A great leader for me is one who is willing to share their knowledge with those they are leading. One who seeks to inspire and grow a new team of better leaders than they areElsie Adewa
We had a chat with Elsie Adewa who is Partner & Chief Marketing Officer at BusinessCom Consulting Services. The marketing bug bit her quite early on in life. Elsie’s dad was part of an ad campaign as the project lead, she knew then that this was the field she wanted to work in. A lover of all things Google, we’re going to learn more about the awesome things her organisation does on this segment of Women In Marketing. Welcome!
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I Was born in Nairobi, Kenya. My fondest memories were of the 12 house court we lived in from when I was 6- we played basketball, baseball, Shake & my favourite- disguise hide & seek… we played it in the evening and we got to wear disguises so the person counting wouldn’t be able to tell who was who until it was too late- fun times!
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS YOU CAN SHARE WITH US? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
I could make you a dress/outfit from scratch! (something I tinker with from time to time)
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
First thing I would do is Tithe a tenth of it (I believe in giving back; to the church especially) and set up a trust for my daughter. Then I would use the rest to just travel!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
Ugali, wet fry pork and kachumbari + lots of chillies, hands down the best dish- ever!
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD OF MARKETING? WHAT PARTICULAR MOMENT IN TIME PUSHED YOU TO PURSUE THIS CAREER? AFTER ALL, WE ALL WANTED TO BE DOCTORS GROWING UP, RIGHT?
When I was 11, my dad who was then the Commercial manager at Total Kenya, was project lead on an ad campaign ‘Total by choice’ He came home and had us sit for the debut of the ad on TV… I was hooked. I wanted to do that! I was hooked and just knew that was what I was going to do.
IF YOU COULD BE ANY ANIMAL IN THE WORLD, WHAT ANIMAL WOULD YOU BE AND WHY?
I’ve always been fascinated by Wolves. They strike me as intelligent, with super survival instincts. It’s like they don’t make apologies for who they are…beautiful, intense & mysterious. I just love them.
WHAT’S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN’T LEARN FROM YOUR LINKEDIN PROFILE ALONE?
I would probably thrive in a hippie style colony with no internet and just books and nature. Really!
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
GIVE US A SNEAK PEEK OF HOW YOU TYPICALLY START YOUR DAY. ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
My Day starts at 5 am with me lying in bed making lists and planning the day. I’d take coffee all day if I could- #TEAMCOFFEE!
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I’m lucky enough to work in an organization where I can design how my days work. I will only work at a place for as long as I am happy, engaged and loving it- when that stops, it’s not worth it- life is too Short. I’m glad I have now found my forever job though- where I don’t have to choose between life and work. I love them both and it’s working!
WHAT APPS/SOFTWARE/TOOLS CAN YOU NOT GO A DAY WITHOUT UTILISING?
G Suite- now rebranded to Google Workspace. I use a Calendar for scheduling work and home activities; Google Meet for meetings when I’m at home and Chat to communicate with colleagues and clients. Then, of course, there’s Instagram, Facebook & Linkedin.
HOW BEST WOULD YOU DEFINE GREAT LEADERSHIP?
A great leader for me is one who is willing to share their knowledge with those they are leading. One who seeks to inspire and grow a new team of better leaders than they are. Great leadership is setting a stage, being the stepping stone for the next in line to take over and run the vision.
YOU HAVE ACCUMULATED AN ENVIOUS AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE HAVING WORKED FOR TOP-TIER COMPANIES SUCH AS MCCANN, JWT AS WELL THE BRAND KENYA BOARD. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THESE ROLES? HOW ARE YOU APPLYING THESE EXPERIENCES IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT BusinessCom Consulting Services?
Yes, I have been blessed with great opportunities throughout my career. The most important lessons I have learned is that if you do not love what you do, the job becomes so much more of a burden and hard as you try you may be good- but never great. I have learned that paying opportunities that you get forward, ALWAYS works in your favour down the road. And that mentorship is important- it helps you gauge your progress and reduces the roadblocks in your path to success.
YOU OBTAINED YOUR BACHELOR’s DEGREE IN COMMUNICATION FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA (GIRL YOU FANCY!). ACCORDING TO GLASSDOOR, IT HAS BECOME SEEMINGLY EASIER TO APPLY TO WORK FOR COMPANIES LIKE GOOGLE, APPLE AND STARBUCKS AS THEY DO NOT REQUIRE APPLICANTS TO HAVE A DEGREE. HOW CAN YOUNG WOMEN UTILISE THE INTERNET TO UPSKILL THEMSELVES PARTICULARLY IF THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO OBTAIN A FORMAL EDUCATION?
Degrees et al are great, they give one an excellent foundation, however with the speed at which the world is evolving trends/ industries are likely to change in the time it takes to get that degree. I believe this is why platforms like Coursera, Edx, Alison are quite popular. They teach practical bite-size courses that allow one to upscale their skills without the burden of cost and time associated with degrees. Young women should take advantage of this to further their prospects…
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 Job hopping is a double-edged sword. It could help you but just as easily hurt you…
For some, it may work in their favour and for others, it could be catastrophic for their prospects. As one who has hopped a fair amount, I have been lucky enough to enjoy career growth and invaluable experience as well as picked up great connections that have brought me to where I am. For those looking to do this I would advise that the reason for the Hop should be more than just money, but rather in search of career growth/fulfilment.
FOR OUR INTERVIEW WITH YAEL TAMAR FROM SOLIDBLOCK, SHE REMARKED THAT WOMEN ARE MOST LIKELY TO OCCUPY THE CMO ROLE AS COMPARED TO THEIR MALE COUNTERPARTS. WITH WOMEN CONTROLLING OVER $20 TRILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING, WHY HAS IT BECOME INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT TO HAVE FEMALE CMOS IN YOUR OPINION?
I believe the key to successfully selling a product, service or idea is greatly dependent on consumer understanding. Women are more empathetic and more attentive to the needs of people and thus better address that need; this I think is the reason why they are likely to thrive better in this position
COVID19 HAS BROUGHT WITH IT AN UNPRECEDENTED DISRUPTION TO THE WORLD. SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE NEARING BANKRUPTCY WHILE OTHERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO SHUTDOWN OR LAY OFF THEIR STAFF. WHAT SHOULD THE BEST COURSE OF ACTION BE ESPECIALLY IN THE MARKETING CONTEXT AS WE ADAPT IN THIS ENVIRONMENT? HOW HAVE YOU AND YOUR DEPARTMENT COUNTERED THE EFFECTS OF THE PANDEMIC?
As Henry Ford said ‘Stopping Advertising to save money is like stopping a watch to save time’
I truly believe this statement. We did not stop or scale down marketing efforts. We spent this time working on our digital content educating businesses on how to minimise the effects of the pandemic… how to scale down without shutting down- how to integrate and still function.
SYSTEMS AROUND REMOTE WORK AND VIDEO CONFERENCING ARE INCREASINGLY BECOMING STAPLE IN MOST ORGANISATIONS. ACCORDING TO THE INFOGRAPHIC CREATED BY VISUAL CAPITALIST, ZOOM IS NOW WORTH MORE THAN THE 7 BIGGEST AIRLINES IN THE WORLD AT A WHOPPING MARKET CAPITALIZATION OF JUST OVER $40BN. SUFFICE TO SAY, REMOTE WORKING IS AN ASPECT OF MODERN-DAY WORK THAT HAS BEEN LONG OVERDUE. IN YOUR OPINION, WHY HAVE MOST ORGANISATIONS STRUGGLED TO CONVERT TO THIS WAY OF WORK?
I think it’s mostly because for many organizations ‘remote working’ was somewhat a distant concept… we knew we would end up there…but not just yet. So when the pandemic hit, many were caught flatfooted. Making such a change amid a crisis I believe would be quite challenging- so many things to think about and implement at once.
REMOTE WORK HAS COME WITH ITS OWN SET OF CHALLENGES, PARAMOUNT TO THIS IS THE FACT THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOW ‘ALWAYS ON’ WITH WORK CARRYING OVER EVEN BEYOND WORKING HOURS. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW CAN ORGANISATIONS MANAGE THIS BETTER TO PROTECT THE WELLBEING OF THEIR EMPLOYEES?
As a Google Partner for Google Workspace (formally G Suite), we are educating our customers and other businesses about exactly that- how to manage work-life balance. Using a collaborative platform such as this, employees spend less time ‘navigating the system and more time focusing on core functions in their roles’
STORYTELLING SEEMS TO BE THE NEXT RISING BUZZWORD. WHAT’S THE BusinessCom Consulting Services STORY? HOW ARE YOU TELLING IT IN AN INTERESTING WAY?
At BusinessCom, we wanted to take all the technical jargon out of the tech space we operate in. We have found that if we explain to you how Google Workspace can benefit your business using terms and references you relate with and understand, then you are more likely to try it- we have had so many ‘aha’ moments this way.
So we are telling our story by sharing our experiences and opening up our world to our audiences- showing them how our lives have changed and potentially how our services can do the same for them.
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? HOW DO YOU DEFINE INNOVATION AT BusinessCom Consulting Services?
What makes something innovative? The ability to stand out whilst solving a much-needed problem- simply.
BusinessComs Definition of Innovation- We don’t consider ourselves as software providers… For us, Google Workspace (G Suite) Is an excellent collaboration platform, which in combination with our BusinessCom Workspace Academy & much more, has created a unique solution for businesses looking to transform how they work…
AT THE TIME OF PUBLISHING, THE DIGITAL MARKETING INSTITUTE ESTIMATED THAT THE INFLUENCER MARKETING INDUSTRY WILL HIT THE $10BN MARK BY 2020. WHETHER B2B OR B2C, IT’S EVIDENT THAT BRANDS AND ORGANISATIONS HAVE HAD THEIR SUCCESS WITH THIS MODEL OF MARKETING. HOW WILL THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AFFECT THIS INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD AND DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS STILL A PLACE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
I don’t think Covid will affect this much. There will always be a place for influencers because influencer marketing to me is just referral marketing on a grander scale and since the beginning of time, the most effective form of selling has been through referrals.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF BusinessCom Consulting Services BIGGEST SUCCESSES IN MARKETING OVER THE PAST 12 TO 18 MONTHS?
One event we are particularly proud of is the ‘Wine O’Clock Conversations with Google’ that we held on the 30th of September. Since the lockdown, the mode of reaching out has primarily been through Webinars… we felt that by now ‘webinar fatigue’ had set in. So, we decided to do it differently- Have an event that would happen via Google Meet, without presentation decks/seminar-style presentation- essentially a conversation about Google Workspace, over a glass of wine (from Richard Branson collection) online! Not only was it a roaring success, but we did win significant business from it.
WHAT’S YOUR SMARTEST WORK-RELATED SHORTCUT OR PRODUCTIVITY HACK?
Our Business is one big shortcut/Productivity hack 🙂 Google introduced a new update to Google Workspace that put all my most commonly used applications in one place and easily accessible…so nifty and so much more convenient.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON MARKETING AND SALES ALIGNMENT? HOW DO YOU ALIGN YOUR MARKETING AND SALES TEAM AT BusinessCom Consulting Services?
Our Marketing efforts serve to pave the way for sales. By educating the world (our various target audiences) using simplified and relevant content, we make it easier for Sales to jump in and close the deal. We believe that neither of the 2 functions can succeed in isolation so we work very closely together on the content strategy.
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?
I’m reading several books. My Constant Bedside companion is of course the Bible. Also- ‘Ikigai‘ by Hector Garcia & Frances Miralles
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
Just discovered Emily in Paris… interesting series. That, cooking shows plus oldie movies like Salt, The Blind Side, Coming to America 😉
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU INTRODUCE?
I’d revive the ‘air kisses’ 🙂
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
My Godmother. She is a nurse in the US. With all that is happening there, I pray she is okay.
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
There is no formula. Focus on understanding your audiences, keep learning and you will succeed.
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
Get a mentor early!
Failure is not the end, it is just part of the process, don’t spend too much time worrying so much!
Also, have 2 more babies 😉
WHAT CHALLENGE IS ON YOUR PLATE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAINPOINTS YOU ARE TRYING TO OVERCOME IN YOUR LIFE WHETHER PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY OR BOTH?
Growing our business in this covid riddled new world and beyond
Personally- with all the stimuli out-there- music, culture, presumed standards etc raising a resilient daughter that will be better prepared and equipped to succeed without sacrificing a life she can enjoy
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS?
Attend the next Rugby World Cup
Trip to Santorini
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOUR COMPANY ON SOCIAL MEDIA?