Meet Nitasha Devasar


MD, Taylor & Francis India

Nitasha is a seasoned academic publisher with over two decades of experience in leading teams and managing content. In her current role she focuses equally on business development and acquiring high quality academic content from India for the global markets. She is part of the Taylor and Francis Group Women Leadership Program and mentors aspiring leaders within the organisation. Previously, as Academic Publishing Director at Oxford University Press India for 12 years she published over 2000 academic books, contributing substantively to scholarship on South Asia. Nitasha is the general secretary of Association of Publishers in India (API), and sits on the board of Indian Reprographic Rights Organisation (IRRO). She has been a publishing consultant with the Government of Sikkim, Population Foundation of India and Ambedkar University in Delhi, where she developed the concept for the first full-time teaching course in publishing. She occasionally writes on her leadership journey in prestigious publishing magazines and for management students.

A. Get to know me

1. Who am I? I am a straightforward person, driven by challenges.

2. What motivates me? I am a people’s person, motivated by people and challenges alike. Results and relationships both drive me.

3. How I came into publishing? It was totally accidental. I stumbled into it and it was love at first sight! The passion has endured and this year I complete 22 years in publishing.

4. My quirks: I enjoy driving in Delhi’s mad traffic! I love home-made food and hand-made stuff. The birthday gift I get from my staff is always hand-made by them.

B. A day in my life

1. How I start my day? 6 am, with a cup of my favourite Darjeeling tea (which I actually get from Nepal).

2. How I like to spend leisure time/hours at home: I love all sorts of art and my most pleasurable leisure time activity is going for art shows and exhibitions, including folk, street, graphic or modern art. A couple of years back I visited Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny near Paris, and saw the water lilies and gardens on which his paintings are based. It was an exhilarating experience and difficult to say what was more beautiful – the painting or the reality!

3. My day ends at: Once my work is done, I grab my bags and head to the gym for a sweaty workout that burns away my stress. Back home, I relish home cooked dinner with my mom and end my day with reading and music. I have a habit of reading more than one thing at a time – dipping into nonfiction, a novel and a business journal, all in one session.

4. My stress buster: I love nature, so the outdoors calm me; also timepass movies with popcorn always do the trick.

C. Life is to Live

1. Favourite sport: Not really sporty, I am (currently!) an avid gymer and also love walking/running in Lodi Gardens.

2. Favourite books: Books are enduring companions and my rozi roti! I love Alice in Wonderland; it is my most favourite go-to book of all times. I read a lot of Pamuk and am now exploring Southeast Asian and Chinese authors.

4. Favourite movies: Chupke Chupke (old)

5. Favourite actors: I think Deepika Padukone is lovely and I watch all her films. George Clooney and Sean Connery are great eye candy, too.

6. Favourite hangout destinations in Delhi: Khan Market, India International Center (IIC) and Lodi Gardens

7. Favourite destinations for holidays: The mountains in autumn and Goa during the rains. Switzerland for family time and Italy any time!

8. Any Bucket list: I want to go to Japan during the Cherry Blossom season (Sakura). I also want to visit Turkey and Morocco. Buy a house in the hills, write a book and, perhaps, fund a start-up…

D. Work is passion

1. Business or political leader who motivates you: Christine Lagarde, managing director, IMF, is a perfect blend of substance and style. Closer home, I like the quite assurance with which Arundhati Bhattacharya has taken on the task of setting a mammoth like the SBI on track and is succeeding.

2. My people Mantra: For everyone to matter, each one has to matter.

3. To be a leader is: a journey of continual learning and every experience shapes me. Being a leader means having the strength to rise to any occasion/situation, to put yourself in another’s position and make a fair decision. The pitfall of leadership is the gap between what you want to communicate and what is understood and interpreted. So, continuous communication is vital for successful leadership.

4. An exciting point in a typical day’s work: Recently we had a flash mob by the editorial staff as part of the internal 10-years celebration of our publishing programme, Routledge India Originals. Not a typical work day activity but great fun!

5. Favourite MD moment: My birthday celebration at the office definitely! The personalised messages, the handmade gifts, the melodious singing and the affection of my staff make it ever so memorable.

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