Lebogang Rasethaba; Mzansi’s authentic auteur

Standard

First published on www.mediaupdate.co.za in November 2015

Lebogang Rasethaba is the filmmaker who invited the world to the apartheid after-party with 2014’sFuture Sounds of Mzansi documentary featuring Spoek Mathambo. The film garnered serious media hype and awards, as has Rasethaba in his multifarious career.

News Article Image for 'Lebogang Rasethaba; Mzansi’s authentic auteur'

By Remy Raitt

The movie-making maverick delivers provocative pieces of film across the big and small screen, usually focusing on authentic South African stories. His work has featured on platforms like i-D and Vice, and his films have been ardently received at local and international festivals. He says his love for film springs from its ability to “open peoples’ experiences beyond what a lived-reality can offer”. “It gives interesting readings of society and allows people to connect with moments and emotions across different eras,” he says.

Rasethaba has strived to make these connections through documentaries, branded content, music videos, short films and adverts. At the IMC Conference in Johannesburg, he said the trick to getting this all right is “making content people actually want to watch”.

The filmmaker’s journey to honing his craft began as an imaginative teenager. “Like most creative kids growing up I was always drawing, taking photos, writing … but filmmaking gave me what other mediums couldnt, it felt like the ultimate platform for storytelling because of how closely it is able to mimic life,” Rasethaba explains. At 18, the native Joburger took on a degree at UCT after which he ventured to China, where he lived, studied and worked for five years.

But perfecting his Mandarin wasn’t the biggest lesson Rasethaba learnt on his sojourn abroad. “China made me realise the innate beauty of our society,” he says. “The most valuable lesson I learnt while I was there was being sensitive to different cultures, especially when framing ones that aren’t yours,” he explains. “As a filmmaker you need to be aware of your position and power relative to your subjects’ position and story, that’s why I am most comfortable making the films I make, its easy to talk about stuff that I get at a very fundamental level.”

This “stuff” he speaks of is usually the real stories of South Africa and the subcultures that drive them. Rasethaba says he’s drawn to capturing the country’s essence as he feels audiences, both at home and abroad, are yet to discover the real Mzansi. “A lot of the ways people think about South Africa are really f**ked up and warped. People here and people outside haven’t been able to interpret the nuances of how we function as a society,” he says. “I think, for the most part, we still don’t fully grasp the magic, the beauty, the treasure that is South Africa.” So this is his modus operandi; to honestly capture this magic and share it on screen.

This is one of the reasons Rasethaba began Arcade, a division of Egg Films, who produce content that doesn’t fit into the realm of traditional TV films. “We wanted to bridge the gap between filmmaking at a very pure level in the form of free-flowing real narratives, but with the polish and finesse of commercials,” he explains. “I personally like a raw, guerrilla style documentary approach, it suits the type of stories I am trying to tell. But on the flipside I want the stories to be crafted, detailed, thorough; I like the aesthetic of high production finishes that you get from adverts. Arcade is like the best of both worlds.”

Through Arcade, Rasethaba has produced slick, relevant branded content for the likes of Castle Lite, Absolut, Ballantine’s, the Soweto Marathon and Adidas. He has also filmed some of South Africa’s most cutting-edge music videos through Arcade for the likes of Sibot, Okmalumekoolkat and Sons of Kemet. His video for the latter is his favourite music video to date. “Have you seen that In the Castle of my Skinvideo?” he asks, “It’s a piece of art … The concept is something else, I lucked out there, the way it connects different cultures and creates new meaning and understanding of certain ideas. I f**king love that video.”

When asked who he would still like to produce a music video for, dead or alive, his answer is somewhat surprising. “Okmalumekoolkat,” he says resolutely. “We have made a bunch of videos together and maybe we have never reached the full potential of our joined creative abilities. I want to make a video as perfect as Alright for Kendrick Lamar, but for Okmalumekoolkat. He is a very good friend and I love his music, I owe him a perfect video.”

Another dream project is already in full-swing; Future Sounds of Mzansi II. Fans can also look forward to a new documentary that Rasethaba is making for MTV about the politics of race and identity in a young democracy.

And there’ll be tons more compelling content coming from this young filmmaker, who is clearly ahead of the pack when it comes to the class of creativity that is inspired by and encapsulates our country.

For more information, visit www.arcadecontent.tv. Alternatively, connect with him on Twitter.

Advertisements

Digital disruptor; Milisuthando Bongela

Standard

First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in October 2015

A self-confessed Internet big mouth, Milisuthando Bongela aka Miss Milli B, started her online endeavours as a fashion blogger in 2010. She’s since left the fashion industry, saying “I’m now focused on social impact; the things that speak honestly about the condition of our society, I can’t think about dresses and shoes when there is all this other real shit going on.”

News Article Image for 'Digital disruptor; Milisuthando Bongela'

By Remy Raitt

These days Bongela blogs about a myriad of topics connected to life as contemporary black woman, she writes a bi-weekly column for City Press while also contributing to their trending pages. When she’s not online, she’s getting involved in socially conscious projects around Johannesburg, shooting a short film and putting together a documentary on African hair.

At the Digital Edge Live, where she was a panellist earlier this year, Bongela said “the future of digital is disruption”. She believes this online social disturbance has the potential to make a lot of change. “In the last week we have witnessed serious disruption with the Fees Must Fall hashtag. There was two decades of nothing and then this week, where everything just went down. This hashtag revolution reached the world.”

“The hashtag embodies a lot of people’s emotions and views on where we are going as a country,” she says, “and through the hashtag people were able to project their own emotions on various things.”

Bongela believes that online disruption is not meant to sit well. “To disrupt means to change what we are experiencing, it’s uncomfortable, it’s meant to be and without social media this (#FeesMustFall) wouldn’t have happened and definitely would not have been so wide spread, so quickly.”

The online protests are what rekindled Bongela’s interest in Twitter. “At the beginning of this year I wasn’t keen on Twitter, it became a toxic space; just too competitive and there was so much policing and people calling out other’s cultural views; it was like walking into a room full of a**holes,” she explains. “But then last week I tweeted and retweeted more than I have in the last year. The revolution had me a lot more interested. It became relevant again. For me, my interest in Twitter relies on what people feel and share about a specific event.”

For this reason she says that Facebook has been her go-to social platform when looking for inspiration for her blog. “I write because I make observations from things I see on social media; the things that resonate with me. Facebook became that main source because it’s a space where people share their feelings. I mean Facebook even asks you ‘what’s on your mind’, it’s that much more visceral.”

And while she enjoys these personal connections that social media provides, she says she’s hyper-aware of the more far reaching effects they have too.  Bongela says she twigged onto the capitalist capabilities social media possess about four years ago. “On Twitter you can become someone in the way you’re able to communicate in 140 characters. It’s become the machinery that drives capitalism and politics; they complement each other,” she says.

But this sharing of ideas and opinions is what really gets her going. “We are able to form our own ideas based on what other people say online. We can retweet if they sum up how we feel or we can challenge our own views through other peoples’ differing ones.”

The opinions she forms will usually find their way onto her blog. “I post on my blog when something comes up. My life is so discombobulated, I post when something happens, but never leave it for more than three days.” She says her flip from fashion to more pressing social issues resulted in a whole new readership. “I now to try to communicate how I feel in the best way I can on my blog. I haven’t gauged the response yet. I’m sure I’ve lost my very fabulous readers but I have gained new ones who think in a way that’s aligned to my thinking or are interested in the way I view things.”

Bongela believes a great blog post is an amalgamation of a few key elements. “It’s a combination of really and truly expressing your own point of view and providing something people want to read and hear about,” she says. It should include topical and interesting things that your reader couldn’t put into words themselves and it should explore the zeitgeists of the moment.” She believes a good blogger expresses their own voice, and if her blog is anything to go by, slick design and captivating images don’t hurt either.

And although she’s online, a lot, Bongela says it can at times be overwhelming. “Social media is physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Sometimes I delete the apps to give myself time to think. Social media is taxing, but then after like maximum two days the FOMO strikes,” she laughs, “or I need to use them for work.”

Bongela believes social media will never lose its relevance. And if she keeps sharing her opinions there, we don’t think she will either.

For more information, visit missmillib.co.za. Alternatively connect with her on Twitter.

The PR chameleon, Joanna Oosthuizen

Standard

First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in November 2015

Joanna Oosthuizen, the national managing director of Ogilvy PR, says change is the most important thing in her industry. Throughout her career she’s mixed things up and moved with the times, but one thing she’s never changed is the company name that appears on her business card.

News Article Image for 'The PR chameleon, Joanna Oosthuizen'

By Remy Raitt

“I grew up at Ogilvy,” she says. “I just love the ethos here and the fact there’s this nice team of senior people who have always run Ogilvy South Africa.”

Oosthuizen began her career at the well-known agency in 2004, and says she was drawn to the industry because she felt she could really make an impact. “I simply felt that PR and communications was an area that I could make a difference in and saw it as a very credible position,” she says. And 11 years later, her sentiments remain.

She began as a senior account manager and moved her way up to the national MD position, and in that time has evolved the way the agency does business. “When I began in 2004 as a senior account manager, we purely did traditional PR, there was no social media, it was not even on our radar and digital wasn’t there yet either,” she says. But, Oosthuizen insured Ogilvy PR remained ahead of the pack as, and when, these technological advancements presented themselves, thus growing Ogilvy & Mather South Africa into the second largest Ogilvy PR office in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.

And the awards she has received for her work speak volumes. Since 2012, Oosthuizen has clinched personal awards, campaign nods and silver wear for the agency at a number of local and international ceremonies.

Some of these awards have been specifically for the agency’s digital work, born through the creation of Social@Ogilvy in 2012 and the Content Factory in 2013, both under her leadership. She says both these departments have made the agency “more and more relevant, we have reinvented PR”.

Remaining relevant is Oosthuizen’s modus operandi. “You have to constantly be reinventing yourself and your work,” she says. And before ‘integration’ became the buzzword that it is at the moment, Oosthuizen was overseeing the local assimilation of disciplines at Ogilvy.

“When we started Social@Ogilvy, we launched it in the PR business, because in PR we already understood the value of earned coverage. And it’s just grown from strength to strength as we take on corporate and consumer brands,” she explains. Ensuring the brand’s messages are shared in the right mediums and forms consequently prompted the creation of the Content Factory.

“It’s a team of experts with a quick turnaround who produce high-quality content,” says Oosthuizen. “From a content perspective; there’s got to be a quick turnaround. We’ve got a creative team that produces relevant content like videos and infographics. We produce content that’s easy to consume, and often press releases and long form aren’t.”

“This cross section also allows the different disciplines to work together. This is the future, integration; clients want to save as much money as possible. Clients want budgets to be centralised at one agency. We need generalists that understand the different disciplines. Ogilvy is really trying to build on this,” she says.

And like any successful PR practitioner, Oosthuizen always places her clients at the centre of everything she does.

“Through building client reputations, you can build strong brands that resonate with people,” she says. And this, she says, is why she loves her work. “I’m very passionate and inquisitive, I want to know about the challenges they face and how we can sort them out. I’m dedicated, and I love working across different types of clients; it offers great variety.”

It’s clear that diversity and the possibilities of re-imagination are what spur Oosthuizen on. “It’s a really exciting space to play in because the business is changing so much,” she says. “It’s so important that you’re interested in brands. You need to know what to do to step-change and take that brand into the number one spot.”

Oosthuizen says she wishes more graduates knew how stimulating a career in PR can be. “I want to appeal to young people to look at it as an option. We need a bigger talent pool. There’s a shortage of young people,” she says. And for those that are pursuing a PR profession, we suggest you take Oosthuizen’s advice; “You need to build your network and treat them with absolute respect because it’s a small industry. And then, it’s about working hard and constantly reinventing yourself. And being curious. Always be curious.”

For more information, visit www.ogilvypr.co.za. Alternatively connect with her on Twitter.

Mike Sharman turns laughs into likes online

Standard

First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in June 2015

Mike Sharman is a convincing guy. Spend 20 minutes on the phone with him and you want whatever he is pitching. The founder of online communications agency, Retroviral, Sharman is an ideas man who uses humour and cracking content to cause online excitation for a host of impressive clients.

News Article Image for 'Mike Sharman turns laughs into likes online'

By Remy Raitt

“I’m all about engaging content,” he says. “You can compare communication to stand-up comedy; the audiences are a mix of people of different ages, races, genders and creeds and when you are dealing with so many different people, you need to deliver a key premise that engages the audience, something they can all relate to. This needs to be a truth that contains local relevance, you need to create ideas that people will buy into.”

Sharman has actually tried his hand at stand-up comedy, so his analogy isn’t just verbiage, it comes from personal experience. “I basically do business comedy,” he says about his work now. “I use humour as a link to education. The only way people learn is through remarkable content. I like to entertain, my business is to entertain.” Retroviral campaigns like the Nando’s Last Dictator Standing videos made with lead agency Black River FC, the Kreepy Krawly Wrangler concept developed with E+I and the Douwe Egberts yawn-activated coffee vending machines made with Joe Public all demonstrate the agency’s cheeky approach to attaining clicks, views and shares.

With some 12 600 followers on his personal Twitter page and over 2000 on Retroviral’s, Sharman says social media is an ideal way of monitoring what people are saying about a brand. “On social media people are more honest and open, I find focus groups can be contrived.”

“I Tweet therefore I am,” he jokes. “I have been on Twitter since 2008, I really like the access it allows. Those bite sized pieces of information, I love them. I like the way data is consumed and can be converted to ideas which can transform into pitches.”

He says he is passionate about digital because of its honesty, transparency and constant evolution.  “Digital is a place where concepts and unique ideas can really take off,” he says. At Retroviral they concentrate on “The 3 C’s”; their content aims to inspire and move owned and earned communities to drive sales, which directly translates to commerce.

Connecting with their audiences is the main aim. Retroviral’s work for the Sansui Summer Cup depicts this intention perfectly. In an article he wrote for the PRISMS, where Retroviral won gold in the Social Media for Public Relations category this year, Sharman describes the campaign. “The organisers wanted to show residents of Johannesburg that local horseracing events are as relevant to them as the J&B Met is to Cape Town, and the Vodacom Durban July is to that city. However they wanted to tap into a relevant, local truth to connect emotionally with the target market, resonating with the daily realities faced by city residents.”

Retroviral did this by conceptualising and producing ‘The Jozi Jockeys’ with Spitfire that showed the similarities between jockeys on the racetrack and taxi drivers on the busy streets of Johannesburg. This branded content piece created resonance with their target audience by making taxi drivers protagonists that city residents could support like they would a favourite horse at the races. The content had a click through opportunity to drive users to buy online tickets for the Sansui Summer Cup. This kind of community engagement is what Retroviral aims for, and if their client list and PRISM, Cannes andLoeries silver wear hold any traction, they are certainly meeting their objections.

Before starting Retroviral in 2010 Sharman worked as an account manager and executive in the UK and locally. He says he drew from his experiences at other agencies and applied the lessons he learned to his own company. “When it comes to entrepreneurship people always say you have to have passion, but passion will only get you so far,” he says. His advice is to not let financial fear cripple you and not to expect things to get easier as time goes on, “as you grow the scarier and harder it gets”.

He says his infatuation with his work is what spurs him on through growth spurts and the trepidation it sometimes brings. “I’m obsessed with content, it’s kind of unhealthy. People don’t realise it’s never glamorous, it’s all about the hustle.” But it’s a hustle he is more than happy to move along with; pitching, creating and joking along the way.

For more information, visit www.retroviral.co.za. Alternatively connect with him on Facebook or on Twitter.

Farah Fortune: PR gold

Standard

First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in June 2015

PR is about creating a brand for yourself, and with a catchy name like Farah Fortune there’s little chance people will forget you in a hurry. But it’s not just her name that sparks the buzz, Fortune’s company African Star Communications, represents some of SA’s hottest talent, which says an awful lot on its own.

News Article Image for 'Farah Fortune: PR gold'

By Remy Raitt

Celebrating its seventh year in the PR world, African Star Communication represents people like Casper Nyovest, Solo, Rogue, Jason Goliath, Loyiso Gola and Tiger Brands. Fortune says she got into the big-name game when it was a relatively unexplored territory in South Africa. Since its beginnings the agency has grown and now covers more than just celebrity PR. Today African Star Communications also has a corporate and event management division, keeping Fortune forever on her well-heeled feet.

With a diploma in PR and a business law diploma from WITS University, Fortune has years of experience in the South African PR field, while also dappling in the media when she lived in the UK. Why did she take the risky leap and start her own company? “I got tired of someone else deciding how much I was worth,” she says. “I wanted to afford a better lifestyle for myself and my daughter.”

Fortune says no two days at African Star Communication are ever the same. But, if she had to describe an average day it would go something like this; “I go into the office and check mails, check my diary, catch up with the team and then attend to my workload,” she says. “I mostly oversee work through the heads of department. I ensure the final touches are added and all work has been checked thoroughly.”

And if you think celebrity PR is all glitz and glam, Fortune says you’re wrong. She says the celebrity PR doesn’t vary much from the regular kind. “There honestly isn’t that much difference. The way you handle the image is different, however the core model of work stays the same; protect the image and brand, portray it in the best possible light and always ensure transparency between audiences and the brand or product.”

And like any job, Fortune’s position comes with highs and lows. “I enjoy getting to meet new people and my job honestly allows that to happen every day. The variety of my job ensures I never get bored.” As for the lowlights, Fortune says they arise through the amount of time the job consumes. “Sometimes I fantasise about holidays I’ll never get!”

But it seems the long hours are paying off. In 2014 she won the award for Outstanding Leadership at the Women’s World Congress in India, while earlier this year she was a key note speaker at theEntrepreneur of the Year Awards nomination event.

When looking back on her success, Fortune says another highlight that pops to mind is when she dragged Clint Eastwood to one of her events, but like any good PR, she didn’t let on anymore or spill the juicy details.

Fortune’s top tips for public relations, especially when dealing with high profile clients are; “don’t be shy, network and saying ‘no’ won’t kill you.” She says an outgoing personality, being outspoken, focused and accessible are all vital skills in the industry. “Network as much as you can,” she says. “This industry is run by who you know, not what you know.”

Fortune says a bit of unawareness is okay. “Don’t be scared of what you don’t know,” she says, “Outsource!”

And her final bit of advice is to never be without your phone. You never know which one of Mzansi’s biggest names might be on the other end …

For more information on Farah Fortune, connect with her on Twitter. Alternatively, connect with African Star Communications on Facebook or on Twitter.

Media mover and shaker: Wayne Bischoff

Standard

First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in November 2015

One of Wayne Bischoff’s first jobs in media and marketing was as an advertising account executive at Yellow Pages Sales in London. Fast forward 25 years, and he’s back with the big yellow book, except now he’s playing in the big leagues back home in South Africa and has almost enough industry experience to fill his own directory, in digital format of course.

News Article Image for 'Media mover and shaker: Wayne Bischoff'

By Remy Raitt

Currently the general manager of sales at Trudon Business, Bischoff’s career spans across the industry with stints in radio, TV, print and digital both locally and abroad. But working in senior and executive positions hasn’t made him a bore, the opposite in fact. With the motto “if it ain’t fun, it ain’t happening,” Bischoff reckons his work hard, play hard philosophy has been instrumental in getting him to where he is today.

A networker by nature, Bischoff says building rapport is one of the cornerstones of a career in marketing. “Very early on in my career I built relationships with the big brands and agencies, and we’re still friends today,” he says.

After achieving a BA Honours degree in industrial sociology from Wits University, Bischoff said he had two options; “Join the army or go to another country”. “It was the mad 80s, and I missed the army call up and went straight to London,” he says. Once there, he saw a job advert calling on graduates, and fitting the bill, applied. Little did he know he was entering an industry he was soon to fall in love with.

“It was a big media group, and it was creative which I really liked. We were working on DOS PCs, redoing and designing ads.” But he says the biggest draw was the feeling of achievement the job offered. “Why I really liked it was because when clients grew or their business did well, you felt like you were apart of that,” he says.

After a year and a half, he moved on to Yellow Pages Sales, which ended up being his last job in London, in the 90s anyway.

“I then came back to South Africa. It was that time where I had to decide whether I was going to live in London forever or go back home. Mandela had just been released and I wanted to come back and see if I could make it work living in SA,” he says. And obviously, he did.

Following his move home, he worked as a senior sales executive at Enterprise magazine and as a marketing service manager, trade marketing manager and account executive at Primedia Broadcasting.

This is also about the time Bischoff became involved in what was then known as the Media Association South Africa (MASA), an organisation he would become chairperson of after over seven years on the committee. Now known as the Advertising Media Association of South Africa (AMASA), AMASA is a professional body at the helm of media education and training in the country.

Bischoff’s work with Primedia had seen him heavily involved the 702 talk radio station, and he was later afforded the opportunity to be involved in the start of what would become one of the country’s widest reaching TV channels.

“When e.tv launched in 1998 I was appointed the GM of sales,” he says. “When we launched we had no viewers, well maybe three viewers and a dog, but we had a big culture and pricing policy, and we built it all from nothing.”

After three years of selling airtime and setting up the station’s sponsorship policy and structure, another broadcast opportunity presented itself.

A former work connection, Quentin Green, offered Bischoff the chance to join him when he took over TVAfrica. Finding himself back in London, Bischoff managed the European operation of the TV network, which was the largest in Africa at the time.

After two and a bit years, Bischoff was back home in South Africa filling positions at the SABC, Mediamark and Spectrum Mobile, before being appointed the managing director of Habari Media. “My role was to use my traditional experience and bring credibility and the customers to the digital side. We were the number one digital sales team in the country within 18 months of starting. This was really some prime time for digital,” he says.

Still completely wrapped up in the world of digital marketing, Bischoff is now the chairperson of AMASA and the GM of sales at Trudon Business. As the go-to guy for tech-forward solutions, Bischoff says digital specialists are where it’s at. “I call them my digital ninjas,” he laughs, and they’re the guys that are helping him move clients fixated on traditional print into SEO, analytics, e-commerce and the like.

Bischoff knows that if you are not constantly moving forward in the marketing industry, standing still is the same as going backwards. His own career path has been a tidal wave of experiences and learning curves, and this is something he helps others achieve through his work at AMASA.

Learning is the fundamental goal of AMASA, where Bischoff says they are able to educate, grow and retain talent in the industry. But he says those starting out shouldn’t rely on talent alone as there is always more to discover. “My advice is to go out there and find someone who you can learn from, but you need to be the one that approaches them, don’t expect to mentored,” Bischoff says.

But above all, Bischoff believes critical to building a sustainable career is building a good reputation. However, this does not mean all attention should be focused inward. “My advice is to show the people you work with and work for that you care. And never stop learning,” he concludes.

For more information, connect with him on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

Tammy Lehnberg; a left brainer in a right brained world

Standard

First published on http://www.mediaupdate.co.za in October 2015

Group HR director at Young & Rubicam SA, Tammy Lehnberg, says she doesn’t do boring. “When we’re hiring I look for someone innovative who sells themselves well. Because at the end of the day, if you can’t sell yourself how are you going to sell the clients?”
News Article Image for 'Tammy Lehnberg; a left brainer in a right brained world'

By Remy Raitt

She’s been at the agency for over 10 years, starting out as the HR administrator in 2005 and moving up to the HR director position in 2012. Before that she worked in more corporate environments, which made the move into the world of advertising a challenging one. “It’s like there are two worlds colliding in my job; the very structured side of the corporate world and then the more unstructured creative world,” she says.

“I had an amazing mentorship base when I started,” Lehnberg says. “The then HR director had been in advertising for quite a while, I learnt a lot from her and the previous CEO who very quickly taught me I needed to find the balance between throwing the book at people and also, at other times, being more lenient.”

A self-confessed left brainer, Lehnberg says even after 10 years, managing creative people “it’s still a work in progress”. “It’s about appreciating them, not necessarily understanding them,” she laughs. “As a left brained person I’ll never understand how the right brained people work. But, on my side it’s about coming up with innovative ideas and understanding that they can’t be sitting in front of a computer screen for 8 to 10 hours a day. It’s about not being so draconian; it’s not all work, work, work.” Therefore, one of her many jobs is helping foster an inspiring working environment for the creatives, while also making sure the rest of the workforce is happy too.

“It’s also important to consider the other staff members who aren’t in creative. You have to be fair. We try to make the world of the admin people a little more interesting, and are sure to celebrate their wins too,” she explains.

Lehnberg says fairness, her own personal ethics and values assist her in her job. She says her approach is to treat each person like an individual; “one success at a time by taking care of people with absolute passion and a pinch of obsession”.

Finding these potentially successful employees is another huge part of Lehnberg’s job. “I look for talent that, in their own discipline, set themselves apart, people that can collaborate and can be slotted in with the bigger ideas. People who are curious, brave and that step up to the plate. People who everyday want to be better than they were the day before. People who push their own brand further,” she says. “Working at Y&R is not a nine to five job. I look for people that don’t stay late because they have a lot of work to get done, they stay because they have a passion and they want to do the work.”

And while finding perfect fits for the agency is a highlight of the job, letting people go is an obvious downside. “The biggest challenge, to be honest, is that in this industry you win and lose accounts and with that comes high staff turnaround,” she says. “This is emotional, and especially in a medium-sized agency like Y&R, you really get to know people personally, so it’s very challenging when you have to say goodbye.”

Building these personal relationships is something Lehnberg does well. She says “walking the floors” is a highlight of her day-to-day, something that keeps the job exciting. “I’m so involved in the HR realm, I know each and every one of the people behind the work, which helps to make sure that no day is the same as the one before.”

In her position, Lehnberg is a bounty of sage advice for those trying to crack the industry. She says when it comes to advertising “it’s not just about pushing the envelope, it’s about pushing the whole job bag”.

“I’m a little older, and a word of advice to the millennials who come in with the work ethic and idea that the industry is all about job hopping and moving through the ranks quickly, is that this attitude could be detrimental, so don’t fool yourself. It’s still a small industry and word of mouth is better than the best CV,” she warns.

And when it comes to CVs, Lehnberg says keep them short, sweet and to the point. “Finding talent starts way before the actual interview, it starts when you submit your CV. From an HR perspective in agencies, there isn’t always a massive HR department, we’ve got hundreds of other things to do, so when looking through CVs the ones that stick out are when people are very specific about what they are applying for. They have researched the company, the brand and the culture. They know how the position can help them and the company.”

Helping the company be the best it can be is Lehnberg’s modus operandi. She’s on the hunt for people with a hunger; someone who wants to join the family that she’s called home for the past decade, someone who will value the highly charged energetic environment that she thrives off of.

If you fit the bill, drop her a mail, just remember to keep it short, she’s a busy lady.

For more information, visit www.whyweare.co.za. Alternatively connect with them on Facebook or onTwitter.