A talented Kathak performer, meet Avantika Bahuguna Kukreti. With her full-time job in a leadership role at Momspresso (Head, Brand Alliances), this super mom managed to build her social media profile to influencer status, become a certified Zumba trainer who takes online classes, and even start her own community page, Fit Moms Tribe India, simultaneously!
The successful media professional found her zeal for fitness when she was looking to shed the post-pregnancy weight. This new-found energy and boost in personal health helped her channel her focus to take on multiple projects at once, making time to drive each and every one of them to fruition. She shares her tips for women who are juggling kids, family and aspirations to make it big, whether it’s about climbing the corporate ladder or taking the leap into entrepreneurship.
1. What’s your educational and professional background?
I come from Dehradun, a city known for its scenic locals and educational institutions. A media professional for 15 years, I started as a journalist and have worked with top media brands of India including The India Today Group, Mid-Day Mumbai, The Hindustan Times and Zee Digital. In 2014 after being blessed with a little girl, I started sharing my own motherhood experiences with the online community that were quite well-received. I went on to Head-Content and Strategy for one of Asia’s leading parenting platforms, The AsianParent and now Head-Brand Alliances & Partnerships for Momspresso, India’s largest platform for moms and women.
I have also worked as a Key Opinion Leader and mom influencer with many leading brands such as Huggies, Baby Dove, Eureka Forbes, Singapore Tourism Board and Asian Paints.
Besides this, I also got this amazing opportunity to co-host a digital parenting show Nine Months for Network 18 with a prominent journalist, author and an incredible woman, Meghna Pant. Have also been honoured to speak at, host and moderate 100 plus mom community events, social media live interactions and digital videos.
2. What prompted you to become a certified Zumba trainer?
Fitness is my passion more than anything else. After becoming a mom, losing weight and getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight was a challenge. I hated routine exercises such as jogging or walking. I have been a dancer since childhood and that’s how I thought of giving Zumba a try and was hooked to it from the beginning. I lost 20 kilos in a year and was fitter and healthier than ever before, and the reason for it was that Zumba made me happy and I decided to do the instructor course. And, it has been an amazing experience! I recently conducted the Zumba warm-up session for the Indian Army Infantry Marathon in Indore for 5,000 runners. My message to everyone who is looking to get fit is, you would only see results when you choose a workout that makes you happy and not what’s trending or the flavour of the season.
3. What’s it like being in a leadership role at Momspresso? Any advice for women who are climbing the corporate ladder?
It has been an amazing learning experience to see how the power of community can impact lives and help brands reach their consumers in a never-seen-before way. We have been happy to help moms across the country directly work with some of the best-known brands of the country through our powerful micro-influencer platform My Money, through which they not only earn their own money but also get visibility on social media, and of course Momspresso.
Honestly, the first thing is to believe that there’s nothing that a woman can’t do and then to work towards it by not letting anything come in your way, whether it’s mom-guilt, frustration or challenges of any kind. Always remind yourself that you have the power to bring a new life in this world. Tell me, what else can be more powerful and challenging than that!
If you are a working mother, learn to fight for yourself, speak up for yourself and fight for your rights as an employee because around the world (and in India), there are many companies who have special policies for working moms. I have been lucky to be working with an organisation like Momspresso that enables me as a working mom and helps me manage my personal and professional life with equal dedication.
4. How do you continue to manage a full-time job, build your own personal profile, and start a community page with Fit Moms Tribe India simultaneously?
You left the being a full-time mother bit. Honestly, this is a question that I am asked a zillion times. I believe that if there’s a will to do something, you will always make time for it. I don’t know how I manage it all but what I do know is that I truly, madly, deeply want to do it.
5. How did you manage to make yourself into a brand with over 13k followers on Instagram?
In my experience, I’ve seen that people try hundreds of tricks and tips to create a follower base for themselves and in the process, they forget to use their own USP. Yes, what works on Instagram is your real, raw self, your charisma that does not need SEO-ed captions and thirty hashtags. My Instagram page is all me and nothing else, and I guess that’s what has clicked and made me relatable where followers are able to connect with me on a personal, professional, or emotional level.
6. What are your tips for someone looking to become influential and acquire an engaged following on social media?
Know your USP and use that as a tool to gain engagement and followers. Follow people who’re big in your category and engage with them. A lot of it is about give and take. Don’t just post for the heck of it. It’s okay if you do only 2 posts a week, but only the right ones should be there. That said, keep a minimum number of posts in a week. Keep a good mix of video and static posts. Besides that, use stories and reels as well, to engage your audience. And if you’re working with too many brands, make sure you space them out!
7. Which networking groups or events have helped you widen your network and generate collaboration opportunities?
Momspresso, blogger/influencer FB groups, and my own network of digital marketing professionals.
8. Are there any online/offline courses you recommend for growth and career enhancement?
This totally depends on what you want to pursue and your interests, but yes, there are a number of courses available online through Udemy and other platforms. Nowadays big institutions such as Harvard and Wharton have also started online courses so honestly, the sky’s the limit when it comes to online learning. Besides that, keep abreast with the latest happenings in your category. Read and follow people who you find inspiring. Turn to them when you need a little motivation from time to time.
9. What are some tips you can share with working moms about fulfilling career and entrepreneurial aspirations?
- Don’t compromise at any cost
- It looks difficult, but it is manageable
- Keep learning even on a sabbatical. Talk to your colleagues, friends and industry leaders.
- Talk to other working moms and seek help. They are in the same boat as you.
- Don’t let the world make you feel guilty of anything. You can call it frustrating, irritating and upsetting to be unable to meet all your mom duties, but not guilt. You’re not committing a crime to be pursuing your career and fulfilling your dreams.
- Always help other working moms in distress. Show up for them, help them, support them. What goes around, comes around.
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