We had a chat with Shameema Adams who is the Group Marketing Manager for private hospital group, Melomed. With a dominant matriarchal presence in her family, she learned about the importance of having a strong work ethic. Today, she reaps the rewards of her work ethic having being nominated for a stellar industry award. Let’s learn more about her on this segment of Women In Marketing
LET’S GET PERSONAL
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR WOMEN IN MARKETING SERIES, SHAMEEMA. WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR MEMORIES GROWING UP?
I am South African and was born and raised in Cape Town. Mahir, my husband, is an organic farmer. We have two sons, Anwar (20) and Luqman (15). I have six siblings. As the second youngest sister, I found my voice and developed thick skin at a young age.
My father sadly passed away when I was 13 years old. My mother and older sisters have always been my anchor and role models. I was raised with a strong work ethic; it has been a major driving force for me throughout my life. I am blessed with a large family and cherish the many wonderful memories.
Most prominent is the freedom we enjoyed. It is in direct contrast to the current environment.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN YOUR HIGH SCHOOL/COLLEGE YEARS?
My High School career was very much experiential.
I tried to do activities that were different. For example, when the girls took up the needlework class, I would be one of two girls to join the “woodwork” class – which I thoroughly enjoyed! My university career started immediately after matric but took longer than planned due to financial constraints. I was always up for an adventure 😊
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULD FEEL NO SHAME FOR NOT SHARING!
My favorite meal is one prepared with love and joy – the ingredients are irrelevant. Growing up in a large family, the concept of not sharing is strange to me. The best meals I’ve known have been prepared by my mom. What makes it extra special is being blessed to share a meal with family.
IMAGINE WAKING UP $10 MILLION RICHER TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
The true measure of success for me is being content, where I have enough to give and I realize that I am enough. I measure success by making a difference in the lives of others, and that is probably where the money would go.
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 reside on a farm in the heart of Philippi Horticulture. What most people do not know, is that over and above my business working day, I spend my spare time and weekends playing a farmer’s wife role.
We are currently expanding; it is an exciting time for us. I was nominated for the Female Entrepreneur Award for Smallholder by the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries in 2018. This was a memorable moment and a great accolade!
CAREER AND WORKPLACE
WHAT ENCOURAGED YOU TO PURSUE A CAREER IN MARKETING? AFTER ALL, MOST OF US GREW UP WANTING TO BE DOCTORS, RIGHT?
My career in marketing started with research for an international company and naturally transitioned to communications and now marketing. What I love most is that the challenge is constant – build profitable client relations. The best part of marketing and rewarding is to see a positive result in projects, events, campaigns etc.
My days are filled with energy and joy and I love it!
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
I am neither!
On a day that needs a “fix”, you will find me at Seattle coffee with a Butterscotch Latte..hmmm.
I find strength in my relationship with my creator. The day starts with my early morning prayer, getting ready for work and dropping off my youngest son at school. I then start off a very productive day – firstly, email check and response (I cannot leave emails unread and not action – no matter what).
I check on my marketing team and discuss the action points for the day as well as attend scheduled meetings. Similar to healthcare (particularly over the past two years), you cannot always plan as situations in hospitals and the head office are ever-changing. Therefore I am adaptable and responsive based on patient/hospital situations.
Although mainly office-bound, I put lots of effort into visiting the hospitals and offering assistance and support to my team who face challenges during this period. ALL hands on deck are required. My day ends off with a final check on daily reports and emails. Finally, when reaching home after fully sanitizing, my family time kicks in with meal prepping and discussions with my sons on their day at school and university.
Once the inhouse duties are done I spend some time outdoors just before the sunset – chatting with my parrots, dogs, and checking up on the horse. My husband and I will then walk through the fields and greenhouse to check up on the farm – so balance is very important to fulfill my duties for the day. The day ends with evening prayers and a quick cuddle with the cat.
THE PANDEMIC DISRUPTED OUR ROUTINES AND DAILY COMFORTS. HOW BEST DO YOU MAINTAIN A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
My work-life balance has not been significantly impacted as I did not work from home and rather supported our hospital colleagues throughout the pandemic. As a family, we nevertheless needed to adapt to online schooling and university online classes.
This required me to assist when I came home to enjoy the younger one managing and coping with a very different way of learning. Much more time and effort is required to ensure the family is managing emotionally and mentally during the pandemic. They were naturally concerned about me being in healthcare – extra precautions were taken in our home. I am very aware of any changes and try to listen more, engage more often and let my family and my team know that I am available. I also take time to understand and respect my personal need for rest.
YOU HAVE A BBA FROM THE SMC 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?
I believe it is your willpower that will ensure you can succeed. Juggling between work and studying was challenging. Against all odds, I persevered and pulled through. The company I worked for was extremely supportive as was my family. What I thoroughly enjoyed about learning online, was that my kids could see that no matter what age you are, you can do it.
I’m hoping that I was an inspiration to them for completing my BBA with great results.
I would support online learning if the literature, the course material and support is of the highest quality. This is what I received from SMC University and the Red & Yellow School when studying Digital Marketing.
I also believe that education will possibly be steered to more online. We have now seen UCT offering online high schools which I think is a fantastic way to get learners prepared for tertiary education. We must, however, also consider the social and health aspect of the youth and look at creative ways of keeping them active and inspired.
WORKING FROM HOME/HYBRID MODEL OF WORKING MAY SOON BECOME A REALITY FOR MOST ORGANIZATIONS GLOBALLY. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON REMOTE WORK AND WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR CHALLENGES AS WELL AS WAYS YOU’VE MITIGATED THESE?
I support the Hybrid Model; it allows the balance of work and home situation to be more easily fulfilled. I have witnessed some people thoroughly enjoying working from home, whilst others yearned to be at the office with colleagues. Therefore, a combination would be ideal. From a mental wellbeing perspective, a few days at the office and a few days working from home would lead to a better lifestyle and a more balanced one.
Globally, there has been a great success and not to mention, the benefits to the environment i.e. less carbon emission, less traffic stress, more time on hand.
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 ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDE THE NECESSARY SUPPORT FOR WOMEN AS WELL AS MOTHERS?
I have tried to retain my physical and mental strength and energy throughout Covid. I think it has affected everyone, irrespective of their gender. I believe though, organizations should recognise that females have natural empathy and can execute with strength and compassion, which makes them incredible leaders, especially in humanitarian crises.
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 tap into parts of my brain (as well as heart) that I didn’t know were there. In these unprecedented times, I have learned that a calm demeanor allows me to make practical and sound decisions. It has been and continues to be tough, both personally and professionally.
I had to adapt to several additional roles. It has also been a time to seek and embrace opportunities.
KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW TODAY AND IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Make plenty of mistakes and learn from them. Be kind and have fun!
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Personal = Travel (lots of traveling).
Professional = create meaning and uplift others to realize their full potential. If an opportunity arises, then to be on the Executive Board where I can provide guidance and leadership.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR SHEROES?
My Mother – need I say more?
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I need to use all my senses when reading – so paperback it is!
I am reading a few books.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, the Horse (Charlie Mackasie).
Far and Away (A A Gill).
Because of you (Dawn French).
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Korean Series, Turkish Series
WHAT WOULD YOU COME BACK AS IN THE NEXT LIFETIME CAREER-WISE? DO YOU THINK YOU MISSED A CALLING?
I secretly always wished to practice medicine. This pandemic has highlighted the importance of health and affirmed the need for specialist care.
My career has allowed a window for me to see my dream career in action; I am grateful for that. If I could do it over again, I would choose to be a specialist doctor.
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 want to be remembered for having a positive impact on my colleagues, and for always being and bringing my best self.
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
It’s been 29 years since my dad passed away, but he remains front of mind and close to my heart. My prayers will always include him.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Never take yourself too seriously. Place a high value on your relationships and make time to balance your lifestyle. In marketing, the industry is always evolving. Make sure you keep abreast of the latest trends and innovations. Take up short courses and do lots of research.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME SHAMEEMA. WE HOPE THIS INTERVIEW WILL INSPIRE FUTURE LEADERS AND OTHER WOMEN IN MARKETING. HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU AND YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
On my LinkedIn page, Facebook and Insta 🙂