Tarryn is Audi South Africa’s Product and Marketing Manager. Having put in the groundwork, the stars aligned for Tarryn when a mentor pushed her towards a career in brand management. She chats with us and explains why mentorship is important. Let’s dive into this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
Born and grew up in Benoni on the East Rand of Johannesburg. My fondest memories were spending time with my cousin and his friends. Even though I was the only girl, he always included me and allowed me to indulge in my tom-boy tendencies.
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I did pole fitness for a few years. I was a brand ambassador for one of the world’s leading pole fitness brands and performed in showcases here and there. Whilst he was in South Africa for the inaugural Arnold Classic in 2016, I demonstrated a pole fitness routine to Arnold Schwarzenegger himself – and the surrounding crowd – on behalf of the talented pole community of SA.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
As I do with all my income, I’d first tithe 10% to the work of the church. My next move would be to call my financial advisor and find the best possible investments to help secure a good, sustainable future for both this country and my family. Very pragmatic…but that’s me!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Just about every meal. My family knows that reaching for something on my plate without checking with me first can be a declaration of war.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
I don’t have specific heroes or role models, and I especially don’t associate with one type of person. I’ve always looked instead at the habits, qualities or values that I admire in various individuals. I prefer to focus on characteristics or values than people, they’re more eternal.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
Gosh, no idea. I’m not very active on social platforms. LinkedIn is the one that I engage with most often for my current position at Audi, and even then there is a lot I wouldn’t include on my profile.
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
I fell into my career.
My mentor and boss at my first job told me that I should get brand management experience so, when I returned from a two-year stint in London, I walked into the offices of the brand I most admired and asked to give my CV to the Marketing Manager. The stars were aligned as there happened to be a vacancy for a brand manager opening up so they put me in the running. I’ve been at the company for almost 15 years since!
I think I fell in love with the company and marketing because someone took a chance on me and saw something in me I didn’t know I had. Isn’t that how all great love stories start?
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I’m #TEAMCOFFEE for sure. I can be seen holding a grande coffee for hours and will be drinking it even after it’s gone cold.
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It can be hard to switch off when there’s always things at work that need attention. Having a wonderful, fun and loving husband to go home to really makes it easier to ‘down tools’. I enjoy exercise and time with family so that’s also helpful to encourage balance but it’s my husband that has taught me the value of keeping my cup full.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR HONOURS IN COMMUNICATION MANAGEMENT FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA. GIRL YOU FANCY! ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
Don’t learn to get a job, learn to live your calling.
I don’t know what skills or qualifications various companies may find valuable but I’ve always looked for passion and aptitude in the candidates I recruit. I believe that, if you are applying for a job because you believe in the work that the company does, you really want to contribute, and you have been working on how to contribute, that will come through.
There are so many resources available formally and informally on the internet that you can indulge any passion or interest and learn as much as you want to! Just be sure to check the source and use only reputable, respected sources, whatever your interest may be.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
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?
Innovation for me is something that helps the human race advance. Innovation needs to help humans have more time to do what only humans can do: love, feel, create, care for…. Innovations at the moment need to help us get more out of less, fewer natural resources, less waste, less time.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
I believe in diversity of all types in all roles in business. Diversity brings a richness of thought and greater problem-solving. There isn’t one group or one role I would be interested in focusing on. I believe that every person, whomever or whatever or however they are, has value to bring. It is the role of leadership at all levels in business to give their value and nurture it in others. That’s my view.
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?
To answer that you would need to define ‘job-hopping’.
There is a place for sticking it out and being patient in a job, and I believe that there are also times where one will know it’s time to move to another job or company. This may be due to a situation or a better offer.
My view is that there is a place for both. Sometimes the best lessons learnt are from sticking it out, and sometimes good value comes from experiencing a different industry or brand or type of company. No one can decide for you – it is up to each individual to look at those aspects of the decision that are valuable to them and then move or not.
Just be aware that you need to live with whichever decision you make once you’ve made it, and be aware that others may view your decision differently to you either way (stay or go).
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
In my opinion, it’s just human nature to resist change.
If things are working as they are and they are comfortable, then change will be slow. A radical change like the one we have gone through and continue to experience now happens every so often to accelerate change. The key is to embrace the change, reflect on what works and what doesn’t, and create new ways of working with our teams. There will always be a place for face-to-face meetings and working together physically in groups, just as the efficiency and accessibility of video conferencing that we have now enjoyed will have a place.
A LOT OF JOBS HAVE BEEN LOST SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE PANDEMIC. AT THE SAME TIME, SEVERAL COMPANIES INVESTED IN NEW TALENT WHILST ALSO INTRODUCING A REMOTE WORKING SOLUTION. WE PROFILED OLIVIA PONTE WHO INTERESTINGLY BEGAN HER NEW ROLE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LOCKDOWN. DO YOU THINK MORE COMPANIES WILL CONSIDER REMOTE WORKING PERMANENTLY?
Definitely. Our company had a ‘mobile work’ arrangement long before the pandemic. The past few months have opened the doors in terms of what the next step in remote working could be and I’m excited to be a part of co-creating that new way of working. We must pick the right format for each task or meeting when we have that luxury again.
In terms of working in a new role or at a new company during the lockdown, I can imagine it must feel unnatural to be unable to meet your new colleagues in person and have to receive hand-overs over virtual platforms. Yet we’ve all made it, myself included! I joined Audi just two months before lockdown and it hasn’t been easy but change and true growth of ability has never been easy.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
Open communication will always be key, and courageous leadership is a part of that. Employees and leaders need to be honest about their boundaries and what works for them, and leaders need to be brave in working without the usual structure in place.
Wellbeing comes from creating one’s balanced lifestyle and managing it accordingly. You can’t blame others if they don’t know what is important to you. Working well together – across all levels – is only possible when there is mutual respect and flexibility for each other’s needs.
2020 AND BEYOND
ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY READING?
I have six half-read books next to my bed. I’m not good at sitting still to read. I guess I’m Team Audiobook!
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I’ve just started the second season of The Mandalorian – I’m a bit of a Star Wars fan.
IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE SOCIAL DISTANCING COOL, IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
I love a simple smile. Masks make that difficult (other than smiling eyes) but if masks go and social distancing stays, I’m very happy to use a warm, genuine smile in place of a hug or handshake any day!
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
I hope that every person I haven’t seen or spoken to in a long time is doing okay!
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?
I’m working on letting go of the ‘need’ to fix situations. Recently I was reminded of how trying to fix a misunderstanding can sometimes cause more damage. It’s important to know that the perceptions of others are not in your control and if they’re not accurate, it doesn’t matter. If they ask, answer, otherwise leave it be.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
I see myself getting more involved in mentoring and nurturing talent. I’m not sure how or when but I have a feeling that is in my future. Learning golf and traveling the world to play golf with my husband is on the list, as are too many things to list here!
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Have more confidence in your abilities – just try the things that you are interested in. You are smarter and more capable than you realise.