Welcome to A Day In The Life — a series dedicated to showcasing the ethos of an Indexer. This month, we sat down (virtually, of course) with Madoka Hull — Senior Partner Development Manager and the first-ever employee in our Tokyo office — to learn more about her experience introducing the IX brand to the Japanese market.
All right, let’s start with the basics. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What’s your role at Index?
My role is on the Partner Development team, so I work on the sell-side of our business. I started at our Sydney office in the summer of 2018 and moved to Tokyo last December.
Sydney is fairly established — the office opened a few years ago, and we have a full team on the ground there — so transitioning to working alone in the Tokyo office was certainly challenging. But I was (I am) really excited to be in Tokyo. I can meet clients in person, and the opportunities in the market are really exciting — we’ve already seen a lot of growth, and I’m looking forward to continuing to expand our business across Japan.
In addition to the excitement of new growth and business opportunities, what would you say motivates you to start work each day? What makes you want to work for Index?
I love the company culture, and I love having the opportunity to collaborate with teams across the world.
I experienced a bit of culture shock at first when I returned to Tokyo. I’d been living in Australia for more than ten years, and the business culture in Sydney is much more laid back than it is in Japan, so that was certainly an adjustment. But once Haruyo came onboard [IX’s Managing Director, Japan, who joined at the end of 2019], it became easier. She has loads of connections and global experience, so her approach is not as traditional or strict as typical Japanese business style.
Yes, we’re in Tokyo, but it’s nice to know that we’re able to draw from past experience and create a culture that’s all our own, and we’re able to bring Index’s values to Japan. There’s so much openness, the people and teams are genuinely really nice and really talented. But beyond that, everyone is truly humble — our CEO, Andrew, is willing to help you out, even across the world. Index is a big, international organization, but it feels connected.
Our clients aren’t looking for a standard, domestic partner — they’re looking to work with a truly global company and a source of support. Our office culture reflects that.
Can you speak a bit more about collaboration? How do you collaborate with other teams and colleagues in other countries?
Absolutely, there’s a lot of collaboration. I’m constantly pulling insights from the analysts in Sydney and London, and they’re always happy to help. I seek input from a number of different roles and teams, and regardless of how senior or ‘junior’ someone might be, they’ll always make time to help. There’s an understanding that different countries and markets work in different ways, but none of us could work effectively if we didn’t function as a team.
Further, it’s important to feel comfortable speaking up and voicing your opinion. In Japanese culture, I think the assumption is that if your boss says to do ‘X,’ you do it without question. At Index, however, you have the chance to speak up and push back if you don’t feel a certain decision is right for your market or clients. We all value different opinions, we value honesty — a huge part of collaborating is not saying, ‘yes, yes, yes’ all of the time. If you have a fresh or different idea, you’re encouraged to speak up.
In the theme of collaboration and working together, how does Index celebrate successes and wins? How do you recognize others’ contributions?
Celebrating wins, be they big or small, is a key part of the company culture at Index. We have a Slack channel called ‘LittleBigWins’ in which we can see (and share) the successes of Indexers across the company. It certainly motivates us to want to do more, to play a role in the company’s success.
Now, what’s the culture like outside of the office? How do Indexers unwind and recharge after work — how do you maintain that tight-knit feel?
A blend of happy hours and exercise, I would say. In Sydney, we’d go to pubs some nights and F45 classes others. Haruyo and I also love to do yoga.
In the past, we’ve also had summer parties where everyone brings their family, which is lovely — all of our families get to meet one another. And we have group ‘bonding’ sessions and fun competitions to help everyone get to know each other a bit better throughout the year.
Under current circumstances, how have you adjusted to working from home? How is Index continuing to support you, and how are you continuing to support your clients?
Since I came to Japan, my relationship with clients has become much stronger and closer, and I think we’ve built trust with them as well. Even over video conference, they’re so excited to have a team on-the-ground — they know we really take their business and strategies seriously.
Index has always been quite flexible as well, ensuring we’re able to work remotely and collaborate from afar. Our clients view us as a global company, and IX ensures we’re able to function as one, even when working from home.