Foxcatcher’s general manager Yun Yip (main image) has made our Women in Media Shortlist in the highly competitive executive leader category.
Yip has a reputation for being an incredible worker, a star and an all-around lovely woman.
She has also generously shared with B&T a beautiful letter about all the women she’s learnt from in the industry. Yip has shared what she’s learnt from her female bosses and the women she works alongside.
Dear Women in the media industry whom I have learnt from,
It took me a few long minutes to think about how to start this letter. It was a lovely trip down memory lane – going back to when I started and was clueless about what the “media industry” was all about.
I am grateful every day for how I landed in this field by chance, and, most importantly, for the people I encountered who played a very major role in shaping me into who I am – in fascinating and amusing ways.
In October 2003, I was interviewed by Karen Gallagher at Carat. Karen, you weren’t that much older than me, and I was always so impressed by the progressions you have already made. A young, ambitious female client service director.
There were very few female directors and leaders then, and in some ways, because of my traditional upbringing, the male-dominated leadership rank did not raise an eyebrow for me either (it was only a few years later that it did). Watching you manoeuvre the business and industry was eye-opening. I remember setting myself a goal to have your level of success before 30. You never shied away from a healthy debate and would always stand your ground. It was inspiring to watch you do that with more senior male counterparts.
I admit that I had a sense of entitlement when I first started, initially thinking that checking confirms and doing tear sheets (most people reading this may not even know what tear sheets are) was ‘not my job’. I learned from you that success and job promotions came with a good work ethic – be diligent, know your work, and back yourself with substance.
Two years on, I accepted an interview with Starcom’s general manager, Anne-Maree Frost. My first impression of you, Anne-Maree, was elegance, respect, and experience. I was fortunate enough to work on Suncorp, a key account in which you were very much involved.
You were never the person with the most words, but when you spoke, people listened. Being a hot-headed person with something to prove then, I always admired how calm you were. You had a good sense of humour with clients, and they had the utmost respect for you.
I have always loved how you treated everyone with respect and always knew which battles we needed to win, to win the war. Anne-Maree embodied the ability to articulate difficult conversations with grace and purpose. Anne Maree, if you read this, thank you for everything… and if I may confess, I am as thankful as I am embarrassed about the car rides you offered to meetings in your immaculate BMW while I was still bearing remnants of the usual “media Thursday event”.
Anne-Maree and Karen, you both led your teams and businesses in your own unique and inspiring way. I learned that being “one of the boys” and putting up with bad behaviour was not a prerequisite. You weren’t great female leaders; you were just great leaders.
I feel it is also important to write about women working alongside me who had an impact. It may not have been prominent then, but it most certainly is evident over the years how having supportive female colleagues throughout my career was a God send.
Being an immigrant and having a name that was not common (yes, I used to be asked if I could have an English name), I am forever grateful for ex-colleagues and colleagues (and many whom I now call friends) who have embraced each other’s uniqueness and diversity.
In fact, it was refreshing that they saw differences as interesting and advantageous. Sitting next to Sylvia Pickering for a time at Starcom was another career highlight.
Sylvia, work never seemed to phase you. You always seemed to cruise through the insurmountable work promptly and effectively. You were also (and are) a whole heap of fun. I respected how you would stand up to male colleagues (often your seniors) and called out inappropriate behaviours and comments. You just had a way of being at ease with who you are. I am proud to call you a dear friend.
After leaving agency land, it was evident that the pool of female leaders in the digital and AdTech space is even smaller. We have come a long way in the last 5-6 years, and I believe there’s more we can do.
I am very encouraged by the inspiring women who continue to champion a more respectful and diverse industry, especially in digital and AdTech – to name a few Gai Le Roy, Georgia Brammer, June Cheung, Sarah James, Catherine Smith, Maria Baca Castex, Kali Guillas, June Oh, Adele Wieser, Stephanie Famolaro and Sarah Melrose. You all shine a light in your special way.
If I may finish this letter with my biggest lesson from my time in this industry thus far – it is that our industry is like a mosaic. We look, think, and behave in our unique and interesting way. This is brilliant and drives our industry to thrive and innovate. As my favourite poet Maya Angelou wrote, “stand up straight and realise who you are, that you tower over your circumstances”.
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