1. What was your first job/where did you start?
I was an intern at Elle fashion when the title launched in South Africa in 1998.
2. What made you want to build a career in your profession?
The love of ideas, people and a good story.
3. Describe a day in your life at present.
As a growing company, there’s no such thing as an average day – long hours coupled with lots of tea while I work on researching and pitching for new business, implementation of work for current clients, client service, managing and overseeing teams. But it's all worth it in the end, and as a result we were recently reappointed to produce internal communications for Transnet and we’ve just signed up the IMM (Institute of Strategic Marketing) as a client.
4. How do you unwind behind the scenes? List your favourite song, movie and book.
I unwind by playing music really loudly while driving or if I’m home, having a technology-free day. My favourite movie is Kung Fu Panda, and my current favourite read is The Tanning of America by Steve Stoute. I don’t really have a favourite song - I appreciate good music and I have hip-hop, kwaito and pop on heavy rotation.
5. Who would you most like to meet (dead or alive) and why?
Alexander Fleming (to say thanks for penicillin), Steve Jobs (for a talk about how technology will continue to influence the world over the next 50 years), Oprah Winfrey (for reminding the world to dream, often) and King Shaka (the great Zulu king, need I say more?)
6. What has been one of the most important lessons you have learnt?
Take care of the fundamentals, and everything else will more or less take care of itself.
7. What is your secret indulgence and what are your three ‘can’t live without’ items?
My secret indulgences are increasingly silence, sleep and (free) time, and my three essential items are shoes, good food and stimulating conversations (in that order).
8. Who do you think is getting it right in the industry?
There’s quite a few across various disciplines and it’s generally media practitioners and brands who are recognising that the best way to attract and keep audience attention is through relevant, engaging communication strategies. This entails going beyond traditional psychographics and consumer demographics and developing an intimate understanding of who you’re talking to. The audience will tell you when and how they’d like you to talk to them.
I think Elle magazine speaks to the post-racial modern career woman eloquently through an aesthetic that is eclectically South African, and fully fashion. Nandos for standing out from the crowd for their current and irreverent humour.
9. Which person in the industry do you think is making waves?
Ravi Naidoo - after 17 years, Design Indaba’s message is more relevant than ever.
10. Who is your alter-ego?
I do not have an alter-ego.
11. What is your favourite perfume?
Armani Code and Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue.
12. Which car would best personify you, and why?
My Mini: it’s small, practical, intuitive and has amazing road handling. One day, when I’m big, I hope to embody all those values.
13. What is your favourite reality TV series?
I’m not sure if ‘favourite’ is the word I’d use, but I find myself unable to stop watching Keeping up with the Kardashians, in the same way people rubberneck past accident scenes.
14. Who is someone you truly look up to, and which qualities do you most admire about them?
I don’t believe in putting people on pedestals as we’re all human. As a result, I’m inspired by people from all walks of life, like my parents who came to Johannesburg as migrant workers from the Eastern Cape in search of a better life and had the foresight to want and do better for their kids. To the countless men and women who we don’t read about in newspapers, who quietly keep the country ticking over. To captains of industries whose passion for shaping the world for the better is a far bigger motivator than just the bottom line.
15. What’s your stance on social media?
I think it’s an incredible force, which can be channelled and harnessed for change (think Tunisia, Libya or its role in the Obama campaign). The converse is also true - because of its power to shape opinions, debate and the course of events, more people need to think (very carefully) before they tweet or Facebook.