Staff Reporters
Sep 2, 2021

Women to Watch 2021: Malu Vasallo, Wavemaker

Vasallo’s wealth of experience and philosophy of continuous reinvention has led to numbers-driven success at every career junction.

Women to Watch 2021: Malu Vasallo, Wavemaker
Celebrating the torchbearers in the APAC marcomms industry

Malu Vasallo


A decorated veteran with 35 years of experience, Malu Vasallo continues to reach new heights. McCann, OMD, and Publicis Groupe have been lucky to have her lead in the past, but these days, she spends her time spearheading Wavemaker, Philippines’ fastest-growing GroupM agency. From overseeing the merger of MEC and Maxus to raising the agency’s market rank from 11 to three, success is aplenty for Vasallo.

One of Vasallo’s legacy projects was to introduce Precision, an outcome-led work process that led Wavemaker to become the first in the market to offer clients a single hub of digital expertise combining planning, tech, analytics, platforms, data strategy and content—enabling personalisation at scale. At a time when media agencies are struggling for relevance in increasingly streamlined marketing functions, she sought to propagate a media-content-technology offer to help the agency leap one step ahead as the pandemic hit.

Don’t just take our word for it. Digital services and capabilities at Wavemaker led to an improved per-capita revenue by 17% in 2020, exceeded new business billings by 60%, and clinched an impressive nine out of 10 success rate in new business pitches. According to R3’s New Business League last year, the agency came in top with US$2.3 million in new business revenue.

Vasallo also understands that talent is the most important part of an agency’s transformation. To aid with staff retention and morale, she initiated a talent investment programme in 2019 to cover expertise in data strategy, ecommerce and other specialisations which drove staff to gain certifications from Google, Facebook, and the like. On top of that, she instituted a performance awards programme to compensate hard workers, and prioritised mindfulness and mental health especially during the crisis. In 2021, the agency will extend health benefits to blended families and LGBTQIA+ partnerships.

Celebrating the torchbearers in the APAC marcomms industry
Campaign Asia

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