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.
Dana Sopah, an operations manager at Ultimate Asset Asia Pacific, a recruitment firm that connects professionals to the latest media and digital jobs, is a jack of all trades. From booking villas in Bali to taking videos and doing accounting, there is nothing Dana will not do to ensure that everything is running smoothly in the company.
Why is your job important?
I am the backbone of Ultimate Asset APAC. I make sure day-to-day operations run smoothly so that others in the business can perform their jobs effectively. When there’s any issues (HR, IT or anything related), I’ll be the one who will solve the issue.
I have also taken on additional roles since the beginning of the year after we took payroll and HR matters in-house to save outsourcing cost.
I believe without a good support in the office, it can become quite chaotic.
What is the hardest and most stressful part of your job?
Accounting and video editing.
I have never done it before – but I am a quick learner. I observed, read and hands-on on my own. Everyday is a learning journey for me, so, it is up to me to learn new skills to make myself expandable within an organisation.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The satisfaction of completing an “impossible” or “hard-to-do” task.
For example, finding a villa in Bali for 24 guests for our annual talent summit, where everyone will be staying under one roof. This was a hard task because most villas in Bali require five days minimum stay (during peak season) or only able to accommodate up to 16 guests.
I managed to pull it off.
First thing that comes to people’s minds when you tell them your job?
Are you a “personal assistant?”
How would you correct/explain to them what you do?
It is more than just a personal assistant – I have plenty of other scope within Ultimate Asset.
I'm pretty much the “backbone” of the organisation. From accounting to design to administration to even an event planner. I pretty much do everything except recruitment.
Is there anything you want to change in your job?
I enjoy what I am doing now. The scope is endless and it is never a boring day at Ultimate Asset. I am really happy that I’ve found a workplace where I don’t feel like dragging my feet to work anymore.
What campaign that you worked on are you most proud of?
I love organising events or parties. The one I am most proud of is the talent summit, which I am able to organise on a yearly basis.
This year is our third year and for me to be able to pull everything together with little help, is just really satisfying. The satisfaction come from clients and colleagues who enjoy themselves during the trip.
Who is someone you want to emulate in your industry?
Definitely my boss, James Lyon, one of the founders of Ultimate Asset. Since I have joined the company, he has impacted my personal and career growth. He built Ultimate Asset into a business where everyone feels comfortable to share their ideas, work issues, and even personal issues.
It feels like a family where everyone has everyone’s backs and it is so rewarding and productive when we have such a good working environment. This is the sort of business foundation I would like to build/work in the future.
If you weren’t in your current position, what would you be?
I will probably still be a flight attendant.
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 most recent feature, which looks at the role of a graphic designer, here.