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Spotlight Series: Mona Kinal, Chief Marketing Officer, G2A.COM

Mona Kinal

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Dive into the inspiring career journey of Mona Kinal, Chief Marketing Officer at G2A.COM, with over two decades of experience in diverse industries. Mona shares insights on shaping her career path, key roles in marketing, female role models, proud career moments, sought-after skills, the tech sector's support, and advice for newcomers.

Mona Kinal is a passionate brand strategist and results-driven marketing communications professional, democratic leader and creative storyteller.

Mona has more than 20 years experience working for international and local companies in Poland and abroad, including as Head of Communications Emerging Markets at Viacom across over 110 markets in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and India, and as Head of Communications Central Europe at Discovery Networks Europe and Head of Consumer Communications Central and Eastern Europe at the international agency MMD Public Relations.

Before G2A, Mona has been associated with the retail industry and leaders of omnichannel sales globally – first as CMO of 4F, 4F Junior and 4Faces in OTCF SA, then as CMO in the polish Kazar Group and CMO at the Empik Group. Currently CMO at G2A.COM – the world’s largest global marketplace for digital entertainment in the form of games, gift cards, software and more.

How did you land your current role? Was it planned? 

From the outset of my career journey, I consciously constructed a path of continuous growth and learning. My approach involved immersing myself in diverse areas, acquiring competencies strategically to build a unique skill set. This ranged from my early days in a big global operated agency, serving clients across various industries, to being part of global campaigns and events like the MTV Music Awards and MTV Africa Music Awards during the nascent stages of influencer marketing.

My career further evolved into the dynamic world of fashion, where I took part in fashion shows, launched my own clothing brand, and even ventured into television programs. The journey continued with the orchestration of intricate marketing campaigns for both global and local brands, such as the collaboration with 4F on Olympic-themed collections.

Throughout, my goal remained consistent – to craft robust strategies grounded in powerful insights and executed by the best teams. I intentionally built teams with a unique mix of competencies, predispositions, and potential. I sought environments that embraced creativity, boldness, unconventional thinking, and scalability. I’ve always been driven by a passion for transformative change, steering clear of the status quo in favour of progression. My mindset thrives in an atmosphere of initiative and operates most effectively when driving change.

G2A.COM, for me, is a space that provides not just room but an expansive arena for possibilities and scalability. It aligns perfectly with my ethos, fostering an environment that encourages creative thinking, bold initiatives, and continuous development. It’s a realm where I can leverage my extensive background to contribute to and thrive within a dynamic and forward-thinking colleagues.

What are the key roles in your field of work, and why did you choose your current expertise? 

I am a driven brand strategist and marketing communications expert, with over two decades of experience across a diverse range of industries including e-commerce, retail, fashion, sports, TV/media, and entertainment. I am a creative storyteller and democratic leader. I serve as the Chief Marketing Officer of my company, being part of the top management team, which is responsible for guiding the company’s future direction, mission, and vision. Together with my talented team, we shape areas such as performance marketing, trade campaigns, brand reliability and visibility, SEO and content creation, as well as public relations and sustainable development.

Did you (or do you) have a role model in tech or business in general?

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to have outstanding female leaders and role models who have profoundly influenced the leader I am today. From the very beginning, I found myself surrounded by strong, independent women who was always there for me as mentors and showed me that it’s not just possible but powerful to be a leader. Being near these inspiring figures significantly shaped my leadership style, giving me the foundation and drive that I now share and amplify, especially for other women.

I believe that the industry is secondary in this context, even though the technology sector tends to have more male representation. For me, this mission of supporting women in technology has taken on a new level of significance. G2A.COM stands out as a leader in this regard. With a 50/50 gender split in the top management and a team that exhibits balance, including a significant number of women in leading positions within marketing, G2A.COM is pioneering a new and refreshing approach in the tech industry.

A remarkable 40% of G2A.COM’s employees is composed of women, a statistic that is both unconventional and innovative for the tech sector. I take pride in being part of this transformative change, firmly believing that in today’s world, diverse and well-balanced teams can achieve exceptional results. G2A.COM’s commitment to gender equality not only sets a positive example but also reinforces my deep conviction that diverse teams are the key to achieving excellence in the modern workplace. As we advocate for the empowerment of women within our workplace, we are equally dedicated to fostering a supportive environment for women in the gaming industry. Our commitment extends to creating a culture of equality and inclusivity that spans across various sectors.

What are you most proud of in your career, so far? 

Reflecting on my career journey fills me with immense satisfaction and inspiration. One of my greatest achievements is assembling a team of experts, fostering a holistic 360-degree approach to our endeavours. From orchestrating a standout showcase at IG RIO 2016 and the subsequent impactful campaign to crafting my own fashion brand, and successfully navigating the dual roles of a top manager and a mother-slash-surfer – each of these accomplishments has added a layer of fulfilment to my professional narrative.

What truly fuels my passion now is the ability to shape the vision and mission of G2A.COM. The creation of Gate2Adventure brand positioning along the Gate Ready communication platform and spearheading a diversity campaign for a brand celebrated globally for its inclusivity across race, age, gender, religion, and skin colour, stand out as defining moments.

At G2A.COM, we don’t just bring together the best; we deliver extraordinary results and unparalleled digital entertainment to users worldwide. Our commitment to inclusivity ensures that everyone, regardless of their background, experiences the finest digital entertainment at the right time and the best possible price. It’s not just a career – it’s a journey of crafting meaningful, inclusive experiences for a global audience.

Are there any specific skills or traits that you notice companies look for when you’re searching for roles in your field? 

Certainly! In my field, a comprehensive approach is key. I would emphasize the importance of a 360-degree mindset, recognizing that marketing has evolved into essentially a sales function today. It’s a realm deeply rooted in data-driven insights, where the ability to navigate vast datasets is crucial. Companies seek professionals with the agility to adapt, blending the skills of long-term strategic planning with the dynamic nature of agile work methodologies. In the current corporate landscape, visionary thinking, the ability to integrate bold ideas with sales strategies, and adept storytelling have become key skills. Companies are actively seeking professionals who can envision the future, blend creative thinking with revenue-generating solutions, and deliver impactful narratives.

Flexibility is paramount, considering the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of the market. Being adept at harmonizing the analytical prowess of data-driven decision-making with the soft skills required to navigate high-pressure situations is essential. This is especially relevant in times of crises such as the pandemic period or geopolitical conflicts, where the ability to operate effectively under pressure becomes a defining trait.

In essence, a successful candidate in my field not only possesses technical expertise in data-driven marketing but also exhibits a harmonious blend of strategic planning, adaptability, and resilience to thrive in today’s complex and unpredictable business environment.

Has anyone ever tried to stop you from learning and developing in your professional life, or have you found the tech sector supportive? 

Absolutely, my professional journey has been a unique one, navigating through situations where individuals, especially women, often face barriers. I’ve always been a bit of a colourful bird, not always visually fitting the corporate meld and formal work style. My dream was to work with my “feet in the sand,” and it’s only with G2A.COM and its supper open culture and pro-people/relations approach that this dream became a reality.

Currently, I work while living and raising my child in Tenerife. My team is spread across the globe, but these geographical differences doesn’t hinder our daily operations or successes. The rarity of face-to-face interactions only enhances our appreciation for the moments we spend together. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to work with an organization that not only allows but also supports this unconventional yet highly effective way of working! G2A.COM provides a space for innovative thinking and incorporates people in decision-making. For me it is an extremely vibrant and flexible organisation, which motivates and implement approach that no longer even sky is the limit.

In the tech sector, where diversity and inclusion are increasingly valued, I’ve found a supportive environment that not only recognizes my unique approach but also empowers me to excel, even from an island. This flexibility has not only fostered my professional growth but also enriched my personal life. I’m grateful for the opportunities and the progressive culture of G2A.COM that enables me to flourish both as a professional and as an individual.

Entering the world of work can be daunting. Do you have any words of advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed? 

For sure, entering the workforce can be overwhelming, but there is always something we can do to overcome any obstacles. First and foremost, take a moment to reflect on what you genuinely enjoy doing and what you expect from an employer. Understanding your own goals and values is crucial. Try to align yourself with a company that shares similar values and provides a work environment that resonates with your aspirations.

If you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed, it’s essential to open up and talk with those around you. Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and concerns with friends, family, or colleagues. Keeping things bottled up can intensify stress, and seeking support can make a significant difference. Remember, everyone experiences challenges as they get on their professional journey, and seeking guidance is a sign of strength, not weakness. We learn the most valuable lessons from difficult situations, not from successes. Navigating these moments wisely is key.  

I believe having your own time and balance to develop your passions is the secret ingredient to a fulfilling life. This is key to balancing the challenges of work with the time you need to fully commit to the things you love.

Stay true to yourself, keep an open line of communication, and don’t be afraid to seek guidance. You’ll find your way through the challenges and discover a fulfilling path in your career.

What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology? 

In our organization, gender is not a barrier to success – anyone, regardless of gender, can thrive and reach their goals. G2A.COM boasts many strong and inspiring female role models who demonstrate their commitment and professionalism daily, elevating the company to greater heights. These women work on diverse levels and play various roles. Among them, our R&D Chief Officer is a particularly inspiring example, who has come a long way from support specialist to top management, growing professionally with business size from 6-400 people on board. She proves that extensive tech experience is not always necessary and that stubbornness, hard work, consequence, hands-off skills, and bravery in making tough decisions are just as essential in a leader. Her journey highlights the significance of skills beyond technical expertise. The ability to manage time efficiently and translate objectives into tangible results is crucial in a dynamic field like technology.

Above all, effective communication skills stand out as paramount. Being a problem solver, whether it’s tackling your own challenges or helping others navigate theirs, is the essence of success in the tech world. Openness, determination, and a continuous commitment to learning are also vital. Embracing new ideas, remaining open-minded, and breaking down silos contribute to a collaborative and innovative environment.

In essence, my advice to fellow women pursuing tech careers is to cultivate a skill set that extends beyond technical know-how. Embrace time management, goal setting, effective communication, and a problem-solving mindset. Stay open, determined, and committed to lifelong learning and you will succeed in any work environment.

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