As we adjust our lives for the “new normal”, maintaining a work-life balance has become increasingly more difficult. On this segment of Women In Marketing, Sandra from ADvTECH Resourcing talks about the importance of creating boundaries to achieve the ideal balance in ones life. She unpacks more, let’s dive in!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, SANDRA. LET’S START ON A LIGHTER NOTE. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I grew up in Johannesburg on the Westrand. Some of my best childhood memories are playing games in the street with the neighbourhood kids. We didn’t have a care in the world.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
I was an easy-going teenager, very responsible. I kept my grades up and enjoyed taking part in lots of different school activities, sports, culture, etc.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
Elephants are such intelligent animals. Elephants are self-aware and compassionate. Plus, just because of your size, most other animals will steer clear.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
My mother’s homemade chicken pie, wouldn’t share that ever!
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
That’s easy. Make sure I can feed as many hungry children as possible. No child should go hungry, ever.
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!
No hidden talents here, I am afraid!
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
I was lucky enough to partake in a student exchange program to the USA when I was sixteen. I spent a year in a small town called Fairmont, attended school, and experienced a whole different world. It changed my idea about what career I wanted to pursue as we got exposed to career shadowing and career fairs and lots of technology.
I would be in digital marketing one day.
It was ordained!
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
Oh, I am #teamcoffee. I only drink one cup a day, first thing in the morning so it has to be the perfect cup.
HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
It is not easy.
Boundaries are important. Decide when is office time and when is home time. I try and make sure I get away for vacation every few months to recharge. Don’t try and be all things to all people, focus on your strengths. And most importantly learn to delegate. Surround yourself with a strong team and trust them to do their jobs well.
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?
Mentorship is important. I’ve had a few women that played a role in helping me to develop my skills and grow my career. For me, it was imperative for my personal development but also to help you manage the mental part, the stress.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Enough sleep. Sleep makes a world of difference in terms of productivity.
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?
I think it depends if you’ve done some job-hopping that has helped you develop some sought after skills or where you got to work with some great people it will aid your career.
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?
Honestly, I think women have a different perspective.
They can identify easier with different target audiences. Women have more natural empathy. Plus by nature, I think women are just really good at multitasking. With that said, I also know some great men that have done phenomenal work in these roles. I am not sure it’s so much gender as personality.
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?
Unfortunately, equal salaries are still one of the things that we see a fair share of inequality. Strides have been made in the gender gap. However, far too many companies will pay women less than their counterpart men in the same role.
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?
Fear of the unknown mainly by leadership in companies. A lot of companies have this idea that employees are only able to perform their job when they are under the watchful eye in the office.
There are challenges with remote work. In my opinion, however, it offers so many more opportunities that I find the reluctance by companies to consider this as very short-sighted.
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?
The key is to ensure employees have manageable workloads and the right technology to work smarter and faster rather than harder. It’s being in touch with your employees’ physical and mental health and thinking differently about a five day work week. Remote work offers so much opportunity to do it differently, better.
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?
That is such a difficult question to answer! For me, it’s probable to be able to find unique solutions to a problem.
HEMAL THAKKAR, BRAND MANAGER FOR BURGER KING INDIA IS A RECENT WOMEN IN MARKETING FEATURE. ONE OF THE KEY AREAS SHE IDENTIFIED FOR CONTINUED GROWTH IS THAT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF MARKETING LOOK LIKE ACCORDING TO YOU?
One too many marketing models used to work very well in the past. Personalised marketing and data-driven marketing is becoming increasingly important.
Consumers are looking for one on one real relationships. They want personalised marketing messages, speaking to their wants and needs. It will be a delicate balance as it conflicts with calls for more data privacy.
2020 AND BEYOND
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Stop worrying about what other people will think, follow your heart, and take more risks.
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?
Professionally, the biggest challenge is to stay up to date with technology and the latest trends. Things change constantly. It’s wonderful, but also sometimes daunting.
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Most of my bucket list items have something to do with travel. One I will share is something I’ve had on my list for a while. But the timing has never been right. I want to see the loggerhead or leatherback sea turtles lay their eggs. I think it’s just one of those goosebumps moments in life that you won’t ever forget.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
I have immense respect for Thuli Madonsela. The graceful manner in which she carries herself. How she takes responsibility, her strong ethics, decision making, and consistent action is an example to all.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
At the moment, I am reading mostly fiction. It’s a bit of escape from the harsh reality of life. I love the feel of real books but, these days purely from a convenience point of view I read mostly on my tablet. I am busy with the ‘Seven Sisters’ series written by Lucinda Riley.
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I don’t think I want another career. I am happy exactly doing what I am doing now.
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I don’t have that much time to watch Netflix. I’ve just started with The Crown.
WE ARE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR AMAZING WOMEN IN MARKETING TO PROFILE. WHO WOULD YOU LIKE US TO GET IN TOUCH WITH?
One of my mentors, Pranusha Ramchander.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
This industry changes daily. It is invigorating and with plenty of opportunities if you are willing to work hard. Just follow your passion!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME SANDRA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
I am always happy to connect and collaborate with people on LinkedIn @Sandra Olivier and people will be able to find and follow the brands I work for on there too.