Feature

A day in the life of Juliette Neu, co-founder and EVP APAC, Mangata Networks

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Launched in 2020, Mangata Networks is the latest in a string of telco startups innovating the way communications networks are operated.

Using a combination of highly elliptical orbit (HEO) and medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites, and a network of MangataEdge micro data centres, Mangata delivers the cloud to the edge of the network as a single unified network.

Mangata’s co-founder executive vice president of Asia-Pacific, Juliette Neu, says variety is the name of the game when it comes to running the company on a day-to-day basis.

“None of my days are average. Atypical day is a day that is so very different from the day before and from the following one,” she says.

In her role, Neu oversees HR, talent acquisition, communications, customer experience, design and branding, so she and her team are “building everything from scratch”.

“I also work closely with Brian Holz, who I co-founded Mangata with and who is the CEO. We bounce ideas off each other, plan and execute on a variety of subjects globally,” she says.

On those days when she’s not travelling, Neu starts work at around 7am, and stops between midnight and 1am.

“We’re global, and I have colleagues in the US, the UK, Europe and several parts of Asia. It’s a juggling exercise to come together and grow in a virtual environment, but we’ve risen to the challenge, and I’m proud to say that I’ve the most wonderful colleagues and the best team I’ve ever worked with,” she says.

With the business officially in growth stage and occupying so much of her time, Neu admits that she doesn’t have enough time for much work-life balance.

“With that said, I can carve out some time and when I do, I spend it with my children and my husband. I also try to exercise regularly, so I’m able to keep up with the intensity of the current work demands,” she says.

The trade-off of such a demanding role is that at work she gets to do what she’s interested in doing outside of work.

“I’m passionate about the various cultures of the world, about knowledge exchange and preservation and about social justice,” she says.

Her other passions include children and young people, which she describes as “wonderful”. She sees it as everyone’s responsibility to protect them and help them grow into happy and fulfilled adults.

“Before starting Mangata, I was building a mentorship program for kids in disadvantaged US school districts,” says Neu. “The idea was to bring groups of professionals and groups of kids together right from entry into kindergarten and follow them throughout their schooling. We’d help build the kids’ self-confidence, expose them to various careers and areas of interest, and hopefully make them realise how needed and important they are.”

With the start of Mangata, this project was put on the backburner, but Neu says she is starting to bring it back and intends to get involved with communities where Mangata is and engage with the local schools.

“We are also building a platform where schools and children will be able to ask questions to our experts, with some opportunity to have one of us come into the classroom virtually and interact with them that way,” she says.

Neu began her career in academia and is a trained anthropologist, before going on to lead her own talent management consulting firm.

“Most of my consulting work had been in aerospace. I’d worn various hats for various CEOs in that industry and led a few ramp-ups and reorganisations in various countries,” she says.

Admittedly, Neu fell into space by happenstance, after meeting Mangata’s co-founder. Neu, the anthropologist, and Holz, the technologist, “hit it off”.

“We both wanted to do something meaningful that makes a difference. Had we not met, Mangata would not have existed the way it is today,” she says. “Also, we’d not be as successful as we are without the fabulous team we’re bringing together.”

Neu says the next 12 months will see the burgeoning telco focus on building a strong team and “creating an environment where our colleagues feel empowered, appreciated, and well cared for”.

On the technology side, its priorities are to continue developing its proprietary technologies and products, raise capital – “We’re in the midst of our B round raise at the moment,” Neu says – and continue cultivating partnerships and customers on a global basis.

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