Many modern women are making waves in various industries while juggling their roles as wife, mother, daughter, and advocates of charitable institutions. The world has recently seen a strong sense of global activism towards gender parity like #MeToo and #TimesUp. While change will take its time to fully settle in, women are speaking up and are finally being heard. We are celebrating International Women’s Day with a round-up of inspiring and remarkable women in Macau. #PressforProgress
Alex Webster Aranchikov is the head of communications at Meiburg Wine Media. This dynamic career woman admits that she is still learning when it comes to balancing work and family life. She attributes her daily success to the support system of her family and friends. We talked to her about change, opportunities, and social media. There’s a lot to learn from this inspiring working mom.
What do you love most about your work?
Meiburg Wine Media is a really dynamic and diverse business. We run a top wine school. We plan, host and manage a huge number of events for wine regions, brands and our own branded festivals and events each year. For me, this means planning, managing and executing communications strategies for all these different activities. I love the spirit and passion of so many people in the wine industry in Hong Kong and China, as well as having the chance to work with many winemakers and wine regions to help them achieve greater success in Asia.
What prompted you to choose this career path?
Communications has always been the ideal career path for me. I love meeting people, hearing their stories and strategizing the best way to share their stories. I aim high to meet the objectives of my clients’ brief may, be it an event, an online campaign, a multi-media project or an education venture.
What was the greatest challenge you’ve ever faced in work or life?
Moving to Macau nearly 10 years ago was a great challenge since the work situation was not what I expected. Initially, I wanted to take up a full-time job, but I had to change my tact and move into consulting in a new country, knowing almost nobody and nor the local language. However, this led me to meet Debra Meiburg, Master of Wine, who has become an incredible boss, mentor, and friend and opened up the world of wine and the many possibilities it presents to me.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from those challenges?
Be open to change and take opportunities as they arise. What starts out as seemingly small and perhaps totally not-my-thing, may, in fact, turn into a wonderful new challenge, or spark a change in the course of your direction that you never expected.
Which woman inspires you? Why?
I greatly admire my late grandmother, who was certainly a woman before her time. Fiercely independent, she worked to support herself and her children, traveled far and wide on her own, and had some amazing adventures. She instilled tremendous independence in all the women in her family especially my mom who is also a perfect example of an independent, focused and insightful woman.
What does it mean to be a woman in this digital age?
Whether you are male or female, the glut of information and misinformation available at your fingertips can be seriously overwhelming, especially when considering it in relation to your kids. As a media professional, I fully appreciate the positive use of social and digital media. But the misuse of it, when it comes to bullying, exploitation, and sexualization is alarming. I think young women, in particular, need to be smart about their public profiles and guarding their privacy, as well as understanding the unrealistic objectification of women presented so readily in the mass media.
What’s your secret advice to maintain a work-family balance?
I am still working on it, to be honest. But being organized is a good start. I am a die-hard meal planner and I hit the gym before the kids wake-up. I am very lucky to balance working from my home office with commutes to Hong Kong. I am in the Hong Kong office twice a week, depending on the events. I also have a wonderful domestic helper, a supportive husband and fantastic group of friends certainly. As they say, it takes a village to raise a family!
What’s the best advice you could give aspiring young women?
No matter what field you are in, surround yourself with supportive people who believe in you and whom you believe in. When you are in communications, if you don’t feel passionate about what you are doing, it’s pretty tough to convince others to believe in your story or your cause.
What are your favorite things to do in Macau when you’re not working?
My family and I love to ride our scooters. We love going through the tunnel to the University or heading down to Hac Sa or along some of the great new bike tracks Macau has these days. We also like to explore the new cafes popping up in Old Taipa and Coloane Village and spend time with friends.
What are your favorite family-friendly restaurants in Macau?
- Nothing beats a gorgeous late afternoon play on the beach, plus
pizza and sangria at La Gondola.
- We love to sit outside at Dragon Portuguese restaurant in Broadway on a nice afternoon. We watch the sunset and the kids zoom around in safety on their scooters or exploring the wonderful gardens or activities they set up throughout the year.
- My daughters go mad for the Carbonara at Bene.
What’s your recipe for a power breakfast?
I am a smoothie girl! Nut milk plus magical green powder, a source of protein, and plenty of frozen banana and berries makes my morning. Oh, and I never skip a hot water, lemon and apple cider vinegar concoction to begin the day.