We have chosen to work with global goal number 5, because we believe in the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. In the spirit of this goal, we pledged to achieve gender parity in management by 2020. But we don’t stop at in-house initiatives. We also strive to make our industry more equal. We have joined forces with other TMT companies to support Women in Tech, a unique platform and network, which aims to inspire more talented women to consider a career in media and technology.
Hello, Maria Redin. Firstly, well done getting promoted to chief financial officer. How does it feel?
Thank you, it feels really great! Taking on the CFO role means increased responsibilities, but I’ve been with the company in various roles for over twelve years so I know the business really well. So, I am ready and look forward to the challenges that lie ahead and working with the great team we have here at MTG.
How did you get here?
I started out as a trainee actually. That was back in 2004, shortly after getting my Master’s degree in international business from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. I then held a number of financial positions within the group. Group controller and head of group finance just to name a couple. Then, having served as acting chief financial officer from June to November 2015, I was appointed as chief financial officer of MTG in December 2015.
What does the future hold?
We’re working in an industry that is changing fast because we are all changing the way that we consume entertainment. The good thing is that people are watching more and more video. This presents us with challenges and opportunities, which is why we’re transforming ourselves. We’ve taken a lot of steps in the last year to ensure that we can continue to invest in our existing products and become even more relevant by acquiring new digital companies. Our industry will continue to evolve, and so will MTG. But our prime focus will always be to offer our customers the very best entertainment and for MTG to be a great place to work!
Women CFO’s are still quite a rarity. Have you got any words of advice for women who’d like to do what you do?
Enjoy what you do and you will then do a better job. That little bit extra makes all the difference. Also, don’t be afraid of taking on new challenges as they arise, even if it makes you step out of the comfort zone. And surround yourself with great people. They will help you deliver the results you need and elevate you to the next level of learning and development.
Hi there, Anna Munkenberg. And congratulations on your recent promotion. They're coming thick and fast!
Yes, it seems that way! I was promoted to creative director a year and a half ago and this year I was made executive creative director. It’s great and I’m really enjoying myself. Getting to go to work every day and being around all these clever and inspiring people is pretty special. I’m so grateful to everyone who has pushed me and seen the potential in me, even when I didn’t always see it myself. I feel like I’ve achieved more than I ever thought I could.
So what’s your background?
I grew up in a small Swedish town called Trollhättan, also known as Trollywood because of the big film production facility there. I always loved TV and decided at a very young age that this was what I wanted to do. So at the tender age of 20, I packed my bags and moved to New York City to pursue my dream. I got a job doing news and the rest, as they say, is history. I stayed in news and NYC for the best part of ten years before returning to Stockholm where I joined MTV to work in long form programmes, a completely different genre. I then transferred to Copenhagen to set up the new production there before coming across to London and MTG to be a senior branding and promo producer.
NYC news sounds rather exciting! What’s your most vivid career memory?
There have been a few. But the one that sticks out the most is the coverage of the 9/11 attacks. I was working for a local 24 hour news channel called New York 1 News at the time, and after the first plane hit we sent all our reporters, cameramen and live trucks down to the site to get as close as they could. My most vivid memory of that day is standing next to our news director Peter when the first tower came down. At that moment, I thought that I had just watched some of my best friends and dear colleagues die. And he of course thought he had just sent his entire team to their deaths. Luckily, that wasn't the case and except for some bruises and broken bones, they were all ok. We didn’t know that for several hours though because all the phone lines went down. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. On a more positive note - and looking forward rather than back - I’m sure that our coverage of the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio will result in some pretty special memories!
You’ve had quite an eventful career. Have you got any pointers for the women out there who’d like to follow in your footsteps?
Make sure that you have a career doing something that you love. If you have a passion for what you do, then you will enjoy coming to the office every day. That will then show in the work that you do and you will ultimately do well.
Good to see you, Vanda Rapti. Great work getting promoted. Is it all going ok?
Yes, all is under control. And all equals a lot! I’ve got many interesting projects currently on the go, and I’m in the middle of numerous complex negotiations. It’s hectic and requires frequent travelling, but I’m optimistic about rendering some good results so it’ll be worth it. Not just for me, but for my whole team.
Ok, thanks. And tell us, where did it all begin?
I’m Greek so it all began in Athens, I‘m a qualified lawyer there as well as in England. I joined MTG as a lawyer in 2003 and in 2006 I was promoted to senior lawyer. Then, in 2011, I became vice president for pay-TV, video-on-demand and new media acquisitions for 37 countries, including the Nordics, central and eastern Europe, Russia/CIS and Africa. Three years later, I got the additional responsibility of free-TV Nordic acquisitions, and in 2015 I was promoted to senior vice president, heading content acquisitions for all MTG’s free and pay TV channels, online services and platforms across more than 37 territories.
Wow, that’s a lot. Is it difficult combining a career with having a family?
It can be challenging at times. The stakes are high and the workload can be explosive. It’s a 24/7 business. But the bottom line is that I enjoy my job and mix it up so that it works for everyone. And technology is a beautiful thing. It means I can log in whenever and wherever so that not a minute is wasted. I don’t squander time. Life is way too short for that.
Never a truer word spoken! Have you got any advice for women who’d like to emulate your career path?
Strive for constant improvement, work hard and when you get knocked down, use this set-back to rise higher.