Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chwayita Cwy Mandini is a creative marketing guru and the Marketing Manager for the South African Broadcasting Corporation. She is a creative individual who lends her imagination and innovative ideas to her career while using a client-centric approach to improve product marketing objectives. Throughout her work with the South African Broadcasting Corporation, Cwy created communication initiatives and branding strategies to increase radio listenership, managed internal and external marketing campaigns, ensured brand consistency, and more.
Working with the broadcasting company has helped Cwy Mandindi achieve many career goals. Her marketing efforts ended in her station being awarded at the Liberty Radio Awards for having the highest number of loyal listeners for two consecutive years; additionally, Cwy ran a mobile voter’s campaign and a campaign with MTN’s music streaming service.
Though she has focused and worked diligently on her career, Cwy Mandindi made sure never to lose her creativity and freedom of expression. No matter where she is on her career path, she has proven time and again that she is a visionary who constantly seeks improvement and evolution. Cwy’s creativity shines through her forward-thinking approach, as it allows her to stretch her creativity to projects that have served her employers well. Her numerous skills have even assisted Cwy in establishing Soweto TV, a South African community TV channel that broadcasts across the biggest township in South Africa.
Cwy Mandindi is an accredited member and Marketing Practitioner with the Marketing Association of South Africa and Black Management Forum. These roles have helped to grow Cwy’s leadership skills; these skills are something Cwy values, as she wishes to inspire others as a female leader in her industry. Her skills shine a positive light, and recognize her as a marketing professional.
Outside of her marketing career, Cwy Mandindi is an established micro-influencer in travel (specifically, South African travel). She has had the opportunity to take part in travel initiatives and influence the tourism industry within South Africa. Cwy launched travel and tourism solutions and campaigns for South African Tourism, SANParks, and Mpumalanga Tourism Parks Agency. Her travel work earned her a featured spot in True Love Magazine, a popular South African fashion, beauty, and lifestyle magazine for black women.
Our Interview with Cwy Mandindi
Question: What’s the most important thing we should know about you?
Cwy Mandindi: I’m an energizer bunny, and I just bring a great aura whenever I come into a room or into a new environment, so I always expect to engage with people who have a spark or fire in them as well. I generally lead with heart and compassion, and I think that makes me a stronger leader rather than a weak one. I value a work-life balance and take work-life boundaries seriously. For example, I don’t take work calls on weekends unless I’m expecting to be working that weekend or we have a strategy session coming up the following week. Family is very important to me. I will turn everything into an adventure; even the opening of an envelope becomes a big adventure for me.
Question: Name the most impactful lesson you learned from failure
Cwy Mandindi: Failure has taught me that everyone faces a critical point in their lives that may force them to change dramatically to rise to their next level of performance. Fate has dealt me two retrenchments in my lifetime, and it became so important for me to see and seize those moments as much-needed breathers and time to work on myself, amplify my strengths, enjoy my passions and not fall into an abyss of depression. It’s also become important for me to remind myself that although I might be failing at this moment, I’ve crushed some serious goals before, I’ve overcome a couple of setbacks, and I’ve won certain battles and still lived. The key is courage and resilience.
Question: What did you waste the most time on when you were first starting your career?
Cwy Mandindi: I avoided asking a lot of critical questions and engaging in critical conversations that I think could’ve paved the way for thought-leadership, challenged me to build my confidence and my presence (to be seen and heard) in my industry. I honestly never saw thought leadership as career insurance. I focused too much on the knowledge I was acquiring on the inside of the walls of whatever company I worked for and did not amplify the volume to have important people hear about me and my work or build powerful networks! I spent my time on frivolous industry parties building social circles rather than networks, and I had the spotlight, but it was focused on the wrong conversations.
Question: Name a tool you use for work that you can’t live without.
Cwy Mandindi: My phone. Some of these interview questions were completed during important trips, and where I didn’t have the luxury of editing documents on a laptop, I’d do so on my phone. I have a few apps that I really think have amplified my craft and responsibilities as a marketer:
- Photoshop and aftereffects on for video editing
- YouTube for story-telling
- Canva for design work and everything in my life. I solve all my admin problems with Canva
- Microsoft Projects and Google docs for coordinating my team’s work and seeing document edits in real-time
- Grammarly, particularly the press releases I must churn out
- WhatsApp, Signal, and Teams are my go-to apps for communication. To be honest, I can live without Teams (hehehe) but not the other two.
Question: What is your favorite hobby and why?
Cwy Mandindi: Definitely a cross between hiking and traveling – basically an adventure holiday. For me, endurance is God. When I hike, when I throw myself off a cliff or a plane, when I take a simple walk, I am praying. Travel is the same, and that’s probably why I enjoy being a solo traveler. My travels are an adventure for me. I’ve never had a dull travel experience, there’s always a “these things really did happen to me” moment in my travels.
Question: What excited you the most about your industry right now?
Cwy Mandindi: Marketing has completely transformed the way in which we communicate with one another and access, share and disseminate information. The industry is constantly evolving. We moved from using traditional mediums to amplify our strategies to digital in such a short space of time. Then we went back to advocacy marketing and called firebrands and early-adopters “influencers”. The next shift will be the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence. Consumers are demanding greater privacy protections and control over their data, and marketers will need to adjust and do away with using third-party cookies to collect data about their consumers.
Question: What concerns you most about your industry right now?
Cwy Mandindi: Marketers faced and will probably continue to face a landscape disrupted by a pandemic, new business models, new applications of tech, and the fallout of regulatory changes. The eventing part of marketing saw a lot of suspensions of in-person events while virtual events became the linchpin for engaging with customers, which saw a massive shift toward digital marketing. Marketing budgets were reduced drastically.
Question: What’s the greatest risk you’ve ever taken?
Cwy Mandindi: I once bet on myself by quitting my job to put myself first. I had no other jobs lined up, but I felt more empowered to prioritize my own well-being above my employer at the time and take the time to find a good match. Another risk was traveling during a pandemic. It wasn’t my intention to dare the might of the pandemic but traveling through a couple of countries during its peak probably made me a more versatile and open-minded traveler. I know which clauses are now important to look out for when getting travel insurance for example. I also learned quite a bit about the protocol of various embassies around certain countries. It was a worthwhile risk, dare I say.
Question: Name one small habit that positively impacts your productivity.
Cwy Mandindi: My morning walks help both my mind and body, and it prepares me for what is to come and help boost my focus. I use walks to prepare my task reminders on my phone. These tasks also help me track deadlines. Another habit is shutting the world out. I used to lock my office to ward off any interruptions and possible diversions to my work. The WFH (working from home) phenomenon really helped as I started exploring various spaces to work from whenever I felt stifled by the walls of my home.
Question: What tips do you have for getting a seat at the table?
Cwy Mandindi: I would say that you would need to understand the various moving parts of any business and the company you’re employed in, and you know what’s expected of you. Identify what skill set is critical to keep the business running and be proactive in your approach so you can contribute to other areas of the business and not have a silo-mentality that leans towards only your job description. Be future-focused- with the constant evolution of marketing, study trends so you can preempt what might happen in the future that might affect your organization.
Question: What book has made the biggest impact on your life?
Cwy Mandindi: The most recent book to make that impact was: “Upstream” by Dan Heath, which basically talks about how we can all respond to and solve problems before they happen by implementing upstream interventions. The Coronavirus outbreak globally proved that the world, in general, reacts to problems. Most countries had no proactive strategies even though records of the Spanish flu could’ve been learnings for many governments around the world. The book takes us through a few proactive measures implemented by companies like Expedia to help avoid future problems and not be stuck in a cycle of responses.
Question: Do you value intelligence or common sense more? Why?
Cwy Mandindi: Both. For me, it’s equally important to have the basic ability to perceive, understand, and judge situations and environments in a practical manner- common sense. A simple example of this would be what they call “reading the room”, which could be anywhere from a social setting to a corporate setting. We should have the common basic ability to watch peoples’ faces and body language while we’re around them so you can see how they’re reaching towards us.
Likewise, having intelligence, particularly intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence (or emotional intelligence/ EQ); cultural intelligence, which is the ability to relate and work effectively across cultures and Adversity Quotient or AQ, which is the ability to go through a rough patch in life and come out without giving up in face of trouble. Those, for me, will take one further in life than IQ on its own.
Question: What would you consider to be the perfect day?
Cwy Mandindi: Sharing a happy moment, a smile, laughter with loved ones. Making new contacts. Ticking off everything on my to-do list. Kissing my parents on their foreheads as I do every day and every night. Winding the day off with a movie or an episode from a series.