Perspectives - Paul Sigaloff at Yahoo - Moving mountains

By AdNews | 13 December 2021

AdNews is following the WFH Diaries with a series of Perspectives, asking two questions: What did you learn in 2021 and what are you looking forward to in 2022? We've also encouraged the industry to glam, dress for the best, and face next year with optimism. 

Paul Sigaloff, Vice President ANZ INSEA at Yahoo

What was the biggest challenge of 2021?
Back in March, I thought the biggest mountain I would have to climb this year would be Mt Kosciuszko for UnLtd/Whitelion’s Three Peaks Challenge. Little did I know that it would end up being a small mound in comparison to the challenging terrain ahead of me…

Like any summit, 2021 has held ups and downs.

The ups: We’ve had one of our best years yet - smashing it from a revenue, growth, and engagement perspective across both our people and customer sentiment.

The downs: Maintaining the energy, inspiration and connectivity in myself and in my team. Let’s face it, we’re all drained and a bit over it. Despite being a natural optimist, I was surprised to find that after such a long period in lockdown even my sunny outlook was put to the test.

Last year we welcomed virtual meetings, events, and social gatherings with open arms because they were new and convenient. This year the excitement has well and truly worn off. Hosting yet another virtual team activity to build connection just doesn’t cut it anymore when we’ve all got serious screen fatigue.

But a strong mind can move mountains. I’ve found the best thing I can do as a leader is to understand and accommodate where people are on their current journey. This is why over 40% of our staff are now mental health first aid accredited, and why we’re hosting open discussions on burnout. Awareness and education is crucial.

In 2022 I’m focusing on how we can dial up connection and energy, draw inspiration from everywhere to maintain business momentum.

What did you learn?
I’ve always known my team was talented but I've truly been blown away by the camaraderie, spirit and resilience of the people around me.
If you asked me pre-pandemic whether we could work from home whilst maintaining/building our growth I’d tell you to keep dreaming. I’ve been proven completely wrong.

The passion, energy, professionalism and drive of my team has blown my expectations away. I’ve witnessed record engagement through every facet of the business - from our interactions with customers, creation of new experiences for consumers, to our social work within the community and our news coverage.

Everyday I learn from, am inspired and energised by the brilliant people around me.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?
Personally: Seeing everyone in person again. Talking in real time with no lag. Corridor conversations. Creating experiences that are not COVID-related. Real, human connection that isn’t reliant on the wifi connection.
Professionally: For us at Yahoo, it’s a really exciting time. Under our new ownership we’re doubling down on what we do best - connecting people to their passions. There’s so much potential to scale and grow and that’s really exciting me.

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