Another year, another opportunity at Hybrid to celebrate and highlight the importance of female leadership and gender equality across our offices and within the media industry. The pandemic took up most of the headlines over the last year; and several countries where women hold positions of leadership — Finland, New Zealand, and Germany among them — are suggested to have fared better, seeing lower death rates and overall cases. It was a year where the United States elected their first female Vice President, Kamala Harris — the daughter of Indian and Jamaican immigrants. Harris will be the highest ranking female to ever hold office in the history of the country. Scotland took steps to eliminate period poverty, and made women’s sanitary products universally free for all in the country. For the first time, mother’s names will appear on their child’s birth certificate and identification card in Afghanistan. Kuwait passed seminal laws against domestic violence. Both Brazil and Sierra Leone committed to equal pay for both male and female footballers, joining Australia, England, Norway and New Zealand in their public declaration to stop gender-biased salaries in sport.
Progress is being made — and at Hybrid we’ve seen female-driven leadership and growth. We spoke to three women leaders in our global offices in Bristol, Sydney, and KL to share how they are effectively managing global teams, navigating the ever-changing media industry and growing their careers at Hybrid.
Chrisy McFadden, Senior Advertising Manager, Bristol
What does it take to manage a digital team remotely?
We have team catch up video calls every morning where we chat about what we’re working on; dedicated messaging channels to keep in contact whenever anything comes up on the spot; and weekly wider team meetings for the bigger picture topics to help us keep updated and to keep things moving forward.
Working successfully with a remote team really is all about trying to keep as much of the human connection as you would have when you’re sat next to someone in the office – chatting about what someone’s having for lunch, laughing at the ridiculous clock that always chimes during someone’s the zoom call, updates on everyone’s pets. It’s these things that help promote the feeling of being part of the team, which in turn helps us work together more successfully in general.
How do you collaborate across continents, from digital to content and account management teams?
We’ve been working across offices in different continents for years, so communication has always been key.
The beauty of our three office locations is that we have cross over of the working day, from one office to another. Our Sydney teams can collaborate easily with our KL office during their day, who are then able to handover with the Bristol team when they start work in the morning – handing the baton over from one team to the next. This provides a good flow in the way we’re able to operate.
Solid logistics certainly form the basis of our collaborations – platforms like Zoom, Slack, Trello, etc enable us to work as a team and keep in contact in terms of projects we’re working on. But it’s all credit to each member of each team for the success of those collaborations. Clear communication, dedication and a lot of hard work goes into achieving shared goals across teams and across the world.
What advice would you give women starting at Hybrid today?
- Take all the opportunities you can that will help you get to where you want to be.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions – questions get you the knowledge you need in order to upskill and grow, and curiosity can take you far.
- Have faith in your ideas – share them, people genuinely want to hear them.
Emma Schick, Head of Sales at Tech Wire Asia
Congratulations on being made Sales Manager for Tech Wire Asia! How are you adjusting to the new role?
Thank you! Absolutely loving it. Having to pivot away from only managing my own pipeline, goals and activity to ensuring everyone else is scoring has been the biggest learning experience. I’m constantly adjusting my way of thinking, leading by example, sharing what I know in terms of knowledge of sections and continuously learning, taking pointers from Farai and Emma whenever I can, and then bringing what I’m learning to my own team.
How is your work at Hybrid bringing you closer to your career goals?
I’ve always said “Sales Director by 30!” Being given the freedom and opportunity to prove myself as someone who can do the job, and do it well, in a very short period of time, really shows to me that I am valued as an employee. Working with some of the most amazing mentors in the industry, constant training and support throughout my day will ultimately get me to that end goal. Getting this business to grow is ultimately the goal — and the idea that I’m able to grow with Hybrid, that’s the dream.
Do you think sales is a science or an art?
Both! Having the creativity, initiative and drive, just like artists, they are able to start from nothing and create real opportunities. The sales process is also a scientific method, making sure you have the discipline and attention to detail. I am now able to expect and predict certain results based on specific conversion percentages at the different stages of the sales process — being able to turn opportunities into pipeline, and pipeline into money. So, being able to bring art and science together, being creative with angles, taking the initiative to get the right person on the phone and pushing through objections and combining that with scientific strategy, making sure I know all the numbers I need to hit to smash my target, has proven very successful for me and my team.
Jacqueline Raposo, Director of Editorial and Content Strategy, Kuala Lumpur
In your 15 years in the industry, how has it evolved to better support gender equality?
So, so much has changed really when I think about it. When I started working in media I was only one of a few handful of women at my first job, at industry parties, at client meetings. It was very much a boys club and you’d often find yourself self-censoring to not bring added attention to the fact that you were probably the only woman in the room.
I look around the Hybrid office here in Kuala Lumpur, and we have women leading editorial teams, digital teams — we’re not sitting around feeling like the anomalies in the room and trying to fit in, or watch what we say, or whatever. We’re here to support each other, see each other grow and most importantly — work together to make great content happen. Having that support network wasn’t around 15 years ago!
What is the importance of diverse representation in content, and how is this championed on Hybrid platforms?
My buzzword every week — representation. Representation matters. Seeing women leaders matters. Seeing BIPOC innovators and trailblazers featured in our work matters. Across our brands, we champion growth — through education, through technology. We reach millions of people around the world every month, and a lot of them are an audience that has been underrepresented far too long. We make it our mission to tell some of their stories every week — whether it’s an Oxford-alumni female NASA engineer from Nairobi, or a band of Burmese tech-heads revolutionizing the country’s agricultural industry. The world needs to understand that cutting-edge tech innovation happens outside Silicon Valley and academia isn’t the same place it was 30 years ago — it’s changing and the faces bringing that change are from around the world.
After one year at Hybrid, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt about managing a global team?
Hahahaha — communicate! There’s a lot more that goes into it, but in its most basic essence — it’s just that. Make sure you are talking with the people you work with and keep them in the loop, stay on the same page. We are a global team in the truest sense of the word — a sale will happen from our team in Sydney, supported by research and content in KL, and it’s blasted out to the right audience by our team in Bristol, with additional work from here. It’s a virtuous circle of support: Communicating everything down the line, making time to catch up with each team across continents and time zones. Understanding what we’re all working on and how we can support each other is the most important part of what we do. It’s what leads to success, to growth. We don’t work in silos; no team is an island; we’re a unit.