On this segment of Women In Marketing, we chat with Bridget who aspires to become a top real estate agent and is deeply committed to supporting women in the workplace, advocating for flexible work arrangements and gender pay equity. Her journey and insights serve as inspiration for young professionals in the marketing industry.
Thanks for taking the time to participate in our ‘Women In Marketing’ feature. Where were you born, and what childhood memories stand out for you? Describe your high school and college years. You were the coolest one, right?
I was one of the coolest kids in high school; well, more like the entertainer of the school. I was the one who was always performing at school concerts. High school was not always easy, I was a teenager with bad teeth and I was teased a lot. Even when I got braces to fix the problem I still got teased. That did not deter me from being determined and focused. I was one of the top performing students and finished high school on a high.
Varsity was an opportunity for me to get out of my shell and find my identity. It was not easy, but I made great friendships and they supported me when I needed them the most, like when I finished all my allowance in two weeks and had to go with my friend to her parent’s house just so I can eat 🙂
What’s your favourite meal that you wouldn’t share with anyone?
I love seafood, all kinds. Not a lot of people I know love it, so I’m safe there:) Pap and canned fish are always a good idea too.
What would be your plans for a sudden $10 million windfall if you were to receive it tomorrow?
Funny how I have always had a plan for this, hahaha.
I would be lying if I didn’t say I would make sure I am stable financially (paying off my house, school fees etc.) During my first year in varsity, I struggled a lot with computer literacy, simply because I went to a school in a village. I would make sure I make a difference in that way, have matric students ready and equipped for varsity and support them. It can be as simple as buying a few computers for school to teach them the basics of computer literacy.
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 am a great organiser and also a self-taught photographer: Visit my Instagram page.
Career and Work:
How do you typically start your day, and are you #TeamCoffee, #TeamTea, or both?
I used to start my day by reaching straight to my phone, until I saw a video online that says how you start your day, sets a tone for the rest of your day. Now, I begin with a prayer. Even when I reach for my phone, it is to read the daily prayers my brother sends to our group chat Definitely #TeamTea.
What inspired you to pursue a career in marketing? Didn’t the “I want to become a doctor” bug bite you?
Well, honestly? I wanted to be a dancer. I remember telling my parents that I wanted to dance, and they simply said “Okay, you can do that, as long as you do a “proper degree” first. Remember in the 90’s, your success was your parent’s success and to them, dancing was not a career.
I knew I was good at interacting with people and marketing involves interacting with various stakeholders, including clients, customers, and colleagues. If someone excels in communication, enjoys building relationships, and has strong persuasion skills, marketing can be a good fit. I was ticking all those boxes and now it is my passion. The fact that marketing evolves continuously, is an exciting space to live in. It is like opening a new gift every single day.
You hold an MBA from Regenesys (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?
I think These platforms have democratised access to education by providing flexible and affordable learning opportunities to a global audience.
In the future, I foresee tertiary-based education becoming increasingly blended, combining both online and offline components. Traditional brick-and-mortar institutions will continue to play a crucial role, but they will need to adapt and integrate online learning into their curricula to stay competitive.
It’s important to note that while online platforms offer numerous benefits, they may not completely replace the value of in-person education and the campus experience. Many disciplines, such as laboratory-based sciences, performing arts, or hands-on vocational training, still require physical infrastructure and face-to-face interactions. Therefore, a blended approach that combines the best of both online and offline learning is likely to shape the future of tertiary-based education.
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?
I support remote and hybrid work fully because it allows individuals to have more control over their schedules and work from the comfort of their own homes or any location with an internet connection. I believe it can promote a better work-life balance and accommodate personal commitments.
It is an emerging work model that I believe offers the flexibility of remote work while providing opportunities for in-person collaboration and connection.
AI is the hot topic of the day, most specifically, generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Google Bard. How do you address the challenges you face in your day-to-day responsibilities? Any particular tools you’d like to plug us with?
I believe daily challenges mostly depend on the team you work with and the work ethics around it. If you have great communication as a team, you can quickly come together to help deal with major challenges and help each other resolve any problem you may face
I use ASK AI Chat GPT App and it has helped me in a lot of instances where I needed clarity on what I am working on and just to help with idea generation.
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?
The pandemic has indeed had a disproportionate impact on women in the workplace, exacerbating existing gender disparities. To better support women and mothers, I believe that organisations can for instance implement flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible hours, compressed workweeks, or job-sharing arrangements. This can help women balance their work and caregiving responsibilities more effectively.
They can establish family-friendly policies that support working parents, including parental leave, childcare subsidies, on-site or near-site childcare facilities, lactation support, and provisions for returning to work after parental leave.
Most importantly ensure gender pay equity by conducting regular pay audits and addressing any wage gaps. Promote equal opportunities for career advancement and provide mentorship and sponsorship programs to support women’s professional growth.
How can organizations ensure equal opportunities for women to advance into executive positions?
Most definitely address unconscious bias which can hinder women’s advancement opportunities. Organizations should provide training and awareness programs to address biases, create a more inclusive culture, and promote fair decision-making processes. Companies can also Implement leadership development programs specifically targeted at women. These programs can provide training, mentoring, coaching, and networking opportunities to help women build the skills and confidence needed for executive roles.
Lastly, develop robust succession planning and talent management strategies that identify and nurture high-potential women within the organization. This involves creating clear pathways for advancement, regularly reviewing the pipeline of women leaders, and providing development opportunities to prepare them for executive positions.
2023 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?
The Pandemic opened my mind to a lot of things. I realised that one must do as much as one can and that it is okay to fail. During the pandemic, I started a home decor store, and that ignited my passion and unleashed my other passions. I now also sell second-hand clothes and I enrolled for a real estate agent course. I love pushing boundaries.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
It is okay to fail, just as long as you learn from your failures and keep pushing.
What are your goals or aspirations, whether related to your professional or personal life that you hope to achieve in the future? We are optimistic that we will see you in the Forbes’ Most Influential CMO’s list.
Becoming a top real estate agent and developing my expertise in marketing. I would also love to work for an NGO in the future that will help give back to the youth of South Africa.
Who are some of your sheroes?
It may sound cliche, but the four women in my life, are my late grandmother, my mom, my aunt and my sister. They each instilled so much in my life I would never have been where I am today if it were not for them. My grandmother taught me how to love and respect people, my mother’s resilience, my aunt’s excellence and my sister’s patience. They are my heroes.
Professionally within the marketing space, it has to be Wendy Bergsteed, Head of Marketing, Old Mutual as well as Nunu Ntshingila, Head of Facebook Africa.
What are you currently reading, and how do you consume your content?
I use both online and paper. I read online when I just want to quickly unwind, maybe at work while taking a break.
I do not have a TV in my room, so I read a lot of books:)
- The power of positive thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (Paperback)
- A Culture Turned by Steve Simpson & Stef Du Plessis (Paperback)
- Million Dollar Agent by Phil Hollander & Dan Lok (eReader)
What are you currently streaming that you’d recommend?
I love true-life drama series or anything based on True events and documentaries. Currently watching: Saving Capitalism on Netflix.
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 would like to be remembered for always caring for myself with dignity and being ethical. I am sure most of my colleagues would appreciate my honesty and directness.
We are always looking for amazing Women In Marketing to profile. Who would you like us to get in touch with?
Share a unique message for young professionals in the marketing industry.
Never stop learning and being up to date with marketing trends, that is your winning formula
Thank you for your time, Bridget. 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 are my social media channels: