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My Biggest Lesson: Crystal Malachias

Talent Agency
London, UK
ITB Worldwide’s global growth and development director shares her biggest lesson and how it has turned her into an advocate for change, staying agile and continuously adapting in an ever-evolving industry

As global growth & development director, Crystal is a conduit between brands and talent, growing new business by advising and helping advertisers to harness the power of talent, influence and culture through creatively led campaigns. She has more than 17 years of global commercial experience within digital publishing, global sales and integrated marketing, and extensive knowledge of content and brand partnerships.

In the modern world, change is inevitable, so we all must learn to embrace it in order to thrive. As humans, we’re naturally drawn towards consistency and often struggle to cope when things don’t go as planned. But as someone who’s moved countries for work twice and been through quite a few restructures during my career, I’ve taught myself not to fear change, but to go with it, or feel the fear and do it anyway. As long as you’re open minded and brave, change will bring positive outcomes too, especially in a rapidly evolving industry like ours. 

This was a lesson I learnt whilst working as a business manager in publishing in Australia. I had been at a globally renowned publishing house for a year, and having been working in the broader industry for around six years at that point, had already been through two restructures and a recession. But there I was, in a different country, on a working visa, so when this particular restructure came about, naturally I was a little nervous. 

But our leader at the time, Nicki Singh - now chief revenue officer at AllBright – really took the time to sit with every member of the team, from most senior to most junior, and explain why change was so important to our business, the benefits it could bring and tools by which to tackle it. Her people-first, personal approach meant I felt secure, supported and understood the journey we were embarking on and how to mentally deal with it.

I have never forgotten that Nicki bought everyone a copy of ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ by Dr Spencer Johnson. The story centres on four characters who discover the risks and rewards of resisting and adapting to change. The whole thing sounds very cheesy in itself, but when I think about it now, there really was something in it. It shared some key lessons in how to deal with change in your work and life and not to fear what is around the corner because it could be life changing – for the better. Being in an industry today where change is a constant, it’s an important skill to be able to cope with and embrace that change. 

When I thought back to the previous restructures I’d been through, no one had taken that time to sit down one-on-one, listen and give support – especially not from the top – and that approach has really stuck with me and informed my own management style. The whole experience has grown into an increasingly meaningful career moment as I’ve gotten older and experienced so much more, but I've been able to keep optimistic and adaptable throughout periods of change and uncertainty.

The past few years in particular, have been such a period of transformation for every business, so talking to the team about my personal experience at a younger age has (hopefully) helped others to understand the benefits of change and learn to embrace it too. Everyone craves security and stability but it’s our role as leaders to try and make our teams feel as supported as possible and teach valuable skills in how to adapt, stay agile and be positive when navigating periods of change. 

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