Spotlight: Venus Navalta, Quintessential Career Woman
Venus Navalta has been described as “fragile and unassuming, but a tough cookie.” However, ZenithOptimedia’s Philippine Office Chairman Venus Navalta’s stellar career leans more towards painting a picture of a woman who is more of a “tough cookie” than a “fragile and unassuming muse.”
Nothing could encapsulate the “tough cookie” part better than a quote from Ms. Navalta herself:
“I was never afraid of competition, male or female!” –Venus Navalta, Chairman, ZenithOptimedia
Even as a student, Ms. Navalta already showed how driven she is. She is a University of the Philippines Broadcast Communication graduate. And on the same year she graduated, she walked away with the “Best Student Thesis” award for her series of documentaries on cultural minorities. She won the award through a national competition she joined. It is no surprise then, that while she was still a student, the Philippine Survey and Research Center already hired her as a Management Trainee. The Philippine Survey and Research Center (PSRC) is one of the country’s top market and media research companies. While working for the PSRC, Venus Navalta became one of its Project Directors.
It was in 1982 that Ms. Navalta got her foot in the door in the Media side of Advertising & Media, as she joined the Philippine Advertising Counselors’ media department as a media manager. At that time, the Philippine Advertising Counselors was the country’s top advertising agency.
A woman who knows her priorities, Ms. Navalta has chosen her marriage and family over her career more than once. The first major move towards this end happened in the span of years from 1986 to 1989, when she and her family lived in the US. During that time, she focused on her role as wife and mother to her only son, but worked on research projects on the side. In 1989, she joined the corporate world once more as McCann-Erickson’s Associate Media Director.
In the post, and in that same year, she earned McCann-Erickson’s Most Valuable Professional award.
In 1990, she joined Dentsu, Young & Rubicam, Singapore, as Media Director.
In 1992, McCann-Erickson re-hired Ms. Navalta as Media Director. In 1999, Venus Navalta became the Managing Director of Universal McCann in the Philippines.
In her ten-year tenure at Universal McCann, Venus Navalta had been instrumental in quadrupling the company’s revenues and profits. Under her lead, UM Philippines became recognized by the Universal McCann Global management as one of its best offices, worldwide. It was also under Ms. Navalta’s leadership that UM Philippines won numerous local and international awards including:
- Cannes Media Lion in 2009
- Spikes Award in 2009
- Gold Award in the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Festival in 2007
- Five-time winner of the 4A’s Media Agency of the Year Award
The Cannes Media Lion that UM Philippines won in 2009 was a particularly unique award. At that time, Universal McCann Philippines was the only Philippine Media agency to have won the award. Most of the Philippine companies who have won Cannes Lions are Creative groups.
Starting 2006, Ms. Venus Navalta also juggled head-honcho hats, as she became Executive Vice President of McCann Worldgroup Philippines while being Universal McCann Philippines’ Managing Director. Aside from this, she also wore other hats thanks to various other roles within UM and McCann Worldgroup. She also has her pet advocacies to run.
It was then with some shock that the industry met her announcement, around this same time, in 2009:
“I have enjoyed my time in UM, and am pleased with the achievements of my team in Philippines. It has been a fantastic 17 years, one that is filled with poignant memories, but it is time to devote time to my personal life, especially to my family.” –Venus Navalta, then Managing Director of UM Philippines, then EVP of McCann Worldgroup, Philippines
- July 20, 2009, Asia Media Journal
- July 24, 2009, HumanResources
- July 24, 2009, Marketing-Interactive
With her stellar accomplishments in Media, it leaves industry insider and observer alike, both wondering why she left so soon. Remember, however, that the story doesn’t end there, as today, Ms. Venus Navalta is the Chairman of flourishing ZenithOptimedia.
Tune in next week, on July 30, 2012, for Part 2 of the Spotlight on Ms. Venus Navalta.
Photo Credits: Carlo Navalta