‘Success has no mold’: Exceptional Women of the World featuring Gladys Kong, UberMedia

Gladys Kong, UberMedia CEO

Determination is a theme that runs through Gladys Kong’s life thread.

The UberMedia CEO's actions can sometimes belie her manner. Though cool, calm and collected, Kong has the entrepreneurial fire that helped her deservedly ascend to the rare air of the most senior of leadership. And though the manic chaos of startups and entrepreneurship swirls around her on a constant basis, the Hong Kong native finds great solace in the thrill of the hunt.

Starting her career path with the legendary founder of IdeaLab, Bill Gross, in 1999, Kong’s initial inspiration that illustrated that anything is truly possible began when she was 10 years old and saw the Great Wall of China for the first time. It opened her mind, thinking that if her “ancestors could do this with no technology, what’s going to stop me from doing anything in life?”

A massive sports fan, Kong sees parallels between the path of entrepreneurs, startups and sports. It’s not so much about the wins and losses, but rather the notion of the comeback — knowing that, even when someone is knocked down, they have the capacity to overcome adversity and do what they believe is their destiny.

Like athletes and entrepreneurs, the elements of surprise and strategy are important attributes to Kong. Despite being told she “should be a programmer,” she knew that working with people and leading teams was her future.

Additionally, it should come as no surprise that Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is her recommended read and one that “still stands” in understanding a competitor.

As with anyone in her line of work, data is huge, but, in another surprising twist, Kong is a massive proponent of small — knowing that by filtering the noise and distilling the big into manageable parts, more people can benefit. It’s part of the beautiful art of data that Kong masterfully navigates — the raw notes that “can turn into beautiful music”.

In the final analysis, though, it does come down to her determination, care, vast intelligence, curiosity and intuitive leadership that has shaped a most impressive career and path — one that has no mold and is paved with the chance to be there first at something truly great.

Exceptional Women of the World is a podcast that highlights and celebrates the great achievements, lives and POV of amazing women throughout the world of advertising, marketing, digital, tech and creativity. Started as Exceptional Women Out West, you can listen to previous episodes here. If you would like to nominate exceptional women to be part of the show, please complete this form:

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Doug Zanger

Doug Zanger is the Americas editor for The Drum. He leads the Americas editorial team’s content activity in the growing region. Based in Portland, Oregon, he is committed to sharing the most meaningful stories that benefit the global industry and its people. A Minnesota native, Zanger has covered a wide range of brands, issues and personalities, including Aloe Blacc, Seu Jorge, Wendy Clark, Susan Credle, Dan Wieden, Jeff Goodby and more. Fiercely dedicated to diversity, equality and talent, he has interviewed several women in leadership roles through his Exceptional Women of the World podcast.

All by Doug