Bobbi Mahlab - Mahlab Media
If there is a measure of how successful a modern business leader is, it is perhaps how well they have shaped their company and its offering around the Internet, one of the most revolutionary technologies of all time.
Bobbi Mahlab, managing director of Mahlab Media, would gain top marks in that test, having adapted her firm to meet the demands of an ever-changing market and industry.
Mahlab Media is a fast-growing content marketing and custom publishing provider, servicing every state in Australia as well as markets in the US and the UK. Bobbi started the company herself in 1997 as a traditional custom publisher, and has seen it evolve into the cross-platform service it is today.
- Keeping up with the digital revolution
- Forecasting future developments of an evolving industry
- Maintaining a core business philosophy
Coping with fast-changing technology
Bobbi says that despite its massive recent success, her company has had to overcome a number of challenges along the way.
"The biggest challenge in the last few years has been driving a business through the technological revolution that is the Internet. It has turned our industry on its head," she explains.
"We've had to transform ourselves from a print-based legacy publisher to a fully-fledged digital content publisher and producer."
Planning ahead for new developments
Bobbi says taking a proactive approach and anticipating the changes was key to her success, and her company made a concentrated effort to "try new things and ensure we understood the way the world was evolving".
And how does Bobbi manage to lead such a diverse and rapidly expanding company? She says her leadership philosophy is to "lead by example" and "articulate where you're going", and also to be willing and able to change when necessary.
Building a globally recognised company
Despite the tumultuous industry changes Mahlab Media has faced over the years, Bobbi maintains that the business places a priority on sticking to its core values. One of these involves giving back to the community wherever possible, in the form of pro bono work for a variety of non-profit organisations such as the Sydney Women's Fund.
"We consider our pro bono work the heart of our company. It is something we involve our staff in and I place enormous emphasis on it in terms of the values of the company."
The company takes pride in using content effectively to help clients attract and retain customers, and its efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed. It enjoyed a stellar year in 2013, being one of only seven global finalists for the Content Marketing Agency of the Year Award, run by the Content Marketing Institute.
Additionally, it has claimed the accolade of Best Association Title of 2014 as part of the Content Marketing Institute's Orange Awards, as well as the Publishers Australia Excellence Awards and the USA-based Pearl Awards.
As well as leading Mahlab Media to a number of awards, Bobbi has been personally recognised as an entrepreneur. In fact, she was recently chosen to take part in EY’s inaugural Entrepreneurial Winning Women Asia Pacific Program, one of only four selected from Australia.
She also accredits a lot of her and her company's success to the TEC mentor program, of which she has been a member for the best part of six years.
"Our business has grown 30 per cent year on year for the last few years and I attribute much of that success to what I've learnt through TEC," she says.
"I find I learn a lot from my TEC colleagues, my Chair and the speakers. TEC gives me time out of the office every month to focus on strategy and the big picture and take a helicopter view of my business, which every business needs."