What do you do at Coronation, and what experience led you to this role?
I am the Head of Marketing. After having spent 15 years in the creative and media industry, mainly in creative agencies, a leading financial services company hired me as a marketer in late 2010, which changed the trajectory of my career. My qualifications and experience are in strategic brand management, brand architecture and digital marketing management. I have qualifications from the AAA School of Advertising, the University of Stellenbosch Business School, and, more recently, the Seth Godin Institute, where I completed my altMBA.
Grit and inspiration
What drove you to succeed?
Being raised in a single-parent home meant that I did not have a financial safety net to fall back on. In fact, it was obligatory for me to find work immediately after school to help support my family financially and to pay for my part-time studies. Traditionally, it was the norm to get a job and start contributing to family expenses as soon as you could.
Where does your resilience come from?
Resilience is formed in adversity, and I believe that growth never comes from comfort. My resilience was born in advertising, which is where I spent the formative years of my career. It was a great school where I learned the value of relentless hard work. It was in this fast-paced industry that I developed my unremitting pursuit to deliver excellent work, and to keep my spirit regardless of how tough circumstances might be. Resilience and experience allow me to discern between sweating the small stuff versus focusing on things that will make a bigger impact in the world.
Shoulders of giants
Who was a major influence for you growing up?
My uncle is a true icon of how pure grit and determination can enable you to achieve anything that you set your mind to. He taught me that you make your own luck in life. His favourite thing to say is, “there are two types of people in the world, those who watch things happen and those who make things happen.” He always affirms the fact that we have a choice in how we show up to meet the challenges that life deals us. Over and above that, as a family we were all raised to practice humility in our moments of success.
Who have been your career mentors?
I have always sought career mentors outside of the categories in which I was employed. This is because I believe that with the broader context in mind, we can stretch our perceptions of what real success looks like and what bigger possibilities are out there for us to leverage. Our biggest learnings often come from outside of the predictable parameters that we set for ourselves.
At Coronation, employee ownership is a big part of our culture, what does this mean to you, and how does it shape your approach?
To me, our ownership culture means being held accountable for delivering to the high standards that we set for ourselves here at Coronation. A culture of ownership inspires you to show up fully, each and every day, and to remain steadfast in your efforts to deliver the best results for the business.
We are a team-based meritocracy, what does this mean to you? And how does it impact your work experience?
Team-based in our business means co-creation, communication, and collaboration. It means leaning into our cognitive diversity for better outcomes. It’s about interrogating our options to achieve the best outputs through peer-to-peer support and review. We are a collective of self-driven, energetic and passionate humans who are working towards a common purpose.
We place a high value on integrity in all that we do. What does integrity mean to you, personally and for the business?
Integrity means doing what you say you will do. We have a fiduciary responsibility to our clients that we take very seriously. This is to manage and protect the savings of millions of South Africans from all walks of life. We are a brand that works tirelessly for a broad spectrum of people and institutions, from teachers and architects to trade unions to family trusts; all of whom are equally important in our world. Integrity means putting them at the heart of all that we do.
What advice would you give women entering the workplace now?
Actively seek out organisations and, even more specifically, seek out leaders who resonate with your values. Look for a company who is known to empower its people, that is known for its diversity, and that you believe it will remain resolute in this everchanging world. The greatest barriers we face in life are the limitations that we place on ourselves. It’s time for women to take their place in the corporate world.