As part of an ongoing series highlighting young talent in the industry, Branding in Asia presents “One Under 30” – a special feature that focuses on up-and-coming talent in the ad world, one person at a time.
This week we talk to Maham Hussain, Brand Manager – Chocolates at Mondelēz Pakistan.
Over the course of our conversation, she talks about how she got her first break in the industry, what she loves about the work, what she doesn’t like about it, and more.
Name: Maham Hussain
Company: Mondelēz Pakistan
Position: Brand Manager – Chocolates
Current Location: Karachi
Education: Bachelor’s in Business Administration (Marketing Major) from the Institute of Business Administration (Karachi)
How did you get your first break in the industry?
My first break in the industry was a stroke of luck. Before graduation, I would always pray to either get recruited into the best MNC FMCG or get hold of an opportunity abroad. At the time, I did not get into my desired organization, but fortunately, I received an offer to work in Dubai.
After my first professional experience in Dubai, as fate would have it, my next job was with my dream organization in my hometown! I was lucky to be able to experience the best of both worlds I’d wanted and start my career exactly the way I had envisioned.
What is your personal mantra?
My personal mantra has evolved with time, and I have recently become a firm believer in how one cannot pour from an empty cup. I have made a conscious effort to surround myself with positive people, thoughts and surroundings to achieve a state of being that encourages me to focus on the good things life has to offer. Once that kind of peace and calm settles over me, it allows me to share in the joys of living with the people I love around me and pass that joy along.
From what person, place or thing have you drawn your greatest creative inspiration?
My greatest source of inspiration has been my father, who has time and again reinforced integrity, honesty and strong character through example. For him, being a good human was non-negotiable and was the basis of my upbringing. In fact, this was emphasized so much that whenever I asked him what to be when I grew up, instead of naming a profession, like doctor, engineer, or scientist, he would always just say, “Be a good human being.”
I think the day I am able to claim I have done justice to those standards will be the day I feel truly accomplished.
What do you love about the job?
It might seem cliché, but I love my job and could not see myself doing anything but marketing. This is one domain that makes me feel we have the power to create an impact in society, both as individuals and as part of the organization. We become a small part of our consumer’s life through the brands we market, and we form a human connection with them.
In fact, the most powerful brands often cultivate fond memories and emotional benefits for consumers, which is what makes them prefer one brand over another. The knowledge that I am part of a system where I can make this everlasting impact on a stranger’s life makes the job extremely enriching and fulfilling.
What about your job are you not so crazy about?
The dependence on other people to do their work on time in order to be able to deliver my tasks and project is something I do not look forward to. However, I am cognizant of that fact that enabling people around you to give their best is also a responsibility that needs to be fulfilled, and if done with patience, it can create a win-win situation for all.
What is some work you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Some of the work I have been most proud of has undoubtedly been the work enabling me to make societal difference amongst millions of people. While working on Blue Band, we brought to attention the prevalence of stunting and malnutrition in Pakistan. We devised a campaign that created mass awareness of the issue through a number of nutritionists, celebrities and influencers. This was further reinforced in schools through an awareness drive, where children were explained the importance of a healthy breakfast to support growth and development.
The results of the campaign were phenomenal and we were able to educate over 3.5 million people about this social issue. The sheer impact and scale of the project, along with the nobility of the cause, makes this campaign very close to my heart.
If you had to choose another career what would it be?
Without a doubt, it would be fashion designing. It is common knowledge among my family and friends circle that I have an obsession with clothes, and I can often be found curating and designing my next outfit in my mind.
Let’s just say my retirement plan includes a cute boutique and exhibiting outfits I hope to create with love and passion!