Name: Shaun Dcunha | Company: ZAFCO | Country: Dubai
May 4, 2023: Growing up in the bustling Indian city of Mumbai, Shaun DCunha found himself fascinated with all things psychology, strategy and creativity. That is when he decided to pursue a career in Marketing for, to him, it was the perfect amalgamation of all three. Today, this Indian origin marketing professional heads the marketing for the Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa regions for ZAFCO, a manufacturer in the automotive industry in Dubai.
After doing his graduation in B.Com Business Management from University of Mumbai, Shaun went on to do his MBA in Marketing from St Xavier’s Institute. He began his career as a research associate with Avalon Global Research before moving on to join Baccarose Perfumes & Beauty Product as a brand manager, managing reputed international brands such as Prada, Nina Ricci, Valentino and Carolina Herrera among others. By 2015 though he was ready to head out and made his way to Dubai with a job leading strategic and integrated communications for Bridgestone MEA.
Talking about his current role at ZAFCO, Shaun says, “My primary goal is driving brand awareness which will improve the sales turnover across the region. I’d say job hunting is fairly similar to India as there is a large Indian diaspora in Dubai. However, it is a challenge initially as companies do prefer candidates with regional experience. A large number of MNCs also hire through referrals which can be a major hurdle to break through.”
Given that Dubai is quite diverse, Shaun has the opportunity to work with a rather varied team. “It is common to have your workforce from 15-20 different countries across ethnicities and genders. I work with Saudi, Japanese, Korean, Italian, Canadian, Philippines and colleagues from various other nationalities.”
A creature of routine, Shaun likes to begin his day with a morning run. “Of late though, my life has been taken over by my adorable 15-month-old son. So my evenings almost always involve taking him to the toddler park, while the weekends are reserved for toddler birthday parties,” he smiles.
While work is extremely important to Shaun, he also believes in the fine art of work-life balance. “Which is why I strive to finish personally-important activities like exercise and meditation before work begins. As workdays can be long, I focus on weekends to unwind and switch off. Weekends usually revolve around eating out and lounging by the pool, if the weather is pleasant,” he says, adding, “During my time off, I enjoy attending concerts, live music, playing basketball, and travelling. Playing a sport is also a fantastic way of meeting new people and networking.”
As he reflects upon his journey of so many years, he believes that it is important to surround oneself with the right kind of people. “I believe I am where I am today because of the support I’ve received from family and friends. It’s impossible to achieve anything if you don’t have the right people around you. Of course, hardwork and focus play a role, but personally I’d say having the right social circle has been hugely instrumental.”
Given the rapidly changing scene across most professions and the way technology pervades most spaces, it is very important to constantly update one’s knowledge and skill sets. Which is why Shaun himself holds several certifications such as Google Ads Display and Advanced Google Analytics. “Digital marketing is changing constantly and at a tremendously rapid pace. Google would have probably updated its algorithm by the time this interview goes to print. In such scenarios it is critical to pick a niche as much as possible and stay updated and learn every single day.”
Even as he goes about raking in professional accolades and making personal memories, Shaun has fond memories of his life back in India. “My fondest memories and some of the best times I’ve had have been with friends – playing sports and hanging out. The simple joys of growing up,” he says, adding, “I visit India fairly often, so I am still very connected to my roots. However, the place changes every time I go back and the longer you spend away from home the longer it takes to reconnect.”
While he cherishes his Indianness, he also believes in assimilating into his new world to thrive. “An important part of working in an international city is adopting and assimilating into a neutral culture and being a part of other cultures. However, core aspects of being Indian – such as the amazing food is always going to be an integral part,” he says, adding, “Brand India is well respected in terms of a strong and impactful workforce with warm welcoming people. However, at the end of the day it all comes down to the individual – the way the person conducts himself which goes a long way in how people perceive the country.”
Make for personally-important activities in the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life and work.
Surround yourself with the right set of people to thrive. Support matters.
Adapt to changing situations and assimilate into new surroundings to be able to work in a global and diverse setting.
Stay updated with your field as new technology and developments continue to pervade all spheres.