Initially working to become a doctor, Venkat Ramani changed his direction towards engineering due to family issues. Coming from humble beginnings, raised in a family of five, he was always one to support his family, even as a student, and used to work part-time at different places such as a two-wheeler repair shop, a cycle shop, and even at a coffee shop during the annual and quarterly holidays to offer some sort of support to his home.
“I was never afraid of working anywhere at that time, it’s a child’s life but still, I thought I would like to support my family,” he reminisced on his childhood life.
Fresh out of college with a diploma, it was quite difficult to find a job without connections in such a big city, but he managed to do so with the help of Malai Mandir staff who used to distribute his CV to VIPs who used to attend the crowd and through this, he got his first opportunity to join the company as a technician.
Ramani remembers how he impressed the interviewee during the interview when Mr. Raju Sharma from USL(United Studios Limited), the interviewer and mentor, told him that he has good marks and qualifications for the job but was considered overqualified for the job, so Ramani asked him to give him a chance. This got his foot in the door as Mr. Sharma was impressed with his attitude and decided to give him 3 months’ time to prove his skill at the job.
‘It was a job that started at 6 in the morning, and it was quite hard work, where my seniors never allowed to learn the things but due to Mr. Raju Sharma, he gave me encouragement and he was the one teaching us and he was the first guru for us,” Ramani talks about his mentor at his first job who gave him and his colleagues a lot of chances and taught them how to stand on their own feet.
When Ramani gained enough experience having handled stressful situations, such as handling multi-camera setups individually, he got the chance to make a shift in his career. It was in March 2000, when he was offered a job as an engineer at CNBC-TV18 by Mr. Piyush Gupta, who would go on to be his second mentor.
After 7 years at his second organization, he made a shift to Kalaignar TV, thinking about his stint there, he says, “It was a very challenging job because the channel belongs to the Tamil Nadu CM. And Mr. Sharad, who was the CEO and taking care of the operations, had given a free hand in each and everything,”
He remembers when they had the tough job of building a TV station in 45 days, ordering and receiving the materials, and performing the system integration, which they used to perform on their own, and this is something that he and his team took pride in as they managed to complete the task and get the channel live in 65 days.
“I started as a senior manager in the Kalaignar TV, where I showed my skills and potentials, I proved myself to the management and they thought, this is a thing to reward it up, and offered me the position of Vice President – Technical, within 3-4 months, they promoted me to the VP position,”
In 2009, he decided he had his fair share of experience in the TV channel space and decided to make a move to the system integration side of things and moved to Benchmark Broadcast Systems, and one of his projects involved moving from Standard Definition to High-Definition TVs for AstroArena.
“So, AstroArena is a sports channel, which was the first project for me, and it’s been a 5-year journey over there where we have done a lot of International TV Projects, ” Ramani recalls on his experience in a different turf.
A family man still, he decided to quit his 5-year and move to his current organization, News7 Tamil, which allowed him to focus on his children, and it had proven to be quite successful in the TV channel industry in the past. “Again, it was a very big challenge, News7 Tamil which is a part of Alliance Broadcasting Pvt Ltd, is a very big network, thanks to our directors,” Ramani says.
Having covered a long journey, he still reminisces about his childhood and family, especially his father, who himself had faced a lot of hardships in his life. He admits that despite, him and his siblings, not being bright students, reached an age of maturity after completing their plus 2.
“Once, when we finished our 12th, each and every one of the youngsters used to understand only after finishing their +2 only, how their family used to struggle, maybe a maturity age, after 18+ only,” He adds, “Okay now, this is the time, let’s keep our focus on our studies and try to do something,”. He managed to do just that by attaining the 3rd position in his college.
Having managed to keep that focus to date, he gives the example of his own career, where he joined most of the organizations as a Senior Manager and was able to climb the ladder to a much higher position, more suited to his caliber.
“According to me, I thought, whatever I learned is inside my hands, this is what I learned. The world is very big, I need to learn a lot, I’m still a kid, eagerly waiting for every opportunity to learn new skills. It’s been 24 years+, that’s a different scenario but still, I feel I have learned this much only, there’s a lot of things that are to be learned in life,” Ramani says, talking about his biggest achievement, which is never-ending need to learn.
While speaking about learning, he heartily mentioned his gurus throughout his career that involved Gurumeet Singh, who mentored him during his stint at CNBC-TV18. Shyam Selvi, who came after Raju Sharma, and Mr. Donagh Sequeira, who went to great lengths to teach Mr. Ramani.
Despite working in the industry for more than two decades, he has not lost his flair & energy and still manages to ride his bicycle to work, which makes for a 26km one side journey. Even when he takes the metro to work, he makes sure to walk at least 2km to the office, which he says is quite helpful in busting his stress.
While fitness is his passion, he still maintains his priority to be his family, which consists of his wife and two children. Talking about his partner, he adds, “The best part is your life partner, she always used to encourage me on each and every occasion. A 15-minute stay with her is enough to bust my stress,” Ramani said.
Read More:“Hard Work Always Wins”: Venkat Ramani – ET CIO