Congratulations to Sitha Nuon for being named “Agency Head of the Year” at this year’s Mumbrella Asia Awards!
We sat down with Sitha to hear about her incredible career journey and her ambitions for Havas Riverorchid Media Cambodia.
The Mag: You started with the agency as a receptionist 11 years ago. Tell us a little bit about your career path and how you reached media director. Has this role always been the goal?
SN: My goal when I joined Riverorchid was just to have an interesting job. I used to work in a shop and it was quite boring (although I was grateful for the work and the money to pay for my English lessons). The Riverorchid office was very close to my former workplace, but at that time, I did not even know what Riverorchid did. I thought it was the Nestle company because they had trucks that they used for Nestle brand activations.
Anyhow, I heard from a person from Riverorchid mention that they need a receptionist, so then I applied, but I didn’t have high hopes. When the head of finance offered me the job, I was really happy and got to meet lots of interesting people, including foreigners with whom I could practice my English. From day one, the company treated me with respect and made me feel like I mattered. But I never had any plan, and as I had no degree or qualifications, I never thought I would even be considered for senior roles.
Then one day, they offered me a job monitoring media in the media department. It was a promotion, so I took it. I immediately found it interesting and learned a lot from watching the many adverts which I had to view and record. And then one thing led to another. Sometimes maybe what is more important than having a plan is just enjoying what you are doing and doing it well. Then other doors can and will open.
So then I worked in various roles in buying and planning and learned to use the ratings software. After getting training from various bosses and building good relationships with media owners, I was offered the role of media director. I felt hesitant at first because I was afraid I couldn’t handle it, but my boss said: “I trust you. You can do it, and I will always support you. Don’t worry.” That encouraged me to accept the role, which got me to where I am now. It was an incredible journey for me and changed my life for the better.
The Mag: “Agency Head of the Year” is one of the most prestigious awards at the Mumbrella Asia awards. You beat out at least two global CEOs. It’s a phenomenal achievement. To what do you attribute this success?
SN: I still can’t believe I won that award. I feel so honoured and very lucky. My bosses have helped me so much in my career, and they gave me the belief that I could and should enter. I hope the main reason I won that award is because my story can be anyone’s story. It doesn’t matter where you come from (I come from a very small village in a relatively poor country), what matters is what you do with whatever you have and that you work hard, learn, enjoy, and always help others around you. That’s how you succeed.
The Mag: Let’s look ahead. What are your ambitions for the the future of Havas Riverorchid Cambodia?
SN: With us now becoming Havas Riverorchid Media, I hope we can get even better. Havas Media has amazing tools, and the business is really on a roll in Asia at the moment, with a lot of new business wins. It shows that clients are also seeing the quality of their processes and people.
Some might say we are already the best media agency in Cambodia, but that doesn’t mean we can’t (and must) get much much better still — for our clients, as well as our staff. Our team at Havas Riverorchid is now part of fast growing, young-at-heart global network with a really strong belief in working as a Village. So for me, it is not even about Havas Media or Havas Riverorchid, it’s about how we build the Village within Cambodia between our disciplines, as well as across Indochina and ASEAN among our different countries. My biggest dream is to see us become part of Havas as the most successful integrated network in the region. Maybe that’s a bit crazy, but why not? We already have agencies in more ASEAN / South East Asian countries than any other network!