5 minutes with Holly Millward


Meet Our Regional Director, Asia

Describe your career in 5 words
International, Entertaining, Energetic, Privileged, People-Focused
You have a wealth of over 13 years’ experience working within sports marketing, what would you say was the most memorable project/experience/event you have worked on to date and why? 

This last week saw me involved in my 10th consecutive Hong Kong Sevens for CSM.  Through our relationship with HSBC, we work for the biggest and oldest institution in Hong Kong, on what is arguably the most iconic sporting and social event in the region if not around the world.  If the marriage of the two is not a sports marketing dream - then I don’t know what is.  The work that goes into delivering the programme is colossal, but it is a true privilege to be involved.  We have an outstanding team in this region – and last week I witnessed again the importance of talent and relationships to deliver brilliant work and ROI back into our clients’ businesses.  If I had one extra word for the first question it would be stamina – it’s a week like no other and should go on everyone’s bucket list. 

Having recently just moved back to Hong Kong from London to be Regional Director in our Asia division, what are the most exciting areas that you see for future growth in the region? What do you think the Western world could learn from our Eastern counter parts?  

Firstly, there’s the macro picture to consider - Asia is the fastest growing economy in the world and investment in sport and entertainment is on the fastest upward trajectory of any region globally.  That’s of course good news for our business.  Part of that growth is driven by several major events on the horizon.  With the Winter Olympics in Korea now complete, all eyes now turn to Japan as hosts of the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Summer Olympics.  We are positioning ourselves strategically across the different parts of CSM’s businesses to take advantage of these platforms and hope to have a significant involvement. 
Then there is the small matter of China and what we are witnessing of Chinese brands going global and international businesses looking to capitalise on this market and its consumers.  The biggest caution (and education!) when it comes to Asia is that it is far from being an amorphous mass of land.  Each part of the region has its own cultural, political and population complexities.  We must approach each differently and be very focused on what we can achieve over a clear period out here as a business.
Tell us about your Challenge Himalayas 2018 trek which you just completed in aid of Laureus. What inspired you to get involved with this challenge and how did you find it?  

This is true.  I’ve recently returned from a truly unique experience which saw me join 99 other people from all over the world to trek The Himalayas in aid of Laureus Sport for Good.  The Challenge was designed to take us out of our comfort zones, build connections, develop leaders and ultimately raise a significant amount of money for charity.  We trekked 25K a day, sleeping in tents at altitude and in freezing conditions.  As a group, we raised an incredible USD400K for charity to fund initiatives that use the power of sport for good in India and Hong Kong.  I was joined by Sammie Milne from Hong Kong and Naivasha Oakes from the UK, so CSM was well represented!
To spend time in the iconic Himalayan mountain range was amazing if the days were tough.  But what it really brought home is how rarely we put down our phones, disconnect with technology and have real conversations.  We had clients and friends alike on the Challenge and it was an incredible way to build connections and do something meaningful in an environment where titles became irrelevant.  Those who work with me closely will know that the growing wellness industry is a passion point of mine and one that I think will impact our business and that of our clients more and more.  These sorts of platforms will become increasingly attractive to businesses that need to engage their clients and employees in a genuine way and put purpose first.

Outside of work, what would we find you doing. 

Living in this part of the world presents a brilliant opportunity to travel around the region, which I try to capitalise on whenever possible.  When on home soil in Hong Kong, you’ll find me seeking out the best restaurants in town - we are very spoilt with the cuisine here which is a true reflection of Hong Kong as an international city.