Managing director of communications and marketing firm, Edelman Malaysia, Mazuin Zin was recognised last year as a leader who “inspires women” within her organisation. Mazuin is the first Malaysian woman from the communications industry to get on the Financial Times’ HERoes list that champions women in business. It’s an honour that Mazuin attributes to the many heroes in her 20-year career who have shaped her leadership style.
“I am both proud and humbled by this honour. It means a great deal but the reality is that the win isn’t something that I can claim totally. I was lucky enough to be around some very strong mentors, both women and men, who were amazing individuals.
“At the end of the day, great leaders are made of amazing individuals and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with many,” says the 44-year-old from Kuala Lumpur who was brought into Edelman in 2017 to strengthen its regional communications marketing efforts.
Mazuin’s background is in advertising. In her illustrious career (she was also named CEO of the year in 2017 by Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Asia, a global network of dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate leaders.
Mazuin has worked alongside many strong women who were icons in the advertising world, including the late Yasmin Ahmad at Leo Burnett and Faridah Merican at Ogilvy and Mather.
“They really put me through the grind and taught me what the industry was all about,” explains Mazuin.
A good leader, she emphasises, has to be able to draw out the best in others.
“One thing about me is that I never give up. I see everything as a challenge and I am determined to champion the good in the people I work with their capabilities and abilities. I don’t give up even when people are not what I expect them to be. Instead, I believe in coaching them.
“To be a good leader, I need to take the time to impart to my juniors what I have learnt from my mentors. As leaders, we have to make our juniors better versions of ourselves when we were doing their jobs. That’s how we create a top-grade generation of workers. That’s how we move forward,” says Mazuin.
With a workforce that is largely women – 70% of Edelman Malaysia is made up of women – Mazuin uses her experience in navigating through male-heavy boardrooms to empower the women in her team to “take control of situations”.
“I’ve experienced it (discrimination) too. Being petite, people have assumed that I was either ‘too young’ or ‘too inexperienced’. In a boardroom full of men in suits, sometimes it’s hard to be seen. But it all boils down to how you position yourself in that room. Make sure that you are in control and then you just do what needs to be done. This isn’t being cocky. But you have to get people to see you as an individual and not as a woman and to do that, you have to show them that you can get the job done,” says Mazuin.
As a leader, Mazuin also prioritises open communication with her team as the key to building good relationships.
“We discuss things openly. We have to because this is sort of our extended family in a way. We allow our teams to work from home. I don’t want them spending long hours in the office just to show me that they are slogging. At the end of the day, it is the results that matter and as professionals, they realise that they can’t drop the ball so it doesn’t really matter if they work from home or the office,” she says frankly.
As much as her work experiences have shaped her, Mazuin credits her parents for setting her up for success by always demanding that she and her three siblings “do their best”.
“My parents are retired civil servants and they always demanded that we did our best in everything that we did. They made us see that every decision we made could have an impact on our lives for years to come and that was something that stuck in my head,” she says.