“People work hard for people they respect and a great leader needs to be flexible and willing to take his people’s input into account.”Louise Rebstein
With a passion for travel and tourism, Louise has worked for British Airways as well as Emirates. She is currently IWG plc’s Global Centre Set Up Marketing Manager. Let’s learn more about her journey in this segment of Women In Marketing.
LET’S GET PERSONAL
WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FONDEST MEMORIES?
I was born at the Tygerberg Hospital as a result of an affair and a botched lie on my Mothers’ part, resulting in me being in an orphanage to being deserted with my two older sisters in a Muizenberg hotel fending for ourselves before the age of three. I had two older half-sisters who did what they could to help me fend for myself, but my story changed at 3 when a family found me in the hotel and took me in and eventually adopted me by the time I was four.
The good memories far outweighed the bad after that and my first three years were forgotten. But lazy carefree days spent at the public pool and bicycle rides with my best friend around the neighbourhood -! Those are fond memories!
SHOW OFF TO OUR READERS. ANY HIDDEN TALENTS THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW OF? A CLARINET STAR IN THE MAKING PERHAPS?
When I was younger, I would spend many hours painting and drawing – as life got crazy, I didn’t really do as much, but recently (before lockdown) I went on a ladies paint night, and surprised myself that I still had it in me and painted a beautiful elephant! It’s a talent, but one I need to make time for.
WE WOULD ALL LOVE TO WIN THE LOTTERY RIGHT? IF YOU WON $10 MILLION TOMORROW, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH YOUR FORTUNE?
I think first and foremost pay the bills – as any responsible person would then plan an amazing RV holiday across America (once lockdown ends!) Helping those in need is definitely a big priority for me and Sophia who works for me in the house would get set up for life … and I would invest for my children’s future!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? THAT ONE MEAL YOU ABSOLUTELY WOULDN’T SHARE WITH ANYONE!
I have many because I love food! But probably a Mexicana Pizza is no.1!
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?
I always knew I wanted to be part of that ‘’exotic’’ team I saw who had so much fun travelling to shows and making people’s dreams come true with their giveaways to great destinations and handing out little gifts and merchandise!!
So when I finished school I went to study Travel and Tourism – and I was top of the class in my first year, and British Airways gave me a job. Then whilst at BA I decided to go to night school and completed a diploma in Sales and Marketing Management during the evenings and weekends. This led to me being able to apply for a UK & Ireland Marketing position in the UK and the rest is history!
YOU HAVE ACCUMULATED AN ENVIOUS AMOUNT OF EXPERIENCE HAVING WORKED FOR TOP-TIER COMPANIES SUCH AS BRITISH AIRWAYS AS WELL AS EMIRATES, WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THESE ROLES AND HOW DO YOU APPLY IT IN YOUR CURRENT ROLE AT IWG PLC?
My time at British Airways ignited my love for travel and my love for Marketing. I learnt the basic principles such as segmentation of different target markets and the marketing techniques for each. Most beneficial was having the patience to work on coming out of my shell, being a shy girl, it was a mammoth challenge to overcome that and work with my colleagues both young and old, near and far.
Thereafter, Emirates gave me the opportunity to learn specialised skills such as e-commerce, Google Ads and Paid search campaigns – I recall getting the job and my husband said to me – ‘’what does that mean?!!!’’ I was lucky to be at the forefront of online booking tools in South Africa, which gave me a great advantage. I was well-educated on how to work with culturally different people – reporting into men-only teams in Dubai, where sometimes women are considered the underdogs. I recall proving, more than once, that I was worthy to be in the team!
My 18 years combined in the airline industry was an amazing foundation for my various marketing roles at IWG which I was headhunted for and the experiences have grounded me. Together with my passion and love for marketing, I continue to strive to be the best I can be.
AS A WOMAN IN THE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS ENVIRONMENT, WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE ORGANISATION AND/OR INDUSTRY AT LARGE? WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER FEMALE PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS FRATERNITY?
For Marketers, it’s incredibly important to note that women are the most powerful consumers, representing over 80% of all consumer purchasing through a combination of power and influence. This has gone unnoticed for years, but I believe that women are dominating the Marketing industries and making great strides in this regard.
ENTERING THE WORKPLACE
WHAT DOES THE TYPICAL DAY OF WORK LOOK LIKE? ARE YOU #TEAMCOFFEE OR #TEAMTEA? OR BOTH? YOU BEAUTIFUL REBEL!
HOW BEST DO YOU STRIKE A WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I have two boys who ground me and keep me very busy! Be it pre-COVID-19 where I was running them around to various sporting activities 6 times a week, or now during the lockdown, helping them in between meetings with various home-schooling or Scouting online activities!
HOW BEST WOULD YOU DEFINE GREAT LEADERSHIP?
Executives can make or break companies.
That is why it’s important that good leaders take responsibility for the great tasks at hand. They always need to show integrity. A good leader is someone who can see the 360degree solution to any project, big or small. People work hard for people they respect and a great leader needs to be flexible and willing to take his people’s input into account.
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?
This is a tricky one as years go by, if you stayed in the same job for more than 2 years it wasn’t seen as a good thing – and now if you move too quickly it can be seen as suspicious !!! Whether it hurts or aides your career is all in the eyes of the recruiting company!
FORBES HAS AN ANNUAL ‘THE WORLD’S MOST INFLUENTIAL CMOS’ REPORT. FOR THE YEAR 2019, ONE OF THE KEY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT WERE THAT 31 OF THE 50 CMOS LISTED WERE WOMEN. IN YOUR OPINION, IS THIS A POSITIVE REPRESENTATION OF GENDER EQUALITY?
Yes, over 60% – the numbers say it all!
COVID19 HAS BROUGHT WITH IT AN UNPRECEDENTED DISRUPTION TO THE WORLD. SEVERAL COMPANIES ARE NEARING BANKRUPTCY WHILST OTHERS HAVE BEEN FORCED TO EITHER CLOSE-DOWN 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?
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, leadership at all levels is being tested. From junior marketing managers to C-level executives, response to the pandemic and its disruption of our day-to-day lives will leave a significant mark on our lives.
For marketing professionals, this is an even more volatile situation. In digital, they have to think beyond using location data and targeting to drive traffic to stores or boost online sales. Marketing agencies and brands are feeling the heat in South Africa following an extended period of lockdown.
In retail, where Generation Z represents 40% of global consumers, tactics are shifting. Putting it into the perspective of a respected advertising industry executive, it is clear that brands need to rapidly evolve or go extinct.
Marketing individuals need to be flexible and adapt to these evolving times.
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. WITH THAT BEING SAID, WORKING FROM HOME/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?
In my opinion, where organisations struggle to convert to this way of working, you tend to have an older generation of top tier management who often think that ‘’working from home’’ or ‘’working remotely’’ means that staff will not do what is required of them and will instead take the day off!
It’s a mindset change that needs to happen across the management. Treat your staff like adults. And remember that you hired them to do a job, so trust them to do it and if they don’t, you will find out really quickly!
STORYTELLING SEEMS TO BE THE NEXT RISING BUZZWORD. WHAT’S THE IWG PLC STORY? HOW ARE YOU TELLING IT IN AN INTERESTING WAY?
At the start of 2019, IWG gathered the opinions of more than 15,000 business people across over 100 nations.
We asked them about the key drivers for flexible working, how it’s being used by international businesses, and what perceived obstacles to introducing and increasing it still remain. The results show there’s a major power shift towards the employee – they now have more input on how they work, and where they work. And businesses that understand this see boosted productivity, higher talent retention, and greater agility!
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 OWN 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?
In my opinion, (and watching my teenage son pass his phone over to share something off TikTok with his brother, or be engrossed in a discussion about how the dance on Fortnite was originally done by a teenage girl), the pandemic will only increase influencer marketing. With no social interaction, more and more people will turn to this form of new-age marketing. Many who would otherwise be shy or stray away from the limelight, will now take to media like TikTok and create video content for all to see!
WHAT APPS/SOFTWARE/TOOLS CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?
Canva; Audible and WhatsApp!
2020 AND BEYOND
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING? (WHAT DO YOU READ, AND HOW DO YOU CONSUME INFORMATION? PAPERBACK VS EREADER?)
I am just about to start the ‘Seven Sister Series’ by Lucinda Riley. Paperback is my preferred way to read!
WHAT IS ON YOUR NETFLIX WATCHLIST?
I am currently watching Homeland but a favourite has to be Lucifer, or a good dose of Masterchef!
AS WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH COVID19 IF YOU COULD REPLACE THE HANDSHAKE AS A FORM OF GREETING, WHAT INTERESTING NEW GREETING WOULD YOU REPLACE IT WITH?
My son came up with a tap of the foot – which makes more sense to me than a handshake any day !
WHO HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OR TALKED TO IN A LONG TIME AND HOPE THEY ARE DOING OKAY?
Growing up I had two very special friends. As time goes by and kids keep us busy, I see less and less of them which saddens me as we have been friends since Primary school days. I still keep in touch with one more often than the other, but I think of them both often and try and check in as much as I can!
A UNIQUE MESSAGE FOR ALL YOUNG PROFESSIONALS IN THE MARKETING INDUSTRY
Hard work pays off. You will have to put in the hours to be noticed – And NO! Nobody owes you anything! Do it for yourself!
IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
If I could go back in time, I think I would tell my younger self to not be so serious all the time and to enjoy life more as there is plenty of time to be an adult later !!! This quote says it all;
“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.” — Katharine Hepburn
ANY BUCKET LIST ITEMS (PROFESSIONAL AS WELL AS PERSONAL)?
Visit Nepal and tour America!
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FEMALE HEROES?
Malala Yousafzai – a young girl who stood up for herself and other women against the Taliban in Pakistan, insisting that girls be allowed to receive an education. She managed to survive a shot to the head by a Taliban gunman and went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights advocacy work. Her most famous quote is “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” — Malala Yousafzai
HOW CAN PEOPLE FOLLOW YOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA?
Follow me on Linkedin for all our updates!