Ready for the road ahead

Christine Lyons will officially take over the post of general manager from April next year. Picture: RAMA

EQUIPPED with the undying backing of her husband and three daughters and coupled with her close to two decades in the media industry, Christine Lyons is ready to take up the challenge of the general manager for the oldest newspaper company in the country.

The Fiji Times Board chairman Kirit Patel said the appointment will be effective April 1, 2019 and confirmed that in the intervening period Ms Lyons will be completing Leadership Development Senior Leaders program abroad.

Ms Lyons yesterday said it was humbling and also a privilege being called to help lead a 149-year company that continued to stand the test of time.

“I have worked across various positions during my tenure in television and now in print.

During that time I have had the benefit of gaining valuable learnings from different leadership styles.

“One important lesson is that in the media while patience, empathy and humility are vital, one must develop a very thick skin to criticism and that is something I feel helps make a better leader,” she said.

Ms Lyons says after close to two decades in the media industry, there always comes a time when one must take a leap of faith and place complete trust in themselves to attain higher goals.

“And so for me this is a unique opportunity that I feel I must grab with both hands and try and make a difference. The Fiji Times is a legacy brand and it will be my goal to build on that rich and proud history of resilience, integrity and trust.”

Proving some critics wrong, Ms Lyons said the glass ceiling in many industries including the media had long been shattered and she was no exception when it came to working in a male-dominated career.

“I have three daughters and I always remind them that anything is possible. If you think it, you certainly can do it.

“Even as I assume this new role in a few months time, I am fortunate to have been able to be mentored by a very positively engaged GM Mr Hank Arts as well as an extraordinarily supportive board who also bring with them strong financial acumen, vision and passion for the business which I also share.

“My immediate focus is to help reinvigorate who we are as a media institution in Fiji as we adapt to the rapidly changing digital media landscape. Our key assets are our people, and that’s also an area I hope to infuse more creativity as we look to continue to evolve and add value for our loyal advertisers and various stakeholders, and particularly our readers out there.

“Striking the right balance between our traditional hard copy newspaper and an aggressive digital platform will also be a key priority for me. The future is all about credible and compelling content and tailoring your product to your advertisers, readers and market in general,” she said.

“We are very grateful for Lyons’ leadership qualities and contributions to the business which she has steered at the time of need and growth which all speaks volumes of the media industry experience she has. We are confident in Ms Lyons’ abilities to continue to grow the brand Fiji Times. I am also pleased that we have been able to train and promote someone within our business and that too for the general manager’s role. This is a positive result of an internal strategic HR program and leadership developments to build talent pool of people who are agile and aspiring,” Mr Patel said.

Mr Patel also congratulated Annie Robinson for her appointment as national sales & marketing manager from her current role of marketing manager with 10 year’s experience in classified and marketing at The Fiji Times.

Anne Robinson. Picture: RAMA

“Annie is a graduate of the Leadership Fiji Program and currently pursuing her diploma in Marketing at FNU.”

Mr Patel added that the duo’s promotion at managerial positions has proved that women do have necessary credentials and capabilities to be leaders of organisations.

“Our missions are also to promote women in commercial leadership for them to be in the executive levels. There’s a need to support the recognition of women in leadership
roles as we believe in equal opportunities.

“As we embark on celebrating the 150 years for The Fiji Times we take this opportunity to congratulate Christine and Annie for their new appointments and we look forward
to drawing on the experience and leadership of their’s in continuing the growth of The Fiji Times and taking it to the next level for the benefit of our readers, shareholders and nation as whole.”

Ms Robinson said she was excited to take on this new role and acknowledged that like every other role in a company it came with its challenges.

“But I’m confi dent we have a great team. If anything the 10 years of experience will better equip me to face the challenges in this new role.

“My most immediate plans will be to meet our loyal clients, meet potentially new customers, meet with the newsagents that sell our product.

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