Anila Chowdhry

02-04-2019

Summarise your business or job-role:

I am a Presenter and Producer, passionate about creating a platform for people, stories, issues and the underrepresented to ultimately raise consciousnesses around the world. I have worked for the world’s leading media companies including the BBC, ITV News, The Telegraph, ITN and Zee TV, across TV, radio and online, breaking major new stories like Brexit, the General Election, Grenfell and the Westminster terror attack. I have also hosted live debates on the topic of the day and interviewed many inspirationaland influential people including MPs, experts, celebrities and real people. Through my work, I aim to create a well-informed electorate, promote gender equality, and further the development of humanity.

How and why did you get started in your chosen career/profession:

When I was 15 and applying for my Year 10 work experience placement, I strove for a place at my local radio station. Everyone else applied for sales roles in retail departments, which was fine, but I had always wanted to overcome barriers and boundaries, challenge myself and find and open doors that were not necessarily available to me, to stand out and be different, and, coming from a state school with no connections, I had to think outside the box quite literally. After constantly calling the Producer, I knocked down the door and paved a way. After, I joined a journalism summer school with Headliners, which is a charity that gives young people a voice by using journalism and media as a tool for learning, exploring issues and campaigning.

They quickly identified my talents both on and off screen and put me at the forefront of their work. I interviewed MPs such as Sir Charles Kennedy in Parliament and toured the country interviewing decision-makers like the Deputy Children’s Commissioner on the issues of the day. I realised how much I loved being able to question leaders and change-makers about current issues; to seekand learn the truth by asking them the questions people wanted answers to;and act as a mediator connecting them with people at home; effectively to enhance our democracy, and distribute information to create a conscious world.

Have you been faced with particular challenges where you felt you couldn’t carry on? Please give details.

Connections and rejections are barriers I have overcome. As the first member of my family and friendship group to enter a career in media, I began with zero connections. This meant I had to find my own path. So I conducted work experience in every field of journalism, such as LBC, BBC Science and Red Magazine, to find what I love. I attended networking events alone, built a trusted network and made a place for myself in the media industry. And I coped with job application rejections by creating my own platform.

I launched a YouTube Channel over 10 years ago before it became fashionable, where I created short documentaries on current issues and interviewed influential people like Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow. I was brimming with ideas, so I started a production process literally from my bedroom. I researched topics extensively, set-up filming locations, interviewed, edited, and published my content on social media. I did all of this using my camera-phone, as I had no access to resources! I never let anything or anyone hold me back from doing what I love.

What has been your proudest and most successful moment to date? (Aside from family)

There are so many, and I am so grateful for every moment of my journey. I loved hosting my own live show on Zee TV where I interviewed inspirational people and community leaders, and connected them with viewers at home through our phone-in. I used the platform as an opportunity to discuss topics considered taboo like domestic violence and homosexuality; to incite debate on humanitarian issues like the migrant crisis and homelessness; and provide political insight by reporting on the General Election as the Channel’s first in-house reporter.

I can name other surreal moments like taking over from my idol Nihal Arthanayak on the BBC Asian Network’s prime-time phone-in show, hosting a debate on the big issues of the day. At ITV News, I had two three-part series’ commissioned on the ageing population and on mental health, and managed to ensure ITV was the first to announce the count in Newcastle during the General Election.

I have to say, being the voice of The Telegraph on Amazon’s Alexa, podcast and Spotify is cool, as it revolutionizes a traditional news outlet and democratizes information through technology. And of course, winning Lady Karren Brady’s SFL competition is a career highlight because I have followed her journey for years. It is an amazing feeling to receive recognition from one of your inspirations.

If you could offer one single piece of advice to anyone who wanted to start their own business/ start the same career what would it be?

The 4 P’s – Purpose, Proactive, Passion, Persistence. Find your purpose. Be proactive in fulfilling your purpose. Do everything with passion. And remain persistent at all times because nothing is unachievable.

www.anilachowdhry.com

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