Industry Profile: Readly CEO Maria Hedengren

16 June 2020

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

This week we speak to Readly CEO Maria Hedengren.

Time in current role:
One year. I joined Readly in April 2019.

How would you describe what the company does?
Readly is a digital subscription service that lets customers have unlimited access to nearly 5,000 national and international magazines - all in one app.

What do you do day-to-day?
I start the day with a Zoom yoga class (our instructor is also a talented colleague), followed by a proper breakfast. (I’m a breakfast person).

I then kick off by answering emails before jumping into meetings.

Readly is a scale-up company and it’s growing quickly. As a result, it requires continual sharing of information across teams as well as maintaining a close and continuous dialogue with different external stakeholders.

A North Star for me is achieving collaborative success - not only internally but also externally.

After a day of meetings I hit the gym. I round off the day by making sure I’ve not missed any important emails and sending some love and appreciation to our team. Winning as a team is one of Readly’s core values and it’s important to me that the team feel appreciated.

Define your job in one word:

I got into tech because:
I admire the entrepreneurial spirit that some technology companies have. This is something I recognised in Readly - it has an entrepreneurial spirit with big ambitions. As a person I'm propelled by an ever-changing world in which technology plays a big part.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
Being present as a leader and ensuring I’m being effective with my time.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
Gender equality in the tech industry. We need to get better at attracting women into programming and development engineering roles.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
I’ve worked at a number of tech companies including NetEnt AB, a platform and games provider to some of the world’s largest casino and sports betting operators and iZettle, a mobile payment company.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
My mother. From an early age she taught me to believe in myself and to have the ability to tackle challenges. “You got this” are words that I live by.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Don’t let fear of failing stop you. Surround yourself with people that have greater expertise than you have, especially within your team. That is the first step to a decentralized organisation and unleashing the power of a team.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
I don’t know, but definitely something that has to do with leadership development and inspiring people to reach their potential.

My mantra is:
Take care of your health. Prioritize eating, sleeping and exercising and you will live longer, be happier and have energy to share with family and teams at work!

My favourite advert is:
Readly's latest, of course. We built the creative idea for the ad around "making your spare time count". This message is more important than ever in times like this, when Australians are spending much of their time at home. We wanted to inspire people to spend their time on something that counts, learning new recipes, being inspired to redesign their home, or discover new hobbies, curbing the urge to aimlessly scroll through social media. In saying that, Harlso (the balancing dog in the advert) is a true star!

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
I listen to music and watch series, but I’m of course an avid magazine fan. I get most of my inspiration from reading.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I am an open magazine.

In five years' time I'll be:
… the proud CEO of Readly making magazine content available to even more readers across all continents.

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