24 Hours With… Havas Life Southeast Asia MD Dr VJ Yamat

VJ Yamat24 Hours With… spotlights the working day of some of the most interesting people in Mumbrella Asia’s world. Today, we hear about a day in the life of Dr Victor Joseph ‘VJ’ Yamat, who is two years into the role of Havas Life Southeast Asia managing director, based in Singapore

4:00am: Yes, I’m an early riser. Some force of habit from my days in medical school. Yup, I am a trained medical doctor. So why am I in advertising? Well, that’s another story, altogether.

5:00am: Watch a bit of HGTV (why is it so cheap to buy a house in the US?), DMAX (why is it so affordable to buy a Porsche in the US?) and CNN (why are things so crazy in the US?). I can’t wait for House of Cards season five!

5:45am: I look at my Concept Model D rowing machine and clean away some dust and cobwebs. Pause. Hmmm… maybe when I get home from work. Turn on my iPad to check social media and messages from relatives and friends around the globe.

6:00am: Check emails that came in the evening (mostly from the Havas Health NY) and my active bids on eBay (I’m a sucker for vintage watches and vinyl).

7:00am: I feed my kids (a Jack Russell terrier and a miniature beagle, both rescued) and take them out to poop and wee. The Japanese kids in the condo are already waiting for their school bus, and their moms send them off. All, like clockwork.

7:15am: I cook breakfast almost every day. Today’s menu is garlic fried rice (with dried anchovies), Chinese luncheon meat, and sunny side up eggs.

7:35am: Preparing what to wear, I pick my watch first, then shoes, then clothes. #watchguy

7:45am: I get into the shower and I see the McCann Worldgroup office through my bathroom window. *evil grin*

8:00am: I tune in to ANC (the news channel of ABS-CBN) and watch Headstart with Karen Davila. A lot of change is happening in the Philippines. Looking good, overall. Turn on my iPad to check social media and eBay.

9:15am: Get a cup of Japanese green tea and write my priority to-dos. Read more emails. I get a Viber message from my Dad. It’s his daily Bible verse. A moment of silence. Good morning, Havas!

10:30am: A quick WIP with teammates, Kat and Paolo. We do this regularly even if we generally know what’s happening. It makes us more wired and more sensitive to each other’s work loads, undertakings and accomplishments.

11:45am: The agency is at its busiest. People coming in from early client meetings. Meeting rooms fully booked. Andrea Conyard, our Singapore MD, is wearing another set of rare sneakers. I have yet to see him repeat a pair (seven months and counting).

1:30pm: Finally, lunch. Default choice is Lau Pa Sat, which has two pretty decent Filipino food stalls. I eat some Lechon Kawali (pan roasted pork), rice and Sinigang (tamarind soup). Burp.

2:30pm: I host a concall with our Havas Life Manila team. Our highly successful startup is now a major force, locally. I’ve been visiting them frequently and new business pursuits with them are always a blast (it helps that we win a lot, too).

Dr VJ Yamat4:00pm: I do a business pipeline review with accounts and finance. Happy that we are still cool, projections-wise, but definitely no room to be overly complacent.

4:45pm: I manage to squeeze quick chat with Levent, our Havas Worldwide Southeast Asia CEO. Amazed as to how we were able to open close to six Havas Life agencies in just three years (we were nominated by Mumbrella as one of the Emerging Agencies in Southeast Asia). I think we have the largest healthcare footprint in the region now, but there’s still a lot of opportunities to be had.

5:30pm: A quick meeting with some colleagues from Havas PR Siren and Havas Worldwide for an NGO. Not all that glitters is gold.

6:30pm: MRT, Red Line. You gotta love Singapore efficiency. iPhone on, to check social media and eBay (barely missed out on a nice New Old Stock Seiko… arrgh).

6:45pm: I feed my kids (after I scold the Beagle for exploring the trash bin, again), then take them out to poop and wee.

7:00pm: I look at my Concept Model D rowing machine and oil the chain. Pause. Hmmm… maybe when I wake up tomorrow. Instead, I just play an equally intense game of NBA 2k16.

8:00pm: Dinner is pan fried steak with buttered veggies. Thank you, Gordon Ramsey How-To-Cook-The-Perfect-Steak YouTube video.

8:45pm: I open a can of San Mig Light and play some of my vinyls. British New Wave, 70s Classic Rock, Old School R&B, Jazz Fusion and 80s Italo Dance Music. Very eclectic, indeed.

9:45pm: Shower and turn on one of my four screens in the bedroom (TV, iPad, iPhone, Mac). I squeeze in a little prayer and off to get some ZZZZZs.


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