24 Hours with… Google’s Joanna Flint

24 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 Joanna Flint, Google APAC’s managing director for agency business

6:30am. The alarm goes off. It’s Monday, and I’m sure the scene in my house resembles any other—chasing downstairs to have breakfast, packing school bags, and a final check that we haven’t forgotten the swim goggles (it’s swim squad training for my youngest).  We get him on the bus by 7.05am.

7:30am. I get some ‘me’ time once the kids leave and make my way by car to the Google office checking with Waze to see if there’s a breakdown on the CTE. We’re good. ETA 08:18.

8:30am. I reach the office and after grabbing a ‘kopi’ to pick me up for the day, it’s time to organise my week (online calendars are a lifesaver). Our new office—the Google Asia-Pacific headquarters—is inspired by the spirit of the Kampongs (villages in Malay) so people stop by to say a quick “hello”. I don’t have a fixed desk, so can choose to work from anywhere or walk upstairs to one of our roof gardens for a little quiet time.

9:00am. The weekly team meeting. Beyond the staples, I like to inspire my team by sharing work from across the company. Today, I invite Miguel from our creative technologist team– AKA ‘the ZOO’—to walk us through his highlights from Google I/O—our developer conference in Silicon Valley.

He shares lots of product updates particularly around Machine Learning and he is very proud to announce that a world-first Augmented Reality project he’d worked on with the Singapore ArtScience Museum and World Wildlife fund was featured.

10:00am. I’ve recently taken a new role managing our strategic partnerships with global media agencies and “the ZOO,” across Asia-Pacific. My team is based in three locations and it’s important to stay connected… so it’s tech to the rescue as we hold a series of one-to-one’s with my leads in Japan and Australia. It’s always better to talk things over face-to-face, even if it’s virtual.

12:00pm. It is important for me to spend time with clients, ideally in person. Today,  I have lunch with Alexis Horowitz-Berdick, Chief Digital officer at Sephora Digital. Over chicken rice and dim sum in our ‘Shiok’ cafe, we discuss Sephora’s business priorities and get some insight into their lofty plans for the region.

1:30pm.  My next appointment is to deliver a keynote about the ‘Agency of the Future’ to a group of media executives from South East Asia. We have an open discussion on the challenges facing the media industry — attracting and growing talent, technology decisions and creating new revenue streams.  I walk away feeling reflective; lots of insights and consensus in the room. So much to be done.

3:00pm. I hop in a taxi to get to Robinson Road for the monthly Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Board meeting. I always look forward to these; it’s refreshing to hear from a broad range of industry voices: agencies, publishers and other tech companies.

3:30pm. During the IAB Board meeting we review plans for the year, upcoming events, and membership numbers. I’ve been on the Board for nearly three years now and have seen an increasing number of new tech companies as well as creative agencies joining. It brings home how important it is to have bodies like the IAB for startups, adjacent disciplines and smaller agencies to lean on. Everyone needs a voice.

5:00pm. After the meeting, at nearby Lau Pa Sat, I have a 20 minute catch up with a potential hire who has been referred by one of my team. “Good people know good people” turns out to be true in this case. I think she could be great in one of our sales teams, so I encourage her to apply online.

7:00pm. I return to the office, jump in my car and head onto the Expressway. I enjoy the drive back, listening to the radio. It’s one of those small strangely “zen” moments after a hectic day. Back home it’s another burst of fun and chaos until we put the children to bed and then I take a stroll with my husband and our retired police dog, Retro. Then a final quick check of email, and the day is done.


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