Hermoine Macura: Empowering Women Beyond Borders
Ms. Macura is the CEO of Straight Street Media, author of the book “Faces of the Middle East” and the first Australian female English speaking TV news anchor in the Middle East.
Prior to establishing Straight Street Media in 2012, Ms. Macura was one of the main anchors on Dubai One TV’s Emirates News. Her portfolio includes the delivery of live-to-air news bulletins, frequently whilst being in the midst of breaking stories both locally and across the Middle East.
She has also hosted hundreds of other shows, including the three-hour live launch of the Burj Khalifa and “Maak Ya Lebanon”, which featured exclusive interviews with several key players in aid programs in Lebanon which raised 55 million dirhams to help people caught in the conflict. She has also interviewed a variety of decision makers, from the Duchess of York to Hollywood actor Michael Douglas and government officials in the country.
In 2014, Ms. Macura’s love for the Arab people led her into war-torn Iraq, where she has set up the House of Rest – a privately funded, non-political and non-governmental resource center run by women for women survivors of sex slavery, war, violence and oppression.
Ms.Macura took little time out of her busy schedule to chat with us and tell us more about her achievements.
- What did you eat for breakfast? (This helps people relate to you–plus it’s fun to know.)
The first thing I put in my mouth is coconut oil – where I spend about twenty minutes swishing it around doing oil pulling and emailing. After that I usually down a vegan spinach, coconut water, mango and lemon protein smoothie before I head out to face the day!
- What’s your favourite sport or exercise?
I do Maui Thai training several times a week in addition to lifting weights.
- What inspired you to start your business? Where did you start and where are you now?
I basically reached a point in my career where I had achieved all my goals as a TV anchor and author in the region – and after doing thousands of shows, I decided to branch out as an entrepreneur to explore business opportunities in the global media that would allow me to invest in programs and women empowerment in general including the establishment of my charity, The House of Rest.
- How large is your business? Please share the size of team, the number of customers, or something that gives us a sense of where you are today.
I started out on my own five years ago with my office set-up in Dubai and Melbourne. My main streams of business are digital, print and broadcast strategies and program development. Today, I run a team of eight people out of five locations: Dubai, NY, LA, South Africa and Melbourne. We have diversified to include corporate training, risk management and CSR initiatives such as the World of Women Film Fair Middle East.
I personally do one TV show a year and focus the majority of my spare time on our 501c3 US based NGO, The House of Rest – a charity that helps rescue sex slave survivors in Iraq and ease the suffering of refugees caught in war zones. Up until this year, I funded the charity myself along with the help of three private donors. Most of my corporate clients are media networks, governments and/or government departments such as e-government and ADEC or global companies such as GE, PnG and Sundance as well as others strategic organisations that help to build inter-cultural communication and dialogue between the East and the West such as Bridges of Understanding.
- What do you see as challenges for you and your business? Is there something you need to grow your business you’d like to bring up?
I struggle to find good hearted, loyal staff who live up to our brand ethos and ethics. Loyalty is rare these days. The greatest challenge I still face is sexism and racism globally. We still live in a man’s world which means you sometimes lose deals because you’re not a part of the “boy’s club”. I also rarely see women in boardrooms, which means that most companies and governments are male-oriented and designed to promote men into positions of leadership rather than women. Also, despite my efforts to promote women and support other women on the corporate ladder, I find that many other women in general are not emancipated enough to continue to pay it forward. Until the majority of women support women, not much will change.
- Tell us a story about a success in your business or a mistake you overcame that made you proud of yourself, or more confident.
I have hundreds of success and mistake stories from over the years! It’s never how you begin, it’s how you end and the recovery from your mistakes that makes you a champion – because everyone makes mistakes. Over the years, I’ve also learned to stay away from energy vampires and people who have no ethics or a bad reputation.
- What about your business matters most deeply to you? How does it engage your values?
My main focus and drive behind Straight Street Media is to always be doing something we love with integrity, honesty, originality and power. Every project we do reflects our values and helps our clients to be successful!
- Who is the entrepreneur you admire most right now? Why does s/he inspire you?
Elon Musk – he reminds the world that the sky is not the limit anymore.
- What’s the best and the worst thing about being a female founder?
Nothing really. It’s just a new frontier for women to be in control of their mind, body, ideologies, finances and life. I love being a whole woman who can live my dreams!
- What was the best advice you ever received, and from whom?
My mother taught me how to lead by example rather than just words. As a child, she constantly taught me the importance of good character and being kind and compassionate.
- What piece of advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
Believe in God, shop ethically, lift weights, love without limits, smile more and be brave – the world belongs to the brave.