Working at Mattel: Toys to learn

From 2013 to 2014 I had the amazing opportunity to work for the worldwide toys company Mattel. This was a dream come true to me, all my childhood on Christmas and birthdays when opening my gifts and ripping the wrapping paper one of the first things I could see is the Mattel logo. I was a happy girl then, I got my Barbie.

This is not a massive consume company as my previous experience, nor a service company as I have always wanted to work for. This was a brand new challenge and I was very excited about it.

In my year as a brand manager in Mattel Iberia I learned a lot of things. It made me a better person and not only professionally talking, but also personally. I proved myself I am able to do things that when I started I thought I couldn’t. It made me raise my standards in many, many aspects.

These are a few I want to share with you:

· Listen, observe and don’t be afraid to ask: Hands down, I was surrounded by the best professionals I’ve met in my life. I didn’t know at first anything about toys, Iberia market (where I was living then), and actually it was my first experience in the marketing department. It was all very intimidating, I felt lost many times. Even once I was close to give up, but then I just changed my attitude. I observed… a lot. I took notes of everything, I interiorized every single thing a heard and learned. It sure felt as baby steps, but soon I got there. Something very important is: don’t be afraid to ask. It does not show you are ignorant, it’s all the way around it shows you have interest to learn and to be better, and in marketing, as in life, you never stop learning.

· Humble is key: Something I admire of the team, is that even though there are true marketing cracks, they were always open to listen the opinions of those who work with them. Never think you are superior from anybody, even though you may be the regional top of the tops, you don’t have all the answers. Sometimes they may be stupid ideas, but hey! You could also find interesting point of views that may surprise you. It also creates a good environment that brings the best of your team. So in one way or another you will benefit from it.

· Leadership is trust and empowerment: A great leader is the one who shows you how to do it and then leaves you on your own, and without you knowing it, he or she is in the back holding you…just in case. But it better not be the case! They let you take over the situation so you can actually live it and embrace it. Once you own your responsibilities you will be more efficient and passionate about them. Yes, you will make mistakes, you may go blank in a presentation, or don’t know how to answer a question in the meeting. But the true leader will be there, to hold your back or give you the look that will inspire you to make it better, just as how you practice the day before.

· Living the brand is basic: The brand you are managing has to –by default- be part of your life. You have to believe in it, love it, and respect it. If you don’t, no one else will. I was in the Boys business unit, managing Games and Action figures. As the youngest one in my family of 4 daughters I never –ever- played with a superhero. That was not an obstacle, I learned the history of the characters, and I learned how boys play, read insights of what they are looking for, and understood what excites them. The passion you have for your brands is shown in your work ethic and lastly in the numbers.