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Bossing It: Meera Muhunthan

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Httpool's managing director on how her mother continues to inspire her, her biggest takeaway from 2020, and how gender balance is changing in Malaysia

Bossing It: Meera Muhunthan

Celebrating her 15th year in the digital media world, Httpool's Meera Muhunthan has worked with diverse and divergent mindsets across publisher and agency partners. With an excellent network of top clients in the industry combined with a full-on 360 career experience across event management, PR launches, press conferences, offline media and anchoring, she has quite the CV.

She was responsible for leading and growing the advertising business and increasing digital revenues for Malaysiakini - Malaysia's first subscription-based premium online news portal. She was also the pioneer member and appointed treasurer of the Malaysia Digital Association (MDA) from 2010-2011.

Q> Tell us about Httpool and your role as the managing director for Malaysia?

Meera> Httpool, an Aleph Holding company, is the largest global partner of major media platforms. We support their growth and drive business results for traditional and native advertisers across over 30 markets in Europe and Asia. In Malaysia, Httpool is the exclusive ad sales partner of Twitter. As managing director for this market, I lead the entity’s overall business and operations, including developing and executing business strategies and managing critical partnerships, among the many other responsibilities the role entails. In this capacity, I’ve also worn many different hats. 

Q> How do you set the tone for your team?

Meer> For me, it's always been about making myself as accessible as possible to my team members, be it work-related or a listening ear, if one just needs a friend to talk to or vent out. I’ve also encouraged a collaborative atmosphere where people feel at ease giving their input on any given topic. It fosters trust within the organisation, which contributes significantly to a culture of success. I don’t micro-manage, and most importantly, my team knows I trust them. Together, they’ve held the fort with me for the last 3.5 years.

Q> Who’s been an inspiring female figure in your life?

Meer> That would be my mother. Even though every curveball life threw her, she never gave up and kept going stronger than ever. Her values have set the bar for what I strive for in life as her bubbliness, positive energy, compassion, and unconditional love radiates in all that she does. She has shown me what it means to be a strong, independent woman who can accomplish all things with integrity and trust, among the two values she emphasises always. I can say these values have rubbed off on me very strongly. 

Q> What advice would you have to give the future women leaders?

Meer> Lead with passion and engage whole-heartedly. Make yourself the role model you would want your daughter to be one day and young girls out there to look up to you.

Q> How would you sum up 2020? What was the biggest takeaway for you?

2020 was a year like no other, one fraught with fear, sadness, and challenges as the life lived during the complete lockdown felt like being caged for eternity. Malaysia was also hit with the worst recession in history - making the country both economically and politically very unstable. Many of us had to reconfigure our lives and indefinitely put many future plans on hold, and honestly, seeing the silver lining had never been more important. My biggest takeaway would be personally, which was to never take your loved ones for granted and be grateful for what we had. A situation like this also forces you to get out of your comfort zone and plan your future better.

Q> How would you say the industry in Malaysia is towards gender balance?

Meer> For a long time now, Malaysia had already taken steps to address sources of gender inequality. In 2015, our government’s primary effort in encouraging gender balance was by mandating that women comprise at least 30% of large corporations’ boards by 2020, making it the only country in Asia with such a directive. This opened up equitable opportunities for women, particularly at the highest levels of an organisation, be it this industry or any other governmental or private organisation. 

Q> Is equality something that you've always strived for?

Meer> Equality is arguably the most misused and overused word! For me, it’s been equity instead of equality as it addresses specific barriers, the similarities as well as the differences. All of us are varied, as are our obstacles, and should be addressed accordingly. Equity takes people’s personal situations and differences into consideration. It seeks to give everyone what they need to be successful, whereas equality strips away the needs, the context, and parts of reality and provides a 'blanket' solution.

Q> When recruiting new team members, what do you look for?

Meer> Someone who has a pro-active and can-do attitude with high integrity levels and the drive and passion for learning that may take them out of their comfort zone. One who may not have all the experience or skills required for a role but with the belief that they can achieve what they’re hired for with the above. We’ve had a couple of such people in our team who’ve met success and continue to grow, making both the team and company very proud of their achievements. I also tend to lean on my gut-feeling!

Meera Muhunthan, managing director, Httpool Malaysia 

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Httpool Digital Private Limited, Fri, 12 Mar 2021 10:19:41 GMT