Industry Profile: Dentsu Mitchell multicultural director, Masheila Pillay

By AdNews | 23 December 2017
Masheila Pillay

Our Industry Insights Profile takes a weekly look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, ad tech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

Duration in current role/time at the company:

Two years.

In one sentence, how would you describe what the company does?

A communications agency that partners with clients to provide integrated solutions.

In one sentence, what does your role involve?

I help clients connect with 100% of the potential audience. 49% of Australians were either born overseas or have one or more parents born overseas. Failing to connect with this audience means that we are not reaching our total market.

Within the last six months/year, what stands out as the company’s major milestones?

Dentsu Mitchell has had a great year and I’ve personally been proud to be part of the award-winning neuro-insights project that explored how people from different cultural backgrounds responded to advertising messages. We also developed Dentsu Mitchell’s proprietary tool - DIALECT (Diversity in Identity, Advertising, Linguistics, Ethnicity, Culture and Technology) that combines cultural data into usable market intelligence. It’s a real game-changer.

Best thing about the industry you work in:

Being able to make a difference and make connections with cultural audiences who might otherwise be missed.

Previous industry related (ad land/ad tech) companies you have worked at:

SBS and the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

Career-wise, where do you see yourself in three years time?

I can see myself continuing to be in a role that makes a positive difference for my clients and their customers.

What is the elephant in the room? The thing that no one is talking about – but they should be.

Diversity and Inclusion should be a key consideration in everything we do. I am fortunate to be working for a Network that priorities diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?

I speak four languages, Hindi, Afrikaans, Zulu and English.

Top networking tip:

Be yourself.

My favourite restaurant for a business lunch is:

Mr Wong, Sydney. It’s fairly central, a good atmosphere and reasonable prices.

My favourite advert is:

Any advertisement that is smart, witty, and culturally inclusive. If you pushed me to choose one, it would be this Medibank ad:

My must-have gadget is:

My smartphone – I couldn’t live without it. I call, text, make bookings, read, listen to music, connect with people all over the world. How did we manage without them?

My favourite media is:

Online news. That’s the other thing I do through my smartphone – keep up to date with what’s happening.

My favourite TV show is:

House of Cards

The last book I read:

Elon Musk: How the billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is shaping our future – what an amazing visionary.

My mantra / philosophy is:

You can be strong in business and still be a compassionate, understanding person.

I got into advertising/ad tech/marketing etc because:

As a student, I wanted to be a print journalist. I applied to our local newspaper for a job and as soon as I set foot in the newsroom, I knew that was it. I’ve done lots of different jobs including a journalist, radio producer and presenter, but it all came together when I moved into advertising.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:

Somewhere else in the media. It’s my home.

In five years' time I'll be:

Excited by the advances in digital media.

Define your job in one word:


What's your poison:


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