Sinabo Gogwana, LinkedIn, Women In Marketing (Yellow)
Women In Marketing

Women In Marketing 2020 Edition ft. Sinabo Gogwana from TymeBank

For this segment of Women In Marketing, we had the chance to chat with Sinabo who is a Zambian born marketer. She is a Social Engagement Specialist for TymeBank and shares with us why TIME management is the ultimate productivity hack. Oh, and did we mention that she loves ice skating? Let’s learn more

LET’S GET PERSONAL

THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, SINABO. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?

I was born in Lusaka, Zambia, to a Zambian mother and South African father. I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. My parents met when my father was in exile. 

Sinabo Gogwana, Women In Marketing
Sinabo Gogwana
Source: Supplied

Growing up in the 90s before technology took over, reading Harry Potter novels, and playing outside in the dirt with my siblings has got to be one of my most fond memories as a child. The tomboy in me did almost everything outdoors, from climbing hills, rollerblading and riding bikes on the street. I taught my younger sister how to read when I was just 9yrs old, and how to ride a bike (even though I almost broke her leg doing so). I was that girl.

WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS? 

I am a twin. And although at the time, I didn’t think of myself as the popular girl.

As an identical twin, everyone at school knew us even though we were in different classes and had enjoyed things of a different nature. I was a dancer, tennis player and an SRC (Student representative) in both High School and College. I believe the leader in me became more and more prominent the older I got. High School was one of the best years of my life, both socially and academically. 

IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? 

I would be a lioness. My strength is not defined by my tiny body or physique but my confidence, drive with the determination to do something others are determined can not be done, and won’t stop until I am proud. 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!

Haha, my favourite meal would have to be Umngqusho (Samp and beans). It’s the Xhosa in me. 

IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE? 

I would firstly continue with my day job as if I didn’t see that notification come in. Once it hits me that I am rich, I’d buy a beach house (my dream), purchase land and build property for investments, and save the rest. 

WHAT IS THE ONE INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T FIND ON YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE? ANY HIDDEN TALENTS PERHAPS? PREVIOUS WOMEN IN MARKETING CANDIDATE, DR. LIEZEL BYGATE SAID THAT SHE IS AN EXPERT HULA-HOOPER!

I am a pro when it comes to ice-skating! If it were a national sport, I would have taken part! 

CAREER AND WORKPLACE

WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?

Growing up, my dad used to love telling us stories about his childhood, he has a crazy imagination, but I truly enjoyed these stories. When I used to watch Ads on TV, or read books, even when we would travel on vacation, my mind was always working, creatively I might add, and I believed I inherited that “imagination” from my father. 

Sinabo, Women In Marketing 2


My love for marketing stemmed from there. It’s one of the most creative industries out there. 

Feeling human – Marketing is all about people. It is about understanding them better. 

Feeling the world – Marketing is about the market. Of which, by definition, is broader than your office. 

Feeling ahead – Marketing, as a function, has the permission to be ‘creative’.  

Feeling victory – From market victories to awards, a good marketer has loads of reasons to celebrate. 

GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!

I often start my day off with either a hot cup of coffee or tea (depends on the plan for the day). Analytics and reporting days I am #TeamCoffee, for the focus. On my creative days, I am TeamTea! 

HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?

I’m quite the outdoors adventure bunny. I love to visit new places, go to a new city just so that I can taste the food or take beautiful pictures, long drives are my “zen moments”, after a hectic week. 

SABRA MWAURA WAS A FEATURE FOR OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES. SHE MADE A FEW GOOD POINTS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTORSHIP FOR WOMEN. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MENTORSHIP?

There are quite some gender stereotypes that hold women back in the workplace.

One reason women might be shying away from certain professions. They lack confidence in their ability to compete in fields that men are stereotypically believed to perform more strongly in, such as science, math, and technology.

Sinabo, Women In Marketing 3

Mentors give women an avenue to practice their communication skills in a safe environment by focusing on growth and improvement. In addition to personal growth, mentors also help develop a leadership pipeline within your industry. 

WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?

Don’t sleep until work is complete! 

Ha-ha, I am only joking, If there is one thing I have learnt it’s to work-smart. Overworking doesn’t make you more productive, but it makes you more tired. You end up burned out, and the results are never to the standard you expect. 

Always make sure to work on a strict work-schedule, managing time and making sure you take at least an hour to rest, meditate and then keep going. Your mental health is crucial. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress and situations. 

JOB HOPPING IS A COMMON PHENOMENA ESPECIALLY IN THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. WHAT’S YOUR OPINION ON JOB HOPPING? DOES IT HURT OR AID ONE’S CAREER?

Marketing is a dynamic, challenging and changing field.

You can have the passion and desire for advertising, but while in your journey, discover that your calling is towards Marketing research or Direct Marketing, and move towards that direction for growth and development.

At some point, you may feel like you are wasting away at a job that’s no longer a good fit. However, Job hopping way too often can ruin your career and potentially seen as “career suicide”. Employers may view frequent job-hopping negatively when individuals change jobs too frequently, this can be a red flag for employers.

FOR IT’S 2019 MOST INFLUENTIAL CMO’S REPORT, FORBES LISTED 31 WOMEN OUT OF 50 CANDIDATES (19 MEN). IT APPEARS THAT MORE WOMEN OCCUPY CMO ROLES COMPARED TO OTHER C-SUITE ROLES. WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS THE CASE?

In 2017, data research described the gender gap as “bad” in a good decade, and that it would probably take 83 years to close that gap. Women prefer the hunt, men want a quick and effortless process. There is a large body of research that indicates that women face considerably more obstacles in progressing their careers than do men.

Women In Marketing 2020 Edition ft. Sinabo Gogwana from TymeBank 1
Women In Marketing 2020 Edition ft. Sinabo Gogwana from TymeBank 2

These stereotypes and gender roles also impact the way women and men apply for jobs. Women are less likely to apply for a stereotypically masculine job. They are more likely to apply for a job that offers work-life balance as women are still viewed as the primary caregiver.

It is encouraging to note that in the world’s leading companies, females seem as likely to be influential CMOs as are males. Indeed, there are more female CMOs on the 2019 Forbes list than there are males. Moreover, as this study has found, there is no difference in their rankings based on influence. There are also no significant differences between male and female about their being analytic, and the tone in which they articulate their thoughts is positive and remarkably similar. There are differences between male and female CMOs on two dimensions: males express themselves with more clout and are more likely to reveal their status and ranking, while females exhibit significantly more authenticity in the way they speak.

In every company, understanding buying behaviour is crucial. Out of the many aspects that can influence a customer’s decision-making behaviour, one of the major factors is gender. Men and women approach shopping with different motives, perspectives, rationales, and considerations.

Understanding how gender differences influence purchase decisions and recognizing gender-specific tendencies (not stereotypes!) is far-reaching for any business that sells to people. – and wants to do so more effectively.

As Mark Gungor once said “Men on a mission, women on a journey”. Women prefer the hunt whilst men want a quick and effortless process.

REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN MARKETING, PARTICULARLY, IN SENIOR ROLES IS ON THE UP. IN YOUR OWN OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN STILL FACE DESPITE THESE CHANGES AND HOW BEST SHOULD THESE BE ADDRESSED?

These challenges are not because women are not “applying” or working towards these senior roles. 

These gender-based-barriers are the problem, women don’t face barriers to enter the workplace, but they do face multiple obstacles when it comes to advancement. Women meet more resistance, and more isolation as they move up the ranks. Often, women are employed as well as promoted based on past accomplishments. Whilst men may be brought in and promoted based on future potential. I believe that one way to break this barrier is if we have more male mentors in the workplace that will aid women towards executive roles.

ONE OF THE LEARNING CURVES FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC, IS THE SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES TO FACILITATE REMOTE WORK. FOR TECH PLAYERS IN SILICON VALLEY THE TRANSITION WAS RELATIVELY SMOOTH WITH THE LIKES OF FACEBOOK AND TWITTER DESIGNING A FUTURE WHERE THEIR STAFF MAY POTENTIALLY WORK REMOTELY FOREVER.  THE ARGUMENT THOUGH, IS THAT THIS IS LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE COMPANIES TAKEN SO LONG TO IMPLEMENT REMOTE WORK OPPORTUNITIES? 

The pushback behind why most companies took this long to implement work from home opportunities has got to do with productivity and risk.

They believed that there are distractions at home, and less control on how one manages (micro-managers) their team, resulting in dismal productivity, while projects languish. The notion that if everyone is in the same physical space and vicinity productivity and management is greater.

WORKING FROM HOME IS AWESOME! MOST OF US CAN AGREE. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT WITHOUT IT’S SET OF CHALLENGES. EMPLOYEE WELLNESS HAS TAKEN A SIGNIFICANT STRAIN WITH PEOPLE WORKING LONGER HOURS AS A RESULT OF EMPLOYEES BEING ‘ALWAYS ON’ AND NOT BEING ABLE TO SWITCH OFF. HOW CAN EMPLOYERS GUARD AGAINST EMPLOYEE BURNOUT OR IN THE WORST EVENT, LOSING THEIR BEST TALENT?

Creating a supportive environment. Making sure employees have regular one-to-ones with their managers, to talk about any problems they’re having. Encouraging positive mental health is crucial.

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Top Struggles of Remote Workers
Source: Visual Capitalist

BCG PUBLISHED ITS INNOVATION REPORT FOR 2020 AND AT THE CORE OF ITS SELECTION CRITERIA ARE COMPANIES THAT HAVE SUCCESSFULLY MARRIED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. ACCORDING TO YOU, WHAT MAKES SOMETHING INNOVATIVE? 

Having an idea, and coming up with something fundamental towards the growth of a company. When it stands out from the rest and truly makes customers lives better. 

  • Women In Marketing 2020 Edition ft. Sinabo Gogwana from TymeBank 3
  • Women In Marketing 2020 Edition ft. Sinabo Gogwana from TymeBank 4

2020 AND BEYOND

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?

That failure is the only way to learn. Success is the birth of failure, and if you never give up, you will reach your greatest potential. 

WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAIN POINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?

Loss and failure are my biggest challenges, loss of a job, opportunity, failed relationships, and the time it takes to overcome it.

Although I know that loss is inevitable, it is still one of my biggest challenges. However, I am learning that loss allows you to reflect on what is truly important to keep moving forward. Failure is also a personal and professional challenge. However, it is through failures that help me evaluate and improve myself, “for every setback is a setup for a comeback! “

ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?

  • Travel to at least 4 African countries before I turn 35 (I’ve been to 2 so far)
  • Travel to New York and Jamaica before I die LOL
  • Learn how to play the violin 
  • To sponsor a child in their education (Make a difference in someone’s life)
  • Finish my online magazine 
  • Publish my book

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?

Michelle Obama, Harriet Tubman, Winnie Mandela, and Oprah

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I love life-changing books and captive novels about love and life. I am currently reading ‘The Subtle art of not giving a F*CK

WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?

I would probably be a psychologist. I have a passion for helping and teaching others. I believe that if I were not a marketer, I’d probably be a psychologist.

WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?

Anything Nollywood, Horror, or stand up comedy. I recently started binging on the sitcom “Girlfriends” for nostalgia, the last movie I watched on Netflix, however, was “His House”. I still have so many questions after watching it, ha-ha!

WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?

My grandmother, she is in a different country, and with this pandemic it has been a while since I saw her, never mind the language barrier LOL. 

WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?

I would recommend two people, my mentor Shireen Jaftha and Linda Appie. 

A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY

Contrary to the belief that this is a male-dominated world, women provide the foundation of power, grace, wisdom, justice, creativity, and hope.  Channel your inner warrior princess. When you educate a woman you educate a generation! 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME SINABO. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?

You can follow me on Twitter @miss_sinabo or Instagram, miss_sinabo or LinkedIn at Sinabo Gogwana

WOULD YOU LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR #WOMENINMARKETING SERIES? CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE OUR SIGN UP FORM AND WE’LL BE IN TOUCH

Head of Relationship Management at naughtybanana. I am a father to an awesome boy who thinks highly of me; perhaps I'm doing something right after all. When I'm not establishing new business relationships, you might catch me reading a book or of course, being an awesome dad.