Boikanyo Thabane featured image for #WomenInMarketing
Women In Marketing,  South Africa

Women In Marketing 2024 Edition ft. Boikanyo Thabane from ABSA

Corporate entities find themselves at a crossroads, grappling with a critical decision: Should they embrace the hybrid work model as a permanent fixture or revert to the pre-COVID ways of working? Boikanyo Thabane, Marketing Manager for ABSA Rewards, weighs in on this pivotal topic and more in our enlightening segment of Women In Marketing.

Personal Background:

Describe your high school and college years. You were the coolest one, right?

I was one of the cool kids, haha. I went to two high schools, and the experience was great. The second high school I attended taught me how to handle and deal with change because I needed to adapt quickly. Furthermore, it also gave me a lot of genuine friendships that I still cherish.

Boikanyo Thabane full image

What’s your favourite meal that you wouldn’t share with anyone?

I’m not much of a foodie, so I don’t have a specific favourite meal. However, I have two sisters and we share everything. Including eating Korean Ramen noodles from each other’s plates, haha.

What would be your plans for a sudden $10 million windfall if you were to receive it tomorrow?

I would invest some of this into my side cosmetics business and help it grow by launching new products. Secondly, I would take my family on a young vacation in and around some African countries. Finally, I come from a community where substance abuse is quite common and I would help the youth in my community to keep busy and stay away from the streets by upskilling them through sports, arts and basic business practices.

Can you share an interesting fact or hidden talent not found on your LinkedIn profile? Previous Women in Marketing candidate Anastasia Hamel says that she can breathe fire!

I don’t know if this is much of a talent but I can sing and rap. I had recorded some songs back in 2013 with the late DJ Spoko.

Career and Work:

How do you typically start your day, and are you #TeamCoffee, #TeamTea, or both?

I’m definitely on #TeamCoffee! However I start my day with prayer, listen to my upbeat music while completing my to-do list to get me pumped and hyped for the day and then make a warm cup of coffee (no matter the weather).

Boikanyo holding a cup of coffee.

What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing? Didn’t the “I want to become a doctor” bug bite you?

I like to say I got into marketing by default because I had no plans to become a marketer when I was younger. I was one of those students who wouldn’t tell you exactly what career they wanted to pursue. All I wanted to do when I got out of high school was pursue a career that involved getting creative and included business management. The Marketing Management course I registered for exposed me to these.

You hold a BCOM Honours in Strategic Marketing Management from UNISA (You Go, Girl!!). Considering the rise of online educational platforms like Coursera and Google Skillshop, how do you foresee the future of tertiary-based education?

Thank you! 🙂 

I think we will defo see an increase in online learning in the future. The pandemic forced most students to learn and adapt to learning through online models during the COVID-19 lockdown period. This made most people comfortable with learning through platforms like Coursera and Google Skillshop. A number of these programs also offer free courses that people can register for. This is another aspect that may increase online learning in the future (people learning skills for free in the comfort of their homes). 

Many industries had to create systems overnight that would enable their respective workforces to work from home due to the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s your perspective on remote and hybrid work, and how have you dealt with its challenges? Do you have a preference?

As with any other model, a remote/hybrid work environment has its pros and cons. However, I lean more towards the pros as  I have seen that a hybrid/remote working model has increased collaboration for most people than when they are full-time in offices. This has allowed me to make more connections with my colleagues across different departments and business units.  

Working remotely, however, can sometimes get lonely because there is limited physical interaction and no corridor mgosi (gossip) with my colleagues, haha. 

The Future of Remote Work, According to Startups. Women In Marketing 3
How productive is remote work? According to Visual Capitalist

According to the WEF, the pandemic caused a 4.2% reduction in women’s employment compared to 3% of men (from 2019 to 2020). How can organisations better support women and mothers, especially in light of the pandemic’s impact on women in the workplace?

Women have been fighting for more opportunities and equality in organisations for centuries.

Organisations can ensure that women don’t fall victim to discrimination and prejudices within the organisation by ensuring their counterparts know the prejudices women face and the danger of gender-based discrimination. Mothers have to balance showing up at work fully and still maintain relationships with their children and partners. Organisations need to ensure that they offer these women an opportunity to balance their lives without adding pressure to them. Also, offer services and support groups where women can create communities to help one another on a personal and professional level.

Graph showing employment levels amongst genders from 2006 until 2021
Source: ILO

How can organisations ensure equal opportunities for women to advance into executive positions?

Organisations need to focus on promoting women who are at the expert level as well as entry-level. To do this, organisations should give managers the annual objective of recruiting, retaining and promoting their direct female reports. Ensuring that they are skilled and where they lack skills, ensure that they are trained through courses, mentorship or on-the-job training. 

2024 and Beyond:

How have you been since the start of the pandemic, and have there been any significant personal or professional moments from then until now?

Although this was not the kindest of times, the period assisted me with working on the best version of myself. From getting fitter and healthier to learning new skills. I was very fortunate to have progressed into roles I have sought since the start of my career. 

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

I’d let younger Boikanyo know she does not have to worry about the future so much but focus on the present moments. 

What are your personal or professional goals and aspirations for the future? We hope to see you on Forbes’ Most Influential CMOs list. No pressure!

I’ve met several executives in the past six months who have done such great work through their entrepreneurial ventures. The skills they’ve learnt on their entrepreneurial journeys have assisted them in identifying solutions to problems in corporate organisations. This has shown me that it’s possible to be an ‘entrepreneurial marketeer’. With this said, one of my personal goals is to apply the skills I have learned as a marketer to grow my small business to reach broader audiences and to apply the skills I have learned.  So you’ll see my name on that Forbes list in the future, haha.

Full image of Boikanyo Thabane.

Who are some of your sheroes?

Advocate Thuli Madonsela, Oprah Winfrey, Chuma Madyibi, Kharoline Sinankwa, Malala Yousafzai, Rihanna, Violet Thabane (my mom) and Nomzamo Mbatha just to name a few.

What are you currently reading, and how do you consume your content?

I love self-help books. I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Inner Work’. I prefer reading paperback books. 

What are you currently streaming that you’d recommend?

I’m currently streaming a series called Painkiller on Netflix, and I’m recommending this mainly because it is based on true events.

You wake up one day, and before you know it, you are nearing retirement. What would you like your professional legacy to be? Furthermore, what do your colleagues and superiors admire about you the most?

I’d like to be known as a person and leader that took leaps of faith and it worked out every time. They admire my courage and willpower.

We are always looking for amazing Women In Marketing to profile. Who would you like us to get in touch with?

Barbara George -Brand Group Manager at Clover

Share a unique message for young professionals in the marketing industry.

This is an exciting industry to work in. You get to watch all your creations come to life and change people’s lives through the services and products you offer. Keep creating to make a good impact on people’s lives. 

Thank you for your time, Boikanyo. We hope this interview will inspire future leaders and other Women in Marketing. How can people follow you and your company on social media? 

 Here is my LinkedIn profile


As Managing Director at naughtybanana, I am responsible for leading and managing the organisation’s marketing strategies and business development. I am involved in driving brand awareness, customer acquisition, and revenue growth through effective marketing initiatives, market research, and collaboration with cross-functional teams. I have experience working with clients in various industries such as defi, crypto, music and events, consumer packaged goods to name a few. I am passionate about entrepreneurship and creative problem-solving which help me stay updated on industry trends and foster innovation to drive the organization’s competitive advantage in the market.