Making a debut from Tanzania for this edition of Women In Marketing is Ndimbumi Msongole from Adlex Communications. With the Fourth Industrial in full effect, Ndimbumi shares with us how the education sector will change in so far as the digitization process is concerned.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, NDIMBUMI. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I was born in a town called Arusha. It’s a tourism city in Northern Tanzania that is surrounded by a beautiful landscape, Mount Meru, National parks, Tanzanite mines and has some of the most energetic, resilient people.
One of my most interesting memories growing up is seeing a man on a speeding motorbike, he and his friend full of dust, heading to town to sell their newly mined gems. The other one is of me in an aeroplane cockpit with my teacher. I did well in a test and was selected as one of the two students in our class to take a tour of the airport.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
Mostly a quiet person. I would speak when it was necessary and daydream about becoming a billionaire, haha. I had very few friends, was never keen on physical sports but earned my respect because of my sharp tongue. Funny story: my O-Level best friend was named Grace, then in high school, I got another friend named Grace. I was popular because of my name and attitude towards life. I always made it clear that I wanted the best in life. I was going to work hard for it all.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
Rice and sardines (dagaa). In Tanzania, we have a variety of tiny fish because of the three lakes and the ocean. My favourite comes from Victoria lake. When those delicious things are cooked with coconut milk, myyy.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I will start by building my two beautiful homes. One would be on a cliff preferably where my mother was born (Gonja Mtii). The other would be by the ocean in Dar Es Salaam. Three million would be invested into my consulting company Adlex Communications, one million will be given back to society, one million invested in other ventures.
With the rest of my fortune, I will travel the world and try extreme sports to feed my inner child. I will skydive in Dubai, Spend Weeks on beautiful islands, tour all of Africa, Scuba Dive in Australia, and watch a volcano somewhere in the world. The list is endless, but I want to do it all with my family and friends.
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, ANASTASIA HAMEL SAYS THAT SHE CAN BREATHE FIRE!
I love Africa with all my heart. I love the people, the culture and the beautiful land. Because of my confidence and attitude as well as hair colour, many people have told me that I belong in America. What I tell them is I love my country and continent and there is nowhere else I’d rather be.
I am also a speed demon. There is just something about fast cars and jet skies.
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
Yap, I am no exception. Growing up, Grace and I used to talk about building a hospital for kids. Marketing for me started with my love for TV. Growing up, it bugged me that the quality produced by our local TV did not come close to what I saw on cable.
At sixteen, I made a television show proposal and gave it to the programs manager at the largest network in Tanzania, ITV. The lady smiled and told me to go back to school and come back after my studies. I did and got a job at EATV, which is a youth version of ITV. From there, I found my way in marketing because a producer needs to sell a show and observe what is being sold on the show by sponsors.
It all fascinated me, and here I am.
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I start my day at 04:45 am for my victory hour. I put all my focus on me for an hour. I exercise, journal, meditate and read a book. From there, I pick out one important task and attack it before I head out to the office.
When I get to the office, hey #teamcoffee
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
Thankfully both my kids go to school so when it is mandatory to work from home, I have the first 6 hours to work uninterrupted until my youngest returns. Then, it’s a tricky balance with a lot of yelling sometimes. The pandemic did us a number. The best part is I got to live just the way I wanted, me working from anywhere in the country and still delivering.
YOU HAVE A BA IN MASS COMMUNICATION FROM THE TUMAINI UNIVERSITY. TERTIARY EDUCATION, AS WE KNOW IT, TOOK A DRAMATIC TURN DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. HOW DO YOU FORESEE THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION CONSIDERING THE INCREASING POPULARITY OF ONLINE EDUCATIONAL SITES SUCH AS COURSERA AND GOOGLE SKILLSHOP THAT HAVE DISRUPTED THE TRADITIONAL MODEL OF LEARNING?
The future of education is personalised. I believe we are heading to a time when all education resources migrate to digital spaces; students will get to tailor their education on a needs basis. I hope that Africa can catch up, we have vast resources but our youth are not equipped to specifically tap into the resources and build our empires.
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANISATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
The pandemic came right after I read ‘The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich‘ is a self-help book by Timothy Ferriss. It was funny and scary to find myself practising the very things I had learned. It was hard adjusting to working from home. The first weeks were a blur and unproductive, then it was just as hard to get back to the office.
I embrace the new hybrid model of work; it is about time we enjoy life while we work. My challenges solved themselves once I accepted reality and selected to isolate myself when I was working to maintain my focus.
ACCORDING TO A REPORT COMPILED BY MCKINSEY, THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE. THE REPORT FURTHER ILLUSTRATES THAT WOMEN HAVE INCREASINGLY BECOME MORE EXHAUSTED AND SUFFER FROM BURNOUT AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
Communication is the best way to go around this – it is first and foremost crucial to acknowledge these issues and create a safe space for women to talk about them. Companies can offer more flexible timelines to women who share their situations and equip them with the necessary tools to help them stay productive and avoid major burnouts.
2021 AND BEYOND
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SINCE THE START OF THE PANDEMIC? ANY PIVOTAL MOMENTS IN YOUR PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL LIFE YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
I have been great and I am thankful for that. I belong to a very small team that treats every one of us as a family. We accomplished great things because to us, working virtually was already a pre-pandemic norm because we have colleagues around the world. I finally started my digital marketing and events management consultation and currently have solid clients that I enjoy working with. I feel truly blessed.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I would tell Mbumi to believe in herself. There is no limit to what she can achieve. I will also tell her to spend more time with her dad! Life is short.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Professionally is to work with the President of Tanzania, Samia Suluhu Hassan to drive the agenda of closing the gender digital divide in Tanzania. I am still in awe that we live in an era where the top leader is a woman and I root for her. I root for Tanzania.
I would also dream of going to space. I am cheering on the efforts by business giants like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson to normalize space tourism. Space fascinates me, I can wait to be that much closer to the stars.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
My mother, for bringing me up with virtually no restrictions and allowing me to blossom into who I am today. Then there is my boss Diana Ninsiima, one of the best human beings. She does all she can to bring out the best in me and challenge me when I think I have reached my limits. And then Samia Suluhu Hassan, my president. Her being in power is the best thing ever because now my 3-year-old will grow up thinking it’s normal to have a female president. So cool.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I am reading ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK‘ by Mark Manson. I love both pack and e-reading. I even do audiobooks. It all depends on what is available to me when I am ready to read that book.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
The Witcher, The crown and Bridgeton got me hooked. Now I am trying to stay away from that part of the internet.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I would be an archaeologist/ Historia. History fascinates me and I think ours (African) hasn’t been told properly. We have offered the world so much in culture, politics, the art of war, medicine and architecture but little credit is given because we are not so well represented in history.
WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE HOW FORBES CURATES THEIR MARKETING-CENTRIC CONTENT. HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO READ THROUGH THEIR CMO NEXT 2021 FEATURE? WHILST ON THE TOPIC OF GREAT MARKETEERS, WHEN YOU RETIRE ONE DAY, HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE REMEMBERED AS A PROFESSIONAL?
I would like to be remembered as the woman who built brands that were in all sense respectful/considerate of gender, culture and humanity as a whole. I wish to take an active role in buildingAfrican brands so our children will grow up to be relevant role models. I endeavour to avoid working with any brand that conflicts with my values.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
Easy, that will be my cousin Angela, she used to live with us but had to go back to her family duties in her hometown.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Chase and accept those big deals and jobs. There are very few of us, even fewer in top positions. And, as if it can’t go lower, there are even fewer of us owning our businesses. I had a lot of fears: I still do but, I choose to push them aside every day and ask for bigger challenges. Ladies it is not as hard as we make it out to be. If this is what you want, simply let go, shine Queen!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME NDIMBUMI. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Personal LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mbumi
AdLex Communications LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/adlex-communications/
AdLex Communications Twitter: @AdlexC