Yovana is the Digital Marketing Manager for Mauritius based agency, Esokia. With today’s ever dynamic work environment, upskilling your team, or even yourself, has become a non-negotiable. Yovana shares with us the importance of improving yourself in order to maintaining a competitive edge. That and more on this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, YOVANA. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
Thank you for reaching out! I was born in the capital city of Mauritius, Port Louis. I remember spending all my leisure time outdoors with my neighborhood friends, riding my bicycle, playing hide and seek.. I remember being a child who loved going out hiking (we lived next to a mountain in the city) or hitting the gorgeous northern beaches with my family on any given weekend. These were pretty cool years 😉
I feel quite lucky to have grown up on such a beautiful and peaceful island.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I remember spending hours, days, and weekends reading books. Weird enough, I loved going through dictionaries and encyclopedias learning new words and meanings. I was quite studious at school and also participated in sports activities.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
My all-time favourite is boiled noodles accompanied by octopus curry and tomato salad. It is a local, savoury dish which is a blend of our multicultural island.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
Book a one-year-trip around the world! I would obviously invest my earnings as well. There’s got to be a balance between having fun and investing in the future. I would also donate to local communities.
WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, ANASTASIA HAMEL SAYS THAT SHE CAN BREATHE FIRE!
I can read into people’s minds!! Kidding 😉 I love cooking. It goes from typical Mauritian food to Indian, Chinese and western dishes. I basically cook every day.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I grew up wanting to be a stewardess. As a kid, it amazed me that you could travel the world whilst working and, of course, look pitch-perfect. 🙂 That was my vision of success when I was a kid.
I kinda fell into Marketing through trial and error. I have an educational background in mathematics, economics, and management. I had the opportunity to work in a Market Research company during my first years and later joined a multinational and fell into Digital Marketing. As you might imagine, I fell in love with it 😉 Marketing is not what we knew twelve years ago. It is an evolving subject and has been digitalized. Either you are in the trends or you are out of the game.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK AT HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
#teamtea in the morning, even though the coffee is not very far away 😀
I always start my working day by checking the news on tv or my mobile phone. If time permits, I do my workout. It’s a great way to kick off the day.
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Over a year ago, my daily routine was turned upside down. When the pandemic hit in 2020, I had to start homeschooling my then 8-year-old daughter (something which I never imagined I would have to do). With a strict timetable, I had to juggle keeping her active, attend to my work and home chores.
I had to adapt quickly and be agile because of pressures coming from everywhere. The struggles are real for mothers out there.
YOU HAVE A BA IN ECONOMICS AND MANAGEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MAURITIUS. TERTIARY EDUCATION, AS WE KNOW IT, TOOK A DRAMATIC TURN DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW DO YOU FORESEE THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION CONSIDERING THE INCREASING POPULARITY OF ONLINE EDUCATIONAL SITES SUCH AS COURSERA AND GOOGLE SKILLSHOP THAT HAVE DISRUPTED THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF LEARNING?
I am a big believer of e-learning.
I take online courses every 6 months on different topics such as marketing, economics and management. We never stop learning. I believe that I will keep learning even when I get old. A couple of years ago, I did an online course on behavioural economics; it helped me understand the purchasing dilemma that customers have (i.e. psychological, cognitive, emotional, cultural or social factors), which gave me another dimension of purchasing factors applied in marketing. Without the courses that are available online, it will be quite difficult to stay ahead.
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR OWN CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
Remote work is the new way of working – people should not be afraid of it. As long as you have a computer and internet connection, you can work and be as creative as you would in an office setting. Of course, there may be challenges over time such as difficulty in bond with the team or not being able to visit clients.
But on the other side, there are many positives which help you in building your work-life balance. One of the most prominent positives is that there’s no need to spend hours in the traffic jam 😉
Personally, I need to have a strict schedule while working from home i.e I have a dedicated space for work whilst other rooms in my home are dedicated towards leisure or family time. I need to keep to a strict schedule every day of the week to make it work such as having a start and end time, not taking more than one hour of lunch, being ready for zoom calls on time etc.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT COMPILED BY MCKINSEY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. THE REPORT FURTHER ILLUSTRATES THAT WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE EXHAUSTED AND SUFFER FROM BURNOUT AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
I agree, I encountered similar challenges. The effects of the pandemic have put much more pressure and work on the shoulders of women, mainly mothers. Organisations could provide time off and support in order to contribute to the betterment of employees’ wellbeing.
2022 AND BEYOND
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC? ANY PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LIFE YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
Quite stressful. I had to change jobs at the very beginning when the pandemic hit. I was working for a software company working with airline companies. As you know, this sector was affected due to travel restrictions.
The chaos brought by the pandemic showed who the real leaders are, who cared for their staff and who didn’t. It is during these harsh times that you see who people really are. The most important thing for me is the work experience, moving forward despite the challenges.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Always be prepared for the unexpected. Life is a lesson. Learn from it and be better every day.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
Michelle Obama and Beyoncé. Two incredible, strong, black women of our times who had to fight so much to be where they are.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
‘Think like a Monk‘ by Jay Shetty. I’ve always loved the feeling of having a book in my hands. The turning over the paper is just satisfying.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
Probably doing several years of monastic training. Their stillness, wisdom, and self-control have always amazed me.
WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW FORBES CURATES THEIR MARKETING-CENTRIC CONTENT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO READ THROUGH THEIR CMO NEXT 2021 FEATURE? WHILST ON THE TOPIC OF GREAT MARKETERS, WHEN YOU RETIRE ONE DAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS A PROFESSIONAL?
The achievement would be one thing. The most important thing would be the work done for society and making the world a better place for the future generation.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My grandmother. Family is the most important thing – I am so bad at keeping in touch with most of them.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
Véronique Seel (Michaut). She is an amazing person to work with and is kind-hearted.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Do not feel overwhelmed by all the topics covered in Marketing. Be a unicorn Marketer. Always be curious and creative. Keep your identity. It is OKAY to be introverted. Be passionate.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME YOVANA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Click here to visit My Linkedin profile.