In our Talent Talk interview this month we spoke to Sonya Madeira, Managing Partner of Rice Communications, and asked her a few questions about life at Rice, and what she thinks will be the big PR trends for 2015.
Name: Sonya Madeira
Title: Managing Partner
Age of company: 6 years (January 2009)
Key clients: Inmarsat, Bosch, FICO, Kimberly Clark, Emerson Network Power, FORUM, National Instruments, ESET, Palo Alto Networks, Digital Realty
Number of staff: 24 in Singapore and Myanmar
What sets Rice apart from the crowd?
Rice is a boutique firm and we try to do things differently to maintain our positioning. Partners still service clients, we speak multiple languages and work in various markets in the region, we go the extra mile. All the effort has enabled us to attract and retain good people and clients over the past six years.
Can you define your culture?
We have a great team of consultants from around the world who combine experience and enthusiasm for our clients every day. Culture is such an esoteric term but it came to life particularly during our recent annual offsite to Myanmar. It’s a young crowd, and we had fun, spending time together as a bunch of friends. But most importantly, it’s a caring culture – one afternoon at a local orphanage really brought this to the fore.
What do you look for in great talent?
Attitude, really! Skills can be learnt on the job. With a lean team that isn’t hierarchical, we all have to be ready to roll up our sleeves and get on with it. Young consultants also get the opportunity to work alongside their team leaders to do more, and learn faster as a result. If you are looking for a job scope that has a beginning and an end, this might not be the team for you!
What do you see as some key emerging trends in the communications industry in 2015 and beyond?
The market is evolving – just today, someone mentioned that Asia lags Europe and the US in terms of communications programmes. But we still have clients across a wide scale – sophisticated at one end, and simple at the other. Agencies will either have to pick a point on this gradient or have the emotional intelligence to move across this range, educate and upsell.
The Rice Team at an orphanage in Yangon during their recent offsite trip