Written by Stuart Foxman

Keka DasGupta has been in marketing and public relations for 23 years. The Toronto strategist knows what it takes to connect people to brands. Now she has turned to selling something fundamental to our well-being: how we connect with ourselves and each other.

She calls the platform she founded The Art of Life-ing (artoflifeing.com). Through it, she runs workshops for corporate audiences about building a happy culture, and for schools (grades 4-12) on anti-bullying.

For all audiences, DasGupta spreads a message about positivity and gratitude. How can people succeed and be happy? “By creating empathy, kindness and compassion,” says DasGupta.

Getting there has been a journey. She worked at Ikea for seven years, then in-house for DDB Public Relations until 2006. DasGupta has done consulting work for the firm ever since. She also started two other companies. Enkompass Consulting focuses on learning and development, and Precision Marketing Group on creative campaigns. DasGupta is also an instructor at the Schulich Executive Education Centre, part of York University’s Schulich School of Business.

A few years ago, DasGupta started to think about the mark she wants to leave. “I did some soul searching,” she says.

She realized that she had a passion for changing cultures. When talking to companies for The Art of Life-ing, she notes that workplaces where people are happy and show gratitude tend to be more productive. People are more loyal, and take smarter risks. DasGupta calls happiness a performance metric.

For her work with schools, she uses storytelling and exercises to highlight the need to proactively change the social climate. The best way to avoid bullying is to quash a bullying culture before issues have a chance to escalate.

To help her take The Art of Life-ing to another level, DasGupta has worked with Jennifer Love of One More Woman. That’s an educational, training and consulting platform for female business owners.

DasGupta says that Love has helped her in several ways. “She not only gives you practical and strategic support on how to grow your business, she also does so much work around the mindset of entrepreneurs. Are you mentally primed to do your best?”

She says one of biggest lessons that Love taught is that you can’t do best for others when you don’t give your best to yourself. Some women tend to put themselves last and be their own worst critics, says DasGupta. That can be tough when you’re trying to convey confidence in, for instance, a funding meeting.

The advice from One More Woman dovetails with DasGupta’s own belief in positivity. “Jennifer told me to treat myself the way I’d treat my best friend,” she says. “When you value yourself, you give your power as your gift in business.”

 Photo credit: Zlatko CetinicImages Made Real