Those around us can make our lives enriched and better when they influence us positively. Our people are our everything – they nudge us in the right direction, give us advice, show us a different perspective and lift our spirits when we don’t have the energy to pick ourselves up. The Metropolitan #MyPeople.MyEverything campaign encourages South Africans to acknowledge their collective and to give thanks to them because in all honesty; where would you have been without the positive influence of those around you? Metropolitan CEO, Peter Tshighuvo, Metropolitan Chief Marketing Officer, Nontokozo Madonsela and the creatives behind the concept Black River FC’s Melusi Tshabalala and Bogosi Motshegwa share a glimpse on the impact their collectives have had on their lives.
Peter Tshiguvho, Metropolitan CEO
“Author and leadership pioneer, Warren Bennis said: “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born – that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.”
As a leader, I believe that ongoing development is vital to remaining relevant. Every person is born with certain God-given talents and character traits. However, for me it is important that I put in the hard work to develop my talent and learn new skills all the time. I have also had many role models throughout my life who have knowingly or unknowingly steered me in the right direction and had an influence on my leadership style.
My collective is a combination of family, teachers, fellow students, colleagues and other leaders who all taught me the value of hard work, self-discipline and perseverance. My mother who raised me as a single mom, inspired me to make something of my life. My fellow students inspired self-discipline and perseverance in my life. I remember a time when I wanted to quit my journey towards obtaining my MBA and a fellow student advising me against that. Had it not been for this individual, who knows, maybe I would have given up.
I have other leaders as part of my collective. I had a manager who taught me valuable life and financial lessons. The lessons I have learnt from this individual has stayed with me throughout my life and career, and I find that I, in turn, impart these lessons to people I might be able to influence today. As I progressed, I found that I could always tap into the principles I have learnt from others to good effect.
Our collective shapes every aspect of who we become. They can inspire us to explore the world beyond what we know, to make the right choices, and to believe in ourselves. The behaviour, values and principles we learn from those around us stays with us forever, and it becomes an indelible part of who we are as humans and by default as leaders.
I am where I am today as a result of a combination of my collective, numerous factors as well as the inner drive to grow and always learn.
Bogosi Motshegwa, Head of Strategy, Black River FC
The idea of ‘Inspiring the power of the collective’ was where we found a spark when we had the task of coming up with the #MyPeopleMyEverything campaign. This is more than a campaign, it’s life. It’s rare that a brand marketing campaign is informed by truths and life itself. This is one campaign that doesn’t feel like a contrived narrative. Whoever sees the brand TV commercial or hears the “My People My Everything” stories told by others; they too will see themselves in it. This is the first campaign where I don’t ask people what they think about it, I ask them how it makes them feel.
Personally, a moment that resonates with the campaign message is when I got my foot in the advertising industry. Lucy Mphatswe from The Imagination Lab at Vega School insisted I take a learnership with the Lab despite my reservations. I went for the interview and as soon as I stepped into the premises, I refused to leave. It was that moment that led to where I am today. Had it not been for Lucy, I wouldn’t have met Colin Reddy and several other advertising professionals who influenced my journey. Colin loved my name [which means king] so much that every time he saw me; he would call it out and bow-down to me as he chanted; “Bogosi”. He was an everyday reminder that my name was powerful. He may not know this, but what he was doing each day was cementing my confidence, which is what I tap into with each boardroom that I step into.
Alone, life can be scary, stifling, and a bit boring, and we don’t always know the answers. If we consciously live with others, life can become more enriched. The good people around us make life better. Those who make a positive difference are the people that we should acknowledge, recognise and give thanks to. Your people are everything, never forget that. Choose your people wisely and deliberately, because together, life can be what we envision and more.
Nontokozo Madonsela, Chief Marketing Officer Momentum Metropolitan Holdings
There are quite a few people who have positively influenced me into choosing marketing as a career. I used to watch news channels with my Father, and it was from watching CNN, that I knew I wanted to be able to tell stories and debate like the news anchors on the TV screen.
The guidance lessons at school focused on helping kids figure out their career choices and avenues to apply for bursaries were available. Through the resources provided at school, I got to know about companies that offer bursaries. My guidance teacher further coached me into applying for a bursary which led me to study Accounting at the University of Natal.
By the second year I knew that Accounting was not for me. I had a mentor who worked with a group of first year students who observed how good I was with Marketing. So, when I needed to change my degree, she was so supportive and affirmed that my plan for marketing was the right one. My transition from Accounting to Marketing became smoother than anticipated as I received a bursary that eased the financial burden on my Mother.
My collective from when I was younger remains critical in my career, but as I have grown, the positive influences have changed and grown. This is because my collective does need to align to life stages and the environment I’m in. Mine have grown from employer to employer and as my level of influence has grown in organisations where I work, I rely on mentors and thinking partners.
It is imperative to nurture your collective as they become critical members of your “tribe”. Life can be very challenging if faced alone; making decisions on your career or dealing with growth ambitions is harder if you don’t have a collective around you. Keep your network alive by having regular coffee dates to connect and do let them know how you value them so that they can be encouraged to remain connected to you.
Melusi Tshabalala, Executive Creative Director, Black River FC
The campaign is a reminder to people that all that we need to thrive in life is around us – it is in the people we surround ourselves with. With this campaign, we entrench the brand as an essential part of your collective. With the TV execution, we wanted to tap into a kind of story that all South Africans can identify with.
The campaign is important to me because I am a true believer in the power of a beautiful, simple, human story. It reminds us of our humanity and grounds us. This campaign is built around such stories in seeking to imprint Metropolitan into people’s hearts and minds. That is what stands out about it and this campaign. People really have been coming through for me is a woman who owned a Placement Agency and was privy to my story of being in the advertising industry. She committed to pay my fees for the first year of my studies and I’d work hard to get a bursary for the second year. I passed the entrance exam and by then she had managed to organize a bursary for me. I am where I am today because she was and still is part of my collective.