Melody Adhami, President and Chief Operating Officer
President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Plastic Mobile
Melody won a Webby, (the digital industry’s version of the Oscar) for Plastic Mobile’s work on the Pizza Pizza iPhone app.
Melody’s career is a mashup of management, marketing and IT. Her company, Plastic Mobile, has 25 employees and about eight projects on the go at any time. Melody oversees the management team and ensures that everything is going, as it should.
“I also develop mobile strategy for our clients. When a client comes to us, we help them determine whether they need an app or just a web site that’s optimized for mobile viewing. If they need an app, what kind of smartphone should they develop for? iPhone? Blackbery? Or Android? We help plan and develop their final product.”
A day in the life
“Hectic. But exciting! As COO and co-owner of a small enterprise, I find myself wearing many different hats. To ensure that everything is running smoothly, I put out fires, deals with human resource (HR) and employee issues, and have a lot of meetings. As a manager, I promote the type of work environment where my staff can walk into my office whenever they need or want to talk about issues they’re having or things they’re happy about. The most important thing for me is to make sure that the people I work with like what they’re doing and want to do what they do. So I help them with professional development and move them towards what they want to do."
Melody also develops new business opportunities. This involves travel, public speaking and attending conferences, networking, and ensuring that Plastic Mobile's work is stellar and award winning. "When you produce strong work, word spreads."
She and her team work hard, but also play hard. Generally they work from 10am to 6pm, but when they’re getting ready for a launch they can work until 2am. "We’ll order pizza and dinner and work into the night and weekends. But after that’s done, we go celebrate."
Why this job rocks
I get to be at the cutting edge of technology. We create things that people only dream of. When we started our business, mobile apps weren’t as popular as they are today. It’s really satisfying when people say, “Wow, I can order pizza by clicking on my phone.” It’s fun when someone uses your app. It makes even the hardest of days work worth it.
- Bachelor of Science at McMaster University in biology & psychology. “Having done a science degree, I felt like was in a bubble, in a microenvironment where I was surrounded by cells and animals and didn’t feel like I knew anything about the outside world or how things operate in it”
- Melody got some valuable real-world experience working in the marketing department of a large pharmaceutical company for a year, which inspired her to return to school.
- MBA at McMaster University in strategic marketing. “Doing an MBA felt like someone had opened up my eyes. It was one of the most useful things I had ever done. I don’t know if I would have felt the same way if I had done an undergrad degree in business.”
- Worked at Unilever in consumer-packaged goods.
- With the belief that “mobile is the future”, Melody co-founded Plastic Mobile before app development was cool (that’s before the AppStore was launched).
Melody says that the biggest challenge in the tech and mobile field is that it moves so fast. "Just as you get up to speed with new technologies, it gets ahead of you again. You have to stay on top of the changes that are happening daily."
Tips for success
- Go for it! Whether you’re interested in fashion, medicine, or automotive, and have an inkling towards technology, you should go for it. Don’t let your fear of not knowing enough about technology get in the way of your aspirations.
- Be part of the future: When I was in high school, employment opportunities in the tech sector were plentiful. I thought that working in tech was just about finding a job. But it’s not. The digital space is much more than that, it’s about being part of the future.
- Be smart: Being a female in an industry that’s heavily dominated by males can be intimidating. Don’t let that get in the way.
- Arm yourself with knowledge: If you are knowledgeable you can’t be taken advantage of and you won’t be in a situation where you don’t know and don’t feel as smart as everyone else.