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Women in Media - Bobbi Mahlab

Welcome to MediaScope's new profile series where we ask 'Women in Media' about their career and experiences in our industry.  Our aim is to create awareness of the opportunities and ongoing challenges for women in the media, marketing, advertising and publishing industry - and hopefully generate some level of conversation within companies and employers of our capabilities and needs. Thanks to Bobbi for getting involved.

Please subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to meet other great 'Women in Media'.

Name: Bobbi MahlabWomen in Media - Bobbi Mahlab
Company: Mahlab Media
Role: Managing Director

Tell us about your industry background?

After university I did as stint with a marketing agency and then finally got the courage to try and get a journalism graduate cadetship. I freelanced for anyone who would give me a go until I was offered a cadetship in the business section of the Melbourne Herald. I then spent time on the launch of the Sunday Age before joining Text Media. I worked at Text in Melbourne, Canberra and then Sydney as the Publishing Director of their NSW custom publishing division. In 1997 I started Mahlab Media.

What is your role and what do you do?

I lead Mahlab Media, a custom publishing company. My job is to set the strategy for the company, to ask the right questions, and to guide and nourish senior staff. I am also the chief sales person. This means it is my job find and assess opportunities and build relationships.

How do you personally manage your work/life balance?

I live my life in a small geographical triangle. My office, home and kids school are in the same suburb. I have almost zero travel time and can duck out to events or home whenever I need to.  My kids and my staff’s kids are also welcome at our office which means if they are unable to go to school (and can sit reasonably still)  they can spend the day here.

I think the notion that there is some attainable, constant state of work/life balance is crazy. Sometimes you have to be work obsessed, sometimes you need to be family obsessed. The key is having flexibility to do what you need to do when you need to do it.

Outline your views on the general media market & the position of women?

The internet has created the third industrial revolution. It is an incredibly exciting time where much is new and everyone in publishing and media is learning. Whilst mainstream media is having terrible time, extraordinary things are happening in niche media.

The internet is a great boon for entrepreneurial women. Woman are starting online enabled businesses at a rapid pace, often because they can do business from anywhere, anytime. They are not confined by traditional hours or norms.
Some of the most interesting and successful new publishing businesses are women led – The Huffington Post, Private Media.

What advice can you offer to women who are considering a long- term career in our industry?

Work for talented people who will teach you. Endeavour to broadly understand all the pieces of the puzzle so that you always have a sense of the big picture even if your working world is in the detail. Support other women.

What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them?

Somehow as a gender, women get a confidence bypass at birth. If I had felt more confident earlier in my career I would have told people what I wanted. If you make what you want clear, you have a better chance of getting it!

What can our industry do right now to better recognise & support women & families?

Women need to understand that having children doesn’t mean they need to dumb down or pause their career. And companies need to ensure they stretch and promote talented women with children. If you have to work, or choose to work, it may as well be challenging and interesting!

What’s your favourite business and personal magazine, site or program?

My favourite magazine is The Economist. Their covers are pure joy and their journalism is spirited, deep and usually beautifully written.


If you know a 'Woman in Media' you'd like to see profiled please get in touch with your suggestion.

Any comments? - please go to MediaScope's Facebook page and don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to meet other great Women in Media.


Further Resources

 - Women in Media - see other women profiled in this new series

 - Digital People Profiles - over the past 2 and a half years we've profiled 100 of the most well-known and experienced people in the Australian digital media industry through trade site - Digital Ministry

 - Media Owner Profiles - we ask some of Australia's most successful media owners about running their business and ask them to offer advice to other media owners


Other Pages of Interest