Toss Up: Imtisal Zafar

Published: November 6, 2018
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CEO and Creative Director of Verve Event Management, Imtisal Zafar rises to the challenge of our rapid-fire round. Find out how his PR journey began, the highlight of his career and the one gadget he can’t live without

How did your PR journey begin?

My PR journey started over a decade ago with Verve when the concept of PR was unheard of in the country. Initially I did PR associated with events and individual clients. It was all about getting mileage and exposure back in the day and the term PR hadn’t really trickled down yet. When the PR industry finally took off I had over a decade worth of network and experience to back it up.

What would you be if you weren’t in the field of PR?

A doctor! Believe it or not if I hadn’t gone into events and PR I was all set to join and graduate from Agha Khan University.

What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you on the job?  How did you handle the situation?

So many! There is a lot of stress in the field of event management and PR. So much so that it is rated as the fifth most stressful job in the world. Operating in Pakistan comes with its fair share of hurdles. In the past we have managed everything from full blown out brawls at an event to nuisance from the police department to chief guests backing out last minute.

What is the most gratifying part of your public relations position?

A happy client! Nothing makes me happier than knowing we have been able to achieve the goals set out by our client.

What is that one project you are extremely proud of?

My career highlight is definitely the PSL Closing Ceremony that we organised in Lahore in 2017.

How has PR changed in Pakistan over the years?

The PR industry is becoming more recognised and distinct from marketing and advertising. Clients are more aware of the need for PR for the success of their brands. However, we still have a long way to go.

What is the worse part of your job?

I suppose nothing ticks me off more than unprofessional behaviour or clients being difficult when it comes to payment schedules.

Which social media applications do you use and think are the most useful for your business?

I use Instagram and Facebook. Instagram I think has become exceptionally pivotal in the PR business these days.

What advice would you give to someone who was just starting out in his or her PR career?

It’s a tough business to get into. Do not come into the business thinking that there’s a lot of money to be made in the beginning. Having a career in PR requires a lot of hard work and patience not forgetting to mention a knack for networking too.

Name one gadget you can’t live without in your work?  Why do you recommend it?

A smart phone; not just work but our entire lives are now wired through our cell phones.

What will finally break the internet?

The first ever disco opening in Pakistan *chuckles*.

What are some things that sound like compliments but are actually insults?

I take compliments as that and try not to think of their possible dubious intent.

What’s something your brain tries to make you do and you have to stop yourself from doing it?

I am a total foodie. A lot of self-directed pep talk goes into the process of me following my routine meals.

What movie can you watch over and over without ever getting tired of?

I am an X-Men buff, so probably Days of Future Past.

How do you unwind after work?

Go to the gym, hang out with friends or family or watch some Netflix.

What social stigma does society need to get over?

Queer shaming.

What are some unusual places you’ve been to?

Some lesser visited countries by Pakistanis that I have been to are Brazil, Cyprus, Vietnam and Croatia.

If someone narrated your life, who would you want to be the narrator?

Morgan Freeman.

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