World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


"Thanks to MPP, I wondered what would happen if I became a listener instead of a talker."

"Thanks to MPP, I wondered what would happen if I became a listener instead of a talker."

Article ID:

16181

Khin Thandar Htay is national sales director at Myanmar Consolidated Media Ltd., the Myanmar Times. She speaks to WAN-IFRA about her career development at the English-language publication, as well as the professional changes she has already begun implementing thanks to the leadership training provided by the MPP Southeast Asia.

 


WAN-IFRA: How did you get into the media industry?

Khin Thandar Htay: "I’ve been in and out: I first joined this media organisation in 2004 as a receptionist. I quit in 2006 to join Qatar Airways as cabin crew. Then my boss asked me to return, so I came back in 2009 as HR manager. I did this for one year, and then went to Bangkok to study for a TEFL certificate, and then came back again, joining the company as the national sales director."

 

You seem very committed to the company – what motivated the career switch back in 2009, and what has kept you there?

"Actually the motivation has come mainly from my boss. He’s someone who has always seen the skills of a lot of people in our company. He finds people the projects and responsibilities that even they don’t realise they’re suitable for. I have experience in communications and dealing with people, and he said I could use these skills in this work. My job is also about managing people, which I think I’m good at. And I’m obsessed with the Myanmar Times as well!"

 

What do you like about working in media?

"Actually, I don’t know much about media. I don’t have a background in editorial or printing, but HR can be done in any kind of company. I’m really into managing and organising staff, and sales and marketing is related to this kind of management. In my position I’ve also received a lot of new knowledge and ideas, such as design or creating a new ad size for the paper, aspects of paper quality, layout, and so on. Linking advertisers to articles is also very interesting.

"When I was in HR, it wasn’t really related to media, but when I joined the sales and marketing department, I became involved in a lot of interesting stuff. For example, sometimes when a customer’s ad includes very bright colours, the result is different. When discussing this with the client, you have to know what affects the print quality: it could be because of the design of the ad, its size, or sometimes the newsprint we use absorbs a lot of colours. So I have to look into the printing problem and find out what the reasons could be, and talk to different departments."

 

How has the media scene changed in the country over the last few years?

 "I think the changes are very important for media organisations as well as for readers. Before we had a lot of restrictions on what we could write about, and we didn’t always have the chance to write the true story. And there were restrictions also for advertising. We had to be very careful when it came to advertising, birthday wishes, weddings, and so on, because once we ran an ad that had nothing to do with the government, but when you read it backwards, it said something critical of the government. It was kind of risky, all the articles and ads had to be checked, and if they said you couldn’t publish an article or ad, we couldn’t do that. But now it’s ok, we don’t have this system anymore."

 

What kind of impact the MPP programme has had on your career?

 "A big one. Firstly, it’s very practical, so I can use what I learn in my work. I have already made some changes based on the knowledge I've gotten from MPP, and it’s working out well. For example, in our training it was discussed that a leader has to be creative, and has to make some changes in the organisation. In my department, when we had our weekly meetings, it was mostly me who talked, and the rest of my team would just sit there, listening to what I was saying and absorbing. Thanks to MPP, I wondered what would happen if I became a listener instead of a talker. Now I’ve changed my meetings so that I talk half of the meeting, and for the other half I become a listener. We’ve benefitted from this, as my team has a chance to express their concerns and can share information with the other team members.

"It was also said during the training that a leader should inspire and be an example to team members. I’m now trying to do that, so that they can inspire me. Before I always came to the office at about 10:00, though our office hours start at 9:00. So of course if I came late my staff thought they could be there at 9:50, as long as they’re there before me. In the beginning I told them that they should start earlier, but of course that didn’t work as I came always late as well. So the last two weeks, I’ve come to the office earlier, and I can see some change thanks to that."

 

Where do you want to be in a five-year’s time?

 "I want to have my own business, as I plan to start an advertising agency, and have a beautiful family!"

 

Interview conducted by Teemu Henricksson

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2013-02-18 13:33

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