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Sibongile Bean is a content marketing manager for IQOS at Philip Morris South Africa. Her focus is generating brand content and creating consumer-centric activations and experiences. “I turn global ideas into local magic,” she says.

Sibongile is passionate about marketing to black females as women play a huge role in the buying behaviours of a household. “We, as women, influence a great deal. I want to uncover the thought process behind those behaviours, by creating marketing strategies that black women can relate to,” she says. This is how Sibongile is dominating in her industry…

You may not end up doing what you studied…

Sibongile studied a Honours degree in Theatre and Performance at UCT. She imagined she would be a great actress in feature films. “I ended up in marketing by fluke and unlocked a new part of my professional career, which I’m incredibly grateful for,” she says.

When Sibongile started in marketing, she remembers she’d pack goodie bags for large-scale events with clients in the beauty industry. “I ended up managing many of those big global accounts a short time after,” she says.

Sibongile dishes that, in the marketing industry, first impressions go a very long way, so young women looking to get into the marketing industry should engage with as many marketers as possible in the field they aspire to be in. “Another piece of advice would be to get your hands dirty and do jobs that might seem menial, because they go a long way and show passion and agility,” she says.

READ MORE: Critical Advice For Art Graduates, From An Independent Art Curator

Equip yourself for marketing…

There are a number of online and digital marketing courses young women can apply for. Check out the Marketing and Digital Marketing courses on the online education platform, GetSmarter.

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

“I remind myself of the experience I’ve gained over the past 10 years and go back into my files to find something I can use practically to complete the job at hand,” she says. In times where Sibongile feels out of her depth, she researches and reads. “You can never stop learning, so read and learn more wherever possible. Lastly, I remind myself who I am – a smart, authentic and dynamic black woman,” she says.

Breaking barriers

According to Sibongile, career growth is dependent on the individual. “If you are at a place of work where your career growth has reached a max, or you’re feeling stifled, then that is the time to move on and keep growing and moving up. There will always be barriers to break, but I believe marketing is a vast field in which you can move laterally or vertically. The aim is always up,” she says.

READ MORE: Career advice from a corporate Boss Babe: Meet Kate Dunjane

Words of wisdom

1/ Lead in a way in which you’d like to be led.

2/ Try to find personalised ways to lead all the individuals on your team. You’ll uncover the magic of each person by finding out what makes them tick and what gets the best outcomes from them.

3/ Be yourself, because you’re the only one who can hold that position.

4/ Find your niche: if you’re the only one who can do a specific job in a workplace, then you become irreplaceable.

5 Have fun! You spend most of your day at the office, so what’s the point in hating your job?

Advice for the next generation of female leaders and entrepreneurs?

“Be authentic. Authenticity goes a long way in creating a space for yourself, and for other female leaders after you to step into. Almost all of the female leaders I look up to are original in their thinking, their work and their message,” she says.

A book to read

Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr Seuss. “I wholeheartedly suggest you buy this book for yourself or anyone who will be graduating from something soon. It encompasses a strong message for life in a short, wonderfully illustrated children’s book,” she says.

Connect with Sibongile

Instagram @sibongilebean and on LinkedIn as Sibongile Bean.

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