Spotlight: Venus Navalta — Family-loving Serenity-seeker
Venus Navalta, as we painted a picture of her, is a go-getting woman who has shown her talent even while she was still in school. She graduated with a major win, “Best in Thesis,” for her series of documentaries on cultural minorities, in a nationwide competition for students. At a young age, she has gotten her headstart in top positions in the companies she has worked for. Today, she is recognized and known widely in the industry for her achievements in Universal McCann. It is no surprise that the University of the Philippines has bestowed on her an “Outstanding Alumna Award,” in its Centennial Year in 2008. An award given only to a select few.
And yet, in spite of these stellar accomplishments, Venus Navalta, Chairman of ZenithOptimedia, describes herself as “no dragon lady.”
We left off with last week’s profile of Venus Navalta with the note of her brief departure from the industry in 2009. Not even a year later, at around 10 months after her resignation from Universal McCann as its Managing Director, and McCann Worldgroup Philippines as its Executive Vice President, Venus Navalta left retirement to join ZenithOptimedia and take the reins as ZenithOptimedia Philippines’ Chairman.
It is with glowing enthusiasm that Venus Navalta’s appointment as Chairman was met by Philip Talbot, ZenithOptimedia Asia-Pacific CEO:
“Venus and I met a little by chance, but we got talking and realised we shared many passions and beliefs, both professionally and socially. It didn’t take me long to realise that, with her experience and qualities, Venus would be a great asset for us. ZenithOptimedia has been hugely successful as a network in the region in recent years, and Venus’ presence in the Philippines will further boost our operations. I am very much looking forward to working with Venus and I know she will be a huge asset to us, both locally and throughout the ZenithOptimedia network.” –Philip Talbot, CEO, ZenithOptimedia Asia-Pacific
Mind you, this was no easy “Yes” for Venus:
“When challenges presented themselves, I turned these to opportunities. I only work for companies that make me happy as I perform best when I am happy; compensation has always been secondary for me.” –Venus Navalta, Chairman, ZenithOptimedia
And yet, it has been an appointment that Venus has received with a light heart and joy at the fact that she joined a company she believes in:
“I wanted to come back to the industry and among the different opportunities, I chose ZenithOptimedia because I was impressed by the stability and achievements of the regional management. There are a lot of shared values and I felt at home right away. I am also challenged in making their Philippines office one of their best in the world.” –Venus Navalta, Chairman, ZenithOptimedia
Since her appointment in 2009, ZenithOptimedia has been very bullish in it progress, with wins such as Globe Telecom, a pitch they had won at the start of 2012. It was also in early to mid Q2 2012 that ZenithOptimedia launched “LiveROI,” a real-time monitoring system for monitoring ad campaign performance. And in a drive to improve ZenithOptimedia’s digital marketing skills and expertise, it tapped the training services of digital marketing company Dual Action Blender, just as recently as the start of this month. Venus Navalta is steering her company as she is steering her professional life: relentlessly and unstoppably.
And yet, it’s funny that Ms. Navalta describes herself, at her core, as:
“[…] an introvert by nature, perhaps the opposite of the driven dragon lady, but when challenges presented themselves, I turned these to opportunities.”
She says that her destressors include:
“[…]Solitude. I go to church and pray, I do yoga, I go to my hut by the beach, I read, I get a personal massage. I listen to my grandniece, Dana and soak-in her innocence and childish wisdom.”
Like the best of us, though, Venus is not immune to getting a good pampering and creating a beauty regimen that works for her:
“I treat myself to the services of a top hair stylist, I go to a dermatologist, I have a personal yoga teacher, I use Lancome products, and I try to eat right. I also buy things that make me happy: art work, designer shoes and bags, sometimes clothes. I pamper myself and I now do not feel guilty about it.”
To get a better picture of what shaped Venus Navalta as a woman, one can look to her role models and see why she is the woman she has become.
Venus counts Menchu Esteban, Leny Panganiban and Emily Abrera as industry icons; successful women she looks up to.
In the more famous, national and international scene, Venus Navalta counts these women as her role models:
- Mother Teresa because “she chose to serve God and mankind unconditionally.”
- Hilary Clinton because “aside from breaking so many glass ceilings, she manages to be the victor in the numerous battles she fought whether political or in the homefront.”
- Cory Aquino because “she stepped up to the challenge of leading a nation despite her lack of experience.”
It is touching to note that Venus Navalta also counts her own mother as her role model “because she did not allow her limited circumstances to achieve her dreams for her family.”
It is no secret, and we’ve mentioned it more than once, that Venus believes in the family. Prodded about the woman’s role in nation-building, this is what Venus had to say:
“It starts with building her own strong family unit and insuring that she does not destroy other family units because of envy, greed or selfishness.”
And for Venus Reyes-Navalta, woman empowerment is:
“Being allowed to do what is right and better for yourself, the family, the society and the country. Everyone, men and women, young and old should be empowered to improve themselves and their community.”
And through the many sides of Venus Reyes-Navalta, maybe the one verbal vignette that can best show the side of her that’s beyond her awards and accomplishments is the picture of her, at home in Ayala Westgrove Heights, a beach house in an exclusive community in Cavite:
“You know, when we moved here, my friends were always asking, ‘How can you leave the city?'” Venus says with a laugh. She sips from a freshly made cup of coffee as the wind ruffles her hair. She’s sitting in the terrace at the end of the house, facing a broad expanse of greenery and a sunset that looks like it’s competing for a postcard contest.
“Well, I know – every time I come up the drive from a stressful day at work and immediately relax as soon as I hit those village gates – that I made the right choice. Life here is just so… Serene.” Her husband and son look on thoughtfully. “This place is a refuge, you know?” she says. And as the breeze ruffles my hair and glides over my skin, I can’t help but nod silently. –Word pictures from At Home With Eddie And Venus Navalta – The Siren’s Call South by Bea J. Ledesma
Maybe to the industry, Ms. Venus Reyes-Navalta is a “Dragon Lady,” a woman who will not settle for mediocrity. But to Venus and the ones she loves, she’s a serenity-seeking woman with simple but refined pleasures and tastes.
Postscript: ZenithOptimedia, with Ms. Venus Navalta at the helm, bagged TWO major media awards last Thursday, in the 4As-P’s annual Agency of the Year Awards Show. One of these awards, the Media Agency of the Year Award, is the first of its kind. ZenithOptimedia bagged the first-ever Media Agency of the Year Award, for 2011. Once again, Ms. Navalta proves that she can take a company straight to the top!
Congratulations, Ms. Venus Navalta and the ZenithOptimedia team for your major wins!
We hope you like our mini-tribute to you, your life and your career, Ms. Venus! At a whole month to the day into your new year, we’re hoping you’re having fun so far, and that life is showering you with blessings and sources of serenity, joy, and most of all, love.
To the rest of your year, here is the staff of Pinay Media Planner wishing you blessings upon blessings and that life would be the best it can be for you and your family!