EXCLUSIVE: A Look at Rajeev Jain & Roshan Abbas’ Presidential Manifestos; who has got it right?

While the two Presidential contenders, who are strong leaders in their respective domains, continue to make their case before EEMA's members, like everyone else EE waits with eagerness to see who the industry will choose on 26th June.


With EEMA leadership set to change this month, we at Everything Experiential have been reporting regularly about the developments and progress taking place and ensuring that our readers stay updated about this big development.

In our journalistic quest to get more insights into the upcoming elections, and to put an end to speculations doing rounds about what is happening behind the fortified walls of the EEMA secretariat, EE has done research to get some exclusive news and members insights about the Presidential manifestos that were recently presented before the EEMA members at the behest of the Election Commission.

Sources have told EE that the two presidential candidates this time--Rajeev Jain, Director Rashi Entertainment and Roshan Abbas, Co-Founder Kommune and MD Encompass,  recently presented their respective manifestos before the electoral college comprising EEMA's Platinum members and both had some unique future plans and perspectives to share.

Rajeev Jain presented a 16-point agenda, with a special focus on the small and medium-sized agencies and the challenges faced by them due to the pandemic; clear focus on women empowerment and youth leadership development.   Roshan Abbas, on the other hand, focussed on building an opportunity to share EEMA's story  with the world and making it more than its perception of a “Live event that happens twice a year.”

Comparisons were clearly visible between the approach and passion of a hard core Entrepreneur focused on the benefits for owners of small and medium-size agencies that are reeling due to the pandemic and the studied stoic posturing by a Chief Executive of a large agency in a multinational agency network. 

EE spent time talking to members and captured the questions being asked in the corridors.

Questions asked are by first-generation entrepreneurs,  post the presentations of manifestos were interesting:

Skin in the Game

Would Rajeev, as owner of Rashi, be more affected by the pandemic compared to Roshan, as MD of Geometry Encompass, since Encompass is now owned by WPP and part of the global network? Skin in the game is very important for EEMA's leadership.

The Big Boys

Would Rajeev continue to enjoy the support of the heavyweight National Advisory Council comprising the owners of the big agencies... Rajeev has a track record of having worked with all of EEMA's presidents: Late Michael Menezes during the founding years, Brian Tellis during the years when the organisation found firm footing, Sabbas Joseph during the years when EEMA's transformation took place and the organisation found wings and more recently Sanjoy Roy over policy networking and change of the organisation's focus.

Roshan Abbas has been a Patron and National Advisory Council member of EEMA since its inception almost 13 years ago and has been a regular keynote speaker and his agency Encompass has been among the leading award winners through the years.

Commitment to EEMA work

Rajeev is known for the huge body of work in EEMA over 12 years, which includes 10 years of work in the National Executive Committee since inception. Some of the work credited to him include several EEMAGINE and EEMAX Awards; the Global Leadership Retreat in Turkey, Single window clearance for events in Delhi, relationships with several tourism boards, the raising of funds and purchase of the EEMA headquarters office in Delhi and the strong finances of the organisation. Roshan shared details of how he had contributed by designing the EEMAX trophy, guiding storytellers at the WeCare launch and the inaugural EEMA convention in Goa.  

Ability to speak and present

Roshan, a renowned anchor-presenter clearly scored high on this front. Stature as a stage personality helps the persona.

Rajeev was humble, passionate and full of energy in his manifesto presentation, breezing through his plans and ideas so that he finished with almost a minute to       spare  and exclaimed "saving 45 secs is also profit" 

Government Engagement and Policy-lobbying: Based in Delhi, Rajeev is ostensibly free of political affiliation and works his equations across BJP, Aam Aadmi party and the Congress; has a proven track record of pushing event-industry decisions in the corridors of power and being pro-govt irrespective of political equations. Roshan is not known to be a friend of the current dispensation at the Centre; evident in his social media messaging.

For most members and industry-watchers this is one of the most important areas since due to the pandemic, pursuing changes in policy and relief measures is key to the survival of the industry. 

Agenda Relevance

Clarity of agenda points and delivery were outlined by Rajeev on Day 1 of the Manifesto presentations, while Roshan outlined similar points the next day along with a marketing acronym PULSE.

Manifesto Presented by Rajeev Jain

In his presentation to the EEMA secretariat, Rajeev Jain laid stress on small & medium-sized agencies, which he called “90% of EEMA's membership”.

He also spoke about providing more opportunities to women and youth leaders.

He provided a major focus on government engagement, lobbying and policy changes and relief needed for the benefit of the industry's agencies, especially due to the impact of COVID-19.

Here are some key highlights of Rajeev Jain's Manifesto:

1) Ensuring external mentorship, leadership coaching and building collaborative ecosystem

2) Giving EEMA voice & visibility in govt and media and ensuring members are more visible : NAC leaders and regional spokespersons

3) Collaborating with industry bodies like FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM, political networks, lobbyists - for policy change and financial relief from Central and State governments.

4) Creating investment fund for smaller agencies 

5) To make the EEMA office a shared work space for members during COVID crisis. As needed to engage more shared work spaces across the key cities to help members reduce costs and increase efficiency.

6) Special cell with legal help for MSME registration, guidance and consultancy, so that members get the maximum benefits of MSME.

7) Clean and transparent governance.

8)Strengthen EEMA initiatives--WeCare, Education, Safety

9) Create EEMA wings for Women and Young Leaders

10) Broaden NAC to include senior members beyond patrons

11) Empower EEMA Ombudsman. Create a strong adjudication and conflict resolution forum.

12) Revise EEMA constitution to be relevant to changing times

13) Forge collaborations with IPs, ecosystem, education institutes and media for engagement and revenue for EEMA

14) Get reduced rates in hotels, airlines, shared office workspaces for members to help reduce operating costs for all members.

Speaking about his vision for EEMA Rajeev jain said, “My vision is oriented to the Benefit of our Members who are Small and Medium size Companies; many of them are challenged by the current pandemic. FAYDA and VIKAAS for all are key reasons for working together with collaboration. Key initiatives will include empowerment of Women and Young Leaders, a special cell to advise members about MSME registration and assistance to obtain the benefits offered under the scheme; the creation and institution of an Investment Fund to help beat the economic slowdown; focus on the Development of the Regions across the country going beyond the key metros.

He also said that the event industry needed focused efforts  in the area of Government Policy - building independent and direct relationships with the Government at the Centre as well as across the key states. 

“Our efforts should go beyond just working with FICCI, CII, ASSOCHAM or similar trade bodies. The various ideas and plans shared by the various contestants for the NEC leadership team were heartening. The vision, ideas and proposed plans were a sure indication of the strength of EEMA's young leaders. I would love to have all of us work together in the trenches to give direction to EEMA's vision and plans for the future. Unity of purpose and Unity in Action are key to the future. I believe in the power of #EEMAONE”, he added.

Manifesto Presented by Roshan Abbas

While presenting his manifesto, Roshan Abbas spoke about the value of knowledge and sharing and about getting back the legitimacy which EEMA enjoyed in the initial years. Abbas who is one of EEMA's patrons and member of the National Advisory Council also spoke about his "long association and selfless contribution" without holding any post at EEMA. Abbas also promised to make EEMA a place which is not a “wrestling match of accusations but a dance of two viewpoints coming together.”

Here are some key highlights of Roshan Abbas’s Manifesto:

1) Helping EEMA get back the legitimacy it enjoyed during earlier years

2) Need for extraordinary measures in these extraordinary times

3) Making EEMA more than just a perception of a Live event that happens twice a year

4) Ensuring dedicated time  to serve EEMA well

5) Transforming EEMA from a “Clubhouse” where all that is flaunted is size of wallet or ego, to a place where aspirations, especially those of youth are addressed

6) Ensuring EEMA gets its “new wings”

7) Prosperity for all

8) Setting up EEMA start-up fund

9) Focusing on East & South regions

10)Building National legal panel to address issues

11)More leadership roles for women and youth

12)Organising Young Leaders Award and Women Only Conference

13)Development of qualitative manpower through special education programmes.

When asked to share his vision for EEMA, Roshan Abbas said, “My manifesto has two pillars. Har baat ek saath, which we need to be democratic in our decision making and accountable every day. The second thing I strongly believe is bring the PULSE back to the event industry. PULSE is an acronym for PROSPERITY for all (this is bigger than profit its about being an industry body. A startup fund for new initiatives, a legal sell, an association with HICSA, CII, FICCI, IMPPA, CINTA, how do we become a SAG like body in India), UNITY in Diversity (of opinions and regions, building our South and East chapters and focussing initiatives on these cities), Next comes LEADERSHIP for Women and Youth (by an Under 35 Awards and a Women only conference), SAMVAAD and SAMBANDH to build dialogue and relationships with people across the govt sector and state govts and bodies and finally EDUCATION: skilling and reskilling of people in our agencies and organizations , accreditation and standardization of services.”

"I am here to help tell the NEW story of EEMA, we need to be architects of our future and not run as a club but an association”, he added.

While the two Presidential contenders, who are strong leaders in their respective domains, continue to make their case before EEMA's members, like everyone else EE waits with eagerness to see who the industry will choose on 26th June. 

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