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Christabel Fernandes

Christabel Fernandes

Account and Brand Manager, McCann Erikson, 2008
Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communication) Curtin University

You don’t need a lot of money in order to be successful. Being happy and contented with what you have and be able to juggle work and family is a blessing.

19 November 2008

Making waves in advertising

Written by Christine Chan

In five years since graduating with a Mass Communications degree, Christabel Fernandes has moved up the advertising agency ranks to account and brand manager. She carries her success with poise, confident she will tackle any new challenges with the same energy she had when she first embarked on her career.

Life changed for Christabel Fernandes the day she walked into Limkokwing University.  As she put it, it was an experience unlike any other in her life.

Limkokwing University is a multicultural university, making it rich with values, cultures, and backgrounds; so different from what I experienced during high school days.

“Being an Ipoh girl,  coming to the city to enrol at an international university was really an eye-opener. Limkokwing   University is a multicultural university, making it rich with values, cultures, and backgrounds; so different from what I experienced during high school days,” she said.

Her educational experience as she pursued her degree, majoring in advertising, was enhanced by her stint as student ambassador.

“It was great and it felt good representing Limkokwing University during educational road shows and exhibitions. It was exciting and I was proud to be able to represent my university,” said Christabel, who worked part-time in the Marketing Department while studying.

She quickly landed a job as junior account executive at a leading advertising agency in Malaysia,  J. Walter Thompson after graduating in 2003.

She worked on a multinational brand, Ford Malaysia, initially. Two years later, the agency swept four awards for its Ford ads — Cannes Bronze Award,  Kancil Bronze Award, MC² Bronze Award and the Ad Fest Bangkok — which left her exhilarated to be part of a winning team.

The following year, her team won the Kancil Merit Award for another Ford ad. The same year, she was promoted to account manager, just two years after joining the company.

She joined McCann Erikson in 2007 and was put in charge of two multinational accounts — Loreal and Maybelline, which she enjoyed tremendously.

“I was happy. I love both brands as it represents me. I love beauty and cosmetics. That is why the job fits me so well. The brands were close to my heart,” she said.

In early 2008, Christabel was challenged to launch a new lipstick without the usage of traditional media. She hit on the idea of using teenaged bloggers to spread information about the product. After identifying the bloggers, she organised a make-up party for them and soon after that, the new lipstick range sold like hot cakes as the girls went home to blog, creating a lot of attention and feedback from all the girls online.

That was one of Christabel’s most successful projects.

“I love what I’m doing. My plans are to help my clients to grow and to service them in 2009. New challenges are expected as an economic slowdown is expected,”  she said.

Being happy and contented with what you have and able to juggle work and family is a blessing.

At 28, her plans for the future include opening her own boutique. “A boutique will come in handy when I need more time for myself and my family,” she said.

She names her university sweetheart, Mark Chew, as the source of inspiration in her life and work. They met in Australia and Mark later moved to Malaysia to be with Christabel. He operates a graphic and interior design company as well as a bakery.

“You don’t need a lot of money in order to be successful,” said Christabel. “Being happy and contented with what you have and able to juggle work and family is a blessing.”

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