Marie-Claude Mallat is the founder and director of Sydney-based MCMPR; a boutique agency specialising in communications, brand strategy and creative ideas. MCMPR represents some of the best in the business, including Zimmermann, Net-A-Porter, Loewe, Bassike, Sephora… and of course, Alpha-H. As part of our Alpha Women series, Marie-Claude shares here some highlighters from her career and journey to date.
Tell us about your career journey.
I’m the Director of MCMPR which is a Creative Communications agency, based in Sydney Australia, I founded the agency 25 years ago when I was 28 years old. I’ve always had an interest in fashion and beauty, starting from watching my mother work in a fashion manufacturing factory when I was a child, to working in department stores whilst studying marketing and communications.
I studied Fashion Design at a reputable Art school in Sydney and had an absolute ball, met incredible people, many of whom I still know now and gained experience with emerging fashion and lifestyle brands in their studios and in manufacturing. I wasn’t sure what path I would peruse, I thought I would design but it turned out that I was hopeless at drawing, but I was excellent at writing and good at talking in that I liked to talk… a lot.
I identified a window of opportunity to establish a preeminent public relations agency that paralled and even rivalled the international service that was being offered. I saw an opportunity for an agency for more emerging and avant garde brands trying to do something a bit different.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud of the relationships I’ve forged within the industry here in Australia and abroad. Some of them span well over 30 years. I’m also really proud of service reputation our business has built and maintained, and the conscious with which we operate, in what is sometimes an unconscious industry, especially the steps we’re taking to get our operation to be carbon neutral by the end of this year.
Biggest challenge in your career?
Although I’ve faced, and overcome, many challenging moments throughout my career, having babies and maintaining a business was definitely most challenging for me. Finding the time and balance to do both well was hugely challenging and it took me a long time to figure out what was going to be right for me and my family. I used to beat myself up when I was at work about not being with the kids and beat myself up at home when I wasn’t at work. That got tiring, so I started asking myself are you doing your best? Are you having fun? If the answser was nom I'd give myself another chat and usually the response was if it's not working, fix it. Don't complain, make it better.
What role did other supportive women play in your career progression?
Supportive women have either been role models when I haven’t exactly known the path forward or they have been great cheerleaders and given me that extra boost of self-belief when it was lacking. I’ve been able to learn a lot from my contemporaries whether it was style, attitude, drive, tenacity, or practical things such as how to change a car tyre without needing a man. I have always surrounded myself with fun, vibrant, unrestrained creative women that make me laugh.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Everything you’ve learned is valuable for the work you still do today. Continue to immerse yourself in creativity, pursue your passion, points of interest and add layers to your experience. You’ll be presented with many windows of opportunity, don’t be afraid to jump through them.
Which Alpha value resonates with you most and why?
Awareness, Authenticity, Adaptability, Attitude, Ask, A-Team.
Awareness – It’s so important to be informed. Tap in, don’t tap out. Don’t operate on auto-pilot. Be engaged.
Authenticity – Allows for better and truer connection, whether that’s with your employer, your colleagues, your friends, your family.
Attitude - Everything is a matter of perspective. The right attitude helps you overcome fear, difficulty, obstacles and allows you to have the life and career you deserve.
Advice for Alpha-H Alpha Women?
Wherever there is fear, there is work. Push through the fear and what you find on the other side is usually pretty damn exciting and satisfying.