Behind the Blue Walls recently interviewed Effa Emilia one of IQPC’s Regional Marketing Directors. Effa has been with our business for over 9 years and we wanted to ask her to share her advice, her journey and her tips for others considering or starting out in a marketing role.
What has been your journey through the business Effa – where did you begin?
My journey with the business began 9 years ago as a Marketing Manager at our Singapore office. I was new to the conference industry then and excited to be part of it. My background was in academia – 4 years, and I dabbled in sales and account management roles for a couple of years after that.
In 2006, I was the Marketing Director for the Singapore office and in 2007 I took on the Global Marketing Trainer role. It was a new role and one of the most exciting experiences in my career. I was able to influence what the role would look like and I got the chance to meet with the marketing teams in Berlin, New York, Sydney, (Sweden and Madrid when we had offices there) in both training and management capacity.
In 2008, I moved to the UK to run the marketing team in London. Words cannot describe the experience of my first 12 months. It was a whirlwind of experiences, emotions, lessons and challenges; terrifying initially, then exhilarating and it’s still been amazing! I am currently Regional Marketing Director for our amazing marketing teams in the region.
Life at IQPC is like a roller‐coaster ride – it’s been fun, terrifying at times, fast paced, always exhilarating, suspenseful and AMAZING!
What was one of the most important lessons you learned during your early days with IQPC?
It does sound cliché; but I did learn very quickly that collaboration and teamwork are the basic ingredients of success in our business. It doesn’t matter how good you think you are. You’re only as successful as the last team you work with; be it project team or management team.
What is it like having moved up the ranks?
I truly appreciate all the opportunities and experiences I have had over the past 9 years at IQPC. I feel very blessed to have been part of so many amazing teams and to have learned from such a great and inspired group of individuals.
What different offices have you worked in?
I was in the Singapore office for 4 years and in London for 5 years now. The limited time I spent in New York, Sydney, Germany was also precious!
What advice do you have for someone considering an international transfer?
It will vary from one individual to another. If you’re young (read: recent grad or a couple of years out of university) – live on the edge a little; jump! Such opportunities don’t come often or to everyone. You must be something special so recognize that early and seize the day.
If you have commitments; spouse/partner, mortgage, children etc. – make sure you do your research. So, ‘grown-up’ considerations like housing, schooling for kids, transportation, visa status for your spouse/partner &/or children and what they’re entitled to etc.
And lastly, make sure you keep your own motivation for the transfer and perspective in check. Be also aware of cultural diversity; professionally and personally – when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
What is the best thing about your current job as Regional Marketing Director?
I like that I am constantly in communication with marketers and managers from different functions, project teams and in different offices. It gives me a wide perspective on so many different issues, challenges and opportunities. Being at work everyday is like going to some place to learn something everyday. So, I do feel mentally nourished in my role.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I get up every morning feeling like a warrior; on a mission to tackle whatever’s on my plate, be it outstanding issues or to pursue a range of opportunities. The reality is that I am not a morning person; so I do rely on two alarm clocks to get me out of bed every morning. But as soon as I’m up on my feet I very easily get into my ‘warrior’ mode. I might want to add here that my favourite work day is Monday (Gasp!).
What advice would you give to a new Marketing Manager just starting out their career with IQPC today?
My first and most important advice – go to an event as soon as you can; preferably in the first week or at least in the first month. Most Marketing Managers delay attending events until after they’ve marketed several events. You can’t possibly market effectively something you have no idea of or understanding about.
The Marketing Manager induction is very comprehensive; it takes a good 4 full weeks to complete the first round of basic training covering modules on strategy, process and implementation. The real learning comes from keeping up-to-date with practical applications of the theory.
In addition, I would also advise that you read a lot on the side; online and print. I’d strongly recommend reading these 2 books early in your IQPC marketing career; Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs and The New Rules of Marketing and PR both by David Meerman Scott.
The Marketing Manager role, like any other role at IQPC, is by no means a walk in the park. However, it is a rewarding one when you put your heart and mind into it. I remember telling myself after 12 months of marketing events; I feel like I have just run my own business. That’s one experience money can’t buy.
To find out more about marketing positions available in IQPC globally please visit: https://careers.iqpc.com/latest-jobs/