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Is Starcom Ready for Leah Besa-Jimenez?

Leah Besa-Jimenez changed her profile pic on Facebook this weekend.  While some people may brush this off as trivial, it does signify a new season not just for Leah who assumes the top post of CEO of Starcom Mediavest Group today, May 18, but for the entire force of SMV quartered at the Enterprise Tower in Makati City.

There is no doubt that Leah is very much able and ready to take on the reins of the Philippine operations of the SMV Group.  By now everyone would have known her impressive credentials including her last post as Group Head for the Media Convergence Group at Smart in charge of SmartAds, the country’s first real-time location mobile targeting service.

The question this morning is, "Is Starcom Ready for Leah Besa-Jimenez?".

There may be no room for a hangover after last week's send off for Joanna Chan-Mojica at the Makati Sports Club and Starlink's anniversary celebration.  To hit the ground running will be the mindset each SMV partner has to bear, not just today but over the next few months.  Surely, the promise of  Starcom of "transforming behavior through uplifting, meaningful Human Experiences" will be taken to a higher plane.

As we see it from our sideline perch, Leah is not just a game changer, she is a culture changer.  Even that is somewhat an understatement.  It's been proven in her previous posts including that time when she was managing director of Netbooster Asia and its rebranding to Movent in 2012, and her post at Proximity.

For those who feel that they'll still be waltzing to work at the Enterprise, it's time to learn some new steps as the tempo moves up and that knowledge of rumba may be a minimum requirement, so to speak.  We go out on a limb to say this because of Leah's non-pareil understanding of technology.  She is actually the preview of what the women CEOs would be in about a decade's time - a more inclusive and tech-savvy chief executive, who understands how her companies, vendors and customers work in a holistic, deeply integrated system - having a broad understanding of IT across the value chain.

The view is that the culture change will ripple all throughout the entire industry.  We're not just talking of SMV here.  Not even just Publicis, with SMV's sister ZenithOptimedia (also situated at the Enterprise).  We're talking of how this will change media suppliers/vendors perform.  And with new standards instituted encompassing areas of measurement and accountability, it will be of little wonder that a new norm will overtake media as we know it.

Overall, all stakeholders will have to get ready to rumba.

Having said that, this article should be re-titled, "Is the Media Industry Ready for Leah Besa-Jimenez?".


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