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The Drum's 'Unsung Heroes' series is a celebration of the people in the industry who slog hard behind the limelight for their companies, brands and clients. As they are seldom in the spotlight for their contribution to the success of campaigns, this is their time to shine.

As the director of global sales operations at Exponential, Maija Gwynn act as a conduit between the sales organisation and the rest of the business. She utilises her sales management background and skill in solving operational and business challenges. By focusing on platforms, processes and policies that support the sales force, Gwynn’s role enables them to focus on their main task of driving revenue.

Why is your job important?

Exponential has sales staff in 17 countries, and operational roles across multiple offices. It’s important to have someone with an understanding of the departments, systems and processes involved in the sales workflow, and able to advocate for the sales team’s needs.

What is the hardest and stressful part of your job?

Ensuring business decisions work for all stakeholders. Also trying to get people in New York, New Delhi, Melbourne and Kiev on a group conference call!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Formulating and delivering solutions that improve efficiencies and make people’s jobs easier.

First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?

Explaining an adtech company such as Exponential to a layperson is challenging enough, and then my role within it is fluid and hard to explain. So, I think people probably just try to change the topic!

How would you correct/explain to them what you do then?

People probably presume my role, being in operations, involves a lot of time using systems, but it is actually all about diplomacy, problem solving and communication.

Is there anything you want to change in your job?

Being based in the US would be an easier time zone to manage, but I’d never want to leave Melbourne.

In your role, what is the most memorable thing that you've done?

Managing the content for regional sales summits have been memorable projects. While it’s not my usual line of work, there’s a lot of satisfaction gained from the internal diplomacy required in the lead up, seeing it all come together successfully, and the clear benefit for all attendees.

Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?

I don’t have a specific role model within the industry, but I love the ongoing learning and mentorship I gain from Exponential colleagues across the globe.

If you weren’t a director of sales operations what would you be?

A naturopath!

If you think of someone who deserves to be part of this series, please get in touch with Shawn Lim and nominate them. You can read the previous feature on the computer graphics supervisor, here.