!: What are some things you do to unwind after a long day?

AD: “Much of the above! Working out, pickle ball, yoga, book clubs, binge-watching trash reality TV and reading (always before bed, no matter the time). Also, spending time with my little one is such a stress buster!”

H!: What are you excited about for the future at the moment?

AD: “ I’m excited to work on some great projects with new people, expand my horizons (finally) and travel this year!”