This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Holiday fever

To give you all a taste of the holiday fever beginning to spread in the office, I'm sharing some of the silliness to keep you laughing (point 2 is especially for Valentin):

HOLIDAY GUIDE - How To Survive A Shark Attack (Very Handy)

1: Don't swim in the ocean.
Ninety-nine percent of all shark attacks take place in exceptionally large bodies of water also known as oceans.
The way to determine if you are currently in an ocean is to taste the water, which should be salty.

2: Listen out for the music.
In the event that you are foolish enough to swim in an ocean, listen carefully for the music, as demonstrated in the marvelous documentary
film Jaws. All shark attacks are preceded by the 'daah-da, daah-da' chords, which will gradually become more rapid as the shark gets
closer. This is due to the Doppler Effect.

3: Swim with fat people.
Try to surround yourself with more appetizing companions.
If you know them well, you might even try to switch their suntan lotion with A-1 Steak Sauce. This will definitely improve your odds.

4: Don't go into the water without a knife.
This is not to defend yourself but to stab the person (a.k.a the decoy) closest to you in the case of a shark attack. Once you are sure the
'decoy' is bleeding profusely.....swim for your freekin life.

And finally.....

5: Don't panic.
In the event that a shark actually bites you, try to remain calm. This really won't help you survive, but everyone else on the beach will
appreciate you not shrieking madly, as this is quite unsettling

After a long absence from my blog - which happened for a number of reasons, mostly because I don't want to sit in front of a computer when I get home from work - I'm back!
It's been an interesting few months - with office moves, employees resigning and new employees arriving, load -shedding (the dreaded), Christmas parties and appraisals...
I'm on leave next week and will have some time to reflect on my year at work. Look for me then... until that time, don't get eaten by any sharks!

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

forgetting my lessons in conflict management

I forgot my lessons in conflict management and was reminded:

1. If you have a problem, voice it - or it will just get bigger.... and bigger.

2. If a team member approaches you about a mistake you've made, apologise and rectify as soon as you can.... rather than being rude to the person who raised the issue with you.

3. Put your personal differences aside for the sake of a healthy working relationship and a well functioning team.

A few years ago, I shared a flat with a friend from varsity who proved very difficult to live with. Rather than approach her about things I was unhappy with, I kept quiet, and the issues got bigger and bigger and we ended up having a huge fight.

I realised then that it was much better to talk about things as they arose. My natural inclination is to avoid conflict, though. But I've thought back to WoW and the conflict - productivity graph...

A lesson I'll keep having to be reminded of until I put it into practice!

Tuesday, 02 October 2007

Here at last...

Godfrey Chesang has arrived at Brunswick at last! I know many WoWers know him as he has spent several years at Wits studying his PhD in politics. I look forward to getting to know him and working with him.

It's nice to be working for a firm that is happy to employ people from a range of different backgrounds - English, politics, economics, law... and that they don't feel people like Godfrey or myself, with postgrad humanities degrees, are "overqualified"!

Thursday, 27 September 2007

News on Vincent Maher- M&G's web strategist....

And someone who's done a lot for making blogging a popular pastime in SA! Have a look at his blog/ his aggregator site- amatomu.

Vincent Maher has been nominated for the IT Personality of the Year 2007 Award. ITWeb has short-listed 10 nominees, and from these will select 5 finalists on Friday, 5 October. Maher is currently the strategist at the Mail & Guardian Online and has been a key figure in a number of local Web 2.0 developments. Earlier this year he built and established Amatomu, the first blog aggregating site in South Africa. Maher and Amatomu recently won the Highway Africa New Media Award in the corporate category at the Highway Africa Conference held in Grahamstown from 10 to 12 September. He has also been at the forefront of developments such as Amagama ( and Thought Leader (, amongst other things. Part of the final decision is decided by public voting, which can be done on the ITWeb site. To view the list of nominees and vote visit Maher’s blog can be read at

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Team work means all hands on deck

One of our research team members has been battling in the past few months or so as her mum has been very sick. This means that there are times when she can't be at work - often at short notice. Sometimes this means picking up some of her work.

I thought back to the video we watched, The Overcoming, of the cyclists who all pulled together to help their friend who had a sick mother, in our weekly meeting, when it was highlighted that an essential part of team work is supporting each other through difficult times.

My support allows my team member to have flexible time and attend to her extra responsibilities at home. It's important to be gracious about helping - it's sometimes tempting when there's a lot to do to not be so happy about picking up extra work: until I remember the stress and pressure my team member is under is far worse than my own.

Being professional at work

One of the things that was raised at our weekly meeting this week was our professionalism at work. The partners were discussing ways to raise the level of professionalism in the office - internally and externally - in order to safeguard our reputation.

I hadn't really thought about that before as I'd always thought of our office as being relaxed- but suddenly realised that I needed to be careful. It's difficult, though, to know what is appropriate behaviour and when something that is fun becomes unprofessional. It's one of those things that I think I will get more of a feel for when I've been working for a little while longer.

The partner mentioned several things we all can do in the office, including:
  • making sure all documents are spell checked
  • putting a Brunswick logo onto all external documents
  • using official Brunswick templates
  • working on our interaction with each other in the office - for example speaking to people if we have a problem rather than complaining behind their back

Some things I think I can do personally:

  • keep the office tidy. It's part of my job to tidy up the newspapers every day, but often they are left lying around. At the end of the day, it's often the last thing I feel like doing - but it's important.
  • dress well
  • be friendly to people but still maintain a level of formality
  • don't send an e mail when I could just as easily get up and ask

This is one of the ways our work environment is changing. When I mentioned this to Lesley as a possible topic for next year's WoW, she agreed that it's difficult ground to negotiate. When she first started work, people would all wear suits. Now Steve Jobs will give a major presentation in jeans and takkies.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Inspirational thought for the day

My Mum's favourite saying that I thought I would share with everyone:

"The forest would be a very quiet place if only the best birds were singing."

So - everyone has something to contribute. Even if you are not particulalry talented, if its something that you enjoy, keep doing it. It takes many voices to make up the symphony that is a forest.

Monday, 10 September 2007

New appliances

I'm very chuffed with my new flat screen, computer, and very smart new keyboard at work.
We are all about to get new phones and we've just had a big office move. We're also moving to a faster internet service provider - all signs of a growing, improving business.

It's been a little disruptive over the past week as we've had workmen putting in new phone cables and this morning was chaotic as the move took place over the weekend - it took some time to get settled.
It's definitely worth the benefit in the long run though.

Creating a happy office

My rework of the motto: "Be the change you want to see in the world", is "Be the smileyness you want to see in your office".

When people are busy, it's easy for them to become stressed and irritable. But I'd like to try my best to create a pleasant working environment and always make the effort to smile, greet people and"lighten the load of the world" in general.

On the office 'treadmill', there's one thing after another to get done, and it's tempting to lose your way and get bogged down with tasks. During WOW we talked a lot about being excellent, creating relational capital, and having a work experience that amounts to more than just getting a string of tasks done. How do we make our working lives more memorable than a to do list, and try to live the FISH philosophy?

I have some ideas:
- make the effort to find out how people are - you can spend a lot of time in an office with someone but still never really get to know them
- keep your sense of humour
- see things in perspective (just because you have 5 things to do before the end of the day doesn't mean you can't stop to share a joke with a colleague)

Do members of the WOW group have other ideas, and do they encounter similar problems?

Tuesday, 04 September 2007

Things I learned today

You can never be too busy to say good morning to someone!

Sunday, 02 September 2007

Communication is the essence of great team work

One of the most important things I learned this week is the above - if you communicate well, most of the bumps experienced that are a natural part of working with a group of people will be ironed out. Things go wrong when people are not on the same page.

I've written about this before, but this week I had some more reminders to keep talking to those people in my team to avoid misunderstandings. And it helps with conflict too.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Things I learned this week.

Things I've learned this week:

1. Respect the office hierarchy. People in senior positions are there because they've worked hard to get there, and know a lot more than you. In a relaxed atmosphere like Brunswick, it sometimes easy to forget that. Even with small things, this is important- for example, for the last month I've been sending out a market wrap every afternoon. Normally, I typed in e mail addresses in the order of the way people are seated. Then, this week, Gareth (my desk neighbour) pointed out to me that it's standard business practice to order email addresses according to seniority - so start with partners and work my way down to interns. Not something you would know unless anyone told you - but again, it's about respecting hierarchy.

2. If you have a problem with someone or you feel they haven't done something properly, the best thing to do is to take it up with them personally, rather than complain to your colleagues. Complaining just allows the problem to get out of hand.

There are office politics no matter how small or how big the organisation - if you put some people together and ask them to complete a task, there's bound to be friction and disagreements. I was chatting to my cousin and he said he thought he learned the most in the first two years of work - and most of his lessons were about interacting with people in a professional manner. That's why EQ and what type of person you are are so much more important than what you study, I'm beginning to realise.

Characteristics of an executive

I've been working on the Brunswick training manual. The following is an excerpt - they are guidelines to the characterstics of an executive. If you don't already know yet, an executive is a juniour employee. Some of these characteristics are particularly important at Brunswick, but a lot of them apply to most jobs. As interns, these are what we should be aiming to develop - so I thought I'd share them.

Ø Intellectual Curiosity: Executives should have a dynamic interest in how we help our clients and what our clients do, as well as possess a general inquisitiveness about which strategies and approaches work. Brunswick’s open floor plan and unique team structures allow for abundant opportunities to learn about strategic communications—curiosity about these issues and the role you can play in assisting our clients is key to being a strong member of the Brunswick team.

Ø Calm under Pressure: Executives should possess a calm and assertive attitude, especially when under pressure in situations such as handling difficult clients, maintaining composure when the internal team is extra-busy, or facing an unfamiliar situation. Brunswick is a fast-paced environment; keeping afloat during a transaction or other critical situation is a necessary part of being a member of a team here.

Ø Multi-tasker: Executives will inevitably have many things on their plate at one time should be able to juggle deadlines for various teams in a responsible and organized way. This means being realistic about what you agree to take on for your team and always understanding the timing on a project or document.

Ø Flexibility: Executives are an integral part of the client teams and this requires a flexible attitude and being able to adjust to a fast-paced atmosphere. When we are hired to handle a transaction or a crisis situation, this often means late nights and weekends. Be prepared that this means you will sometimes have to cancel plans or come in within a few hours’ notice.

Ø Team Player: Executives should be willing to jump in and assist with special projects, bring ideas to the team, and be proactive in their contributions.

Ø Problem solver / Pro-active personality: Executives should possess a can-do and take-charge attitude and try to offer solutions to sometimes unforeseeable problems.

Ø Eyes & Ears: As an Executive your job is to be aware of the news and climate around our clients. Keeping apprised of key issues and being a resource for the rest of the client team is very important! For example, it’s good practice to check your client’s share price and sector news before a call! Keeping up with media trends, analyst notes and regulatory filings are just a few of the ways that you will keep your team constantly updated with client news.

Ø Quick thinker: Executives should be able to understand and turnaround requests in a timely and effective manner. They should anticipate upcoming work and serve as the organizational backbone of the team. Executives should not shy away from managing up in addition to managing down.

Ø Discreet gatekeeper: Executive should be sensitive to the confidential nature of callers, emails and documents relating to new or current clients.

Ø Energetic with good sense of humour: The atmosphere at Brunswick, while sometimes hectic, definitely remains light and collegial. Being friendly with your colleagues and participating in the good cheer of the place will help make you feel more comfortable. And as the pace here does get busy, having a chip on your shoulder during a crunch time will only make it more difficult to get the job done

Some of these things I find especially challenging - such as keeping calm under pressure - but the more I'm at Brunswick, the easier things get. I hope other WoWers are finding the same thing!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Playing a supporting role and being appreciated for it

Most of the work that I do at Brunswick so far involves media research. As we are a corporate communications company, it's vital to keep track of what's being written or said about our clients. I often have to search for and collate articles and then compile a summary of the key issues in the coverage. This allows the client teams to advise the companies on the issues facing them. Essentially, the research team plays a supporting role. Its a very good way to learn about business because I'm reading a lot, which helps me to slowly build up a knowledge base.

Last week the research team was given quite a big project, to be completed by Friday. It involved a lot of work, but it was manageable as everyone put in their bit, and under the guidance of Zach, who volunteered to be project manager, it was finished at the right time.

When we handed it to Rob Pinker, he thanked us very much for a great job and praised us for the quality support we were giving him. I really like working in an environment where the work we do is appreciated and I felt very satisfied knowing the team had finished a job well done.

And my highlight for 2007 is...

I had lunch with my family today as a small celebration of my extended contract at Brunswick. My brother asked me what was the best thing that I've done this year, and without hesitation, I said it was doing the World of Work course.

I'm not sure what kind of job I'd be doing if I hadn't signed up for WoW - I would probably still be looking for one... In February, I had two rounds of interviews to be an entry level journalist at Engineering News, and I still laugh whenever I see the magazine and think that I nearly worked there- I wasn't offered the job in the end but I was close to it. (No offence Temi, but I don't think it would have been so thrilling for me!)

And it was also a wonderful experience to meet all my fellow WoWers from so many different places. Thanks to you all, and a special thanks to Jean and Lesley for putting your time and effort into creating the course that launched all our blazing careers!

All quiet on the blogging front...

I've just had a look through everyone's blogs and noticed that no one has posted for a while - including me. What's happening?
It would be great to read blogs about everyone's work experiences so that we could offer support and advice. I know that time is an issue- it is for me, particularly lately as I've been very busy at work. But even two line blogs would be good- let's go team WoW!

Wednesday, 01 August 2007

Excellent News!

I am so excited to report that I've been offered another six months at Brunswick on a training contract! I am really looking forward to learning much more about this business and getting stuck into some more writing, and other, projects. I feel I've just begun to find my way around and am delighted that I'll have the chance to properly begin my career here.

I hope other WOWers will have as much success at their host organisations!

Here is the e mail that Rob Pinker, our managing partner, sent around to the rest of the office:

I am pleased to let you all know that Susan Arthur has accepted our offer to extend her internship with the company for a further six month period, effective from 1st August - entirely reflective of her efforts over the past two months!

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Google finding my blog page

Peter Hanworth-Hayden, the external visitor to my blog, found it by googling his surname. It's good to know that my blog comes up on google- what a powerful search engine.

Apparently, each post is treated as a separate web page, so search engines will find them separately - which increases the chances of your blog being found.

The google team are really doing well - I had a quick look at their extra features - and there are a lot of them. In response to the ongoing concerns to save energy, they set up blackle - a search engine with a black screen. They explain their reasons for doing so below:

"Blackle saves energy because the screen is predominantly black. "Image displayed is primarily a function of the user's color settings and desktop graphics, as well as the color and size of open application windows; a given monitor requires more power to display a white (or light) screen than a black (or dark) screen." Roberson et al, 2002

In January 2007 a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy."

Blackle works exactly like google. It's just a black screen. Try it at

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

An external visit to my blog!

Some time ago, I wrote a post about a South African gentleman named Peter Hanwith-Horden who was featured in the Star Workplace. He had spotted some errors in a training manual and wrote to the US publishers. He was then contracted to re -write the manuals for a South African context. The article used his work to show that South Africans can compete in a global arena - quite relevant to our World of work discussions.

Last week, I was excited to find a mail in my inbox from the gentleman himself. This is what he said:

I came across your blog regarding my write up in the newspaper. Thank for your kind words. That's not the first time I have mailed the USA explaining to them that their books had errors .
Most of the certification books have errors.

One thing I have found in this country is that some companies don't appreciate the skills at all - for example, after my write-up was in the newspaper not one of the management came to congratulate me - not even the boss I report to!

Great Blog
Peter Hanwith-Horden

I wrote back to thank him for his compliment and also to invite him to join in commenting on our group's blogs. I was very excited to have an external visitor to my site, which made me curious - how did he actually find it? I have e mailed him to ask and wait with baited breath to find out!

Technology - the curse?

In a previous post I wrote about the importance of communicating in the workplace. From some of the comments on that, I started to think about how technology gets in the way of communication.

Brunswick is a small office - less than 25 people. Yet despite this, we use e-mail for just about everything. Often, we don't get up to talk to someone sitting two desks behind us. As a result, I can spend the whole day without ever really connecting with others in the office - especially those who sit at the other end. We mail each other a lot rather than walking over. Laziness? I think so. But it's very convenient to send a mail - but not always effective. Often, e mail helps because we need to transfer things from one computer to another. But at other times, it gets in the way of communicating a clear brief.

Some time ago, my Dad mentioned that he disliked that someone in his office always sent e mails rather than making the effort to talk to him in person. He saw this as a sure sign that the man did not have the potential to reach a higher position in his company - its essential for a leader to have people skills and the 'likeability' factor that Maxwell wrote about on his blog.

The solution? I think it's much more personal to actually talk to someone. Will I do it? I'll try to make a conscious effort to. The other option is also to use the telephone.

During one of our weekly meetings, someone requested that we please refrain from fiddling with blackberries or cell phones during meetings with clients. A while ago I went out to lunch with Rachel, my mentor, for a catch up. She brought her blackberry with her - to be available in case anything important required her attention. Often, my Dad takes his 'devices' on holiday with him - robbing him of the ability to ever fully relax. One of the FISH philosophy principles was to BE PRESENT - and I think technology is robbing us of the ability to focus completely on the person we are talking to. Devices are always a distraction.

Suggestions - turn off devices when they aren't really needed, focus on what's happening in the present moment, and don't take your work on holiday with you! (I better convince my Dad to do that too).

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Inspired creativity

I was driving home today and saw someone begging holding this sign:

My cat has been arrested for eating my neighbour's chickens. Please help with bail money.

What a creative way to convince people to part from their cash! In Joburg, even beggers need to think differently about what they do.

I usually buy a copy of Homeless Talk and I try to get mine from someone I drive passed often on the way up to Jan Smuts avenue. He has the biggest smile and he always waves as soon as he sees my car and gives me a thumbs up. Service with a smile!

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Team work means getting things done

At 5: 30 this afternoon, a request was sent through to the research team. It involved a search through some publications for a year's worth of coverage on a mining company, with the specific focus on its BEE dealings. Also required was a quick summary of these articles.

The work needed to be done ASAP. As you may imagine, it was quite a big job - and I think a number of us were starting to wonder when the day would end.

Fortunately, the 6 team members assembled quick as a flash and, by splitting the work, we were able to complete it in just over an hour.

There's the power of team work for you - in getting things done!

JSE visit

Our visit to the JSE during WOW was very informative. I think knowing the basics of the stock exchange is essential to understanding how businesses work. As I read and ask questions, I'm learning more about it.

From last week, Thobeka and I have been doing a twice-daily market snaphsot to send out to everyone in the office. This includes the share prices of all Brunswick's listed clients - the opening price, the current price, the percentage change between the figures, and the market capitalisation (number of shares in issue x current share price) - and the daily indicators (forex, gold price etc). We get the information of the Reuters terminal.

This is doing two things: Helping to familiarise me with our client list and the stock exchange. In the paper with all the market figures there is a brief explanation of what all the figures mean so it helped to read that too.

The more time I spend at Brunswick, the more I'm learning... I never would have bothered to know what a market cap was before this. Now that it has some relevance for me, I'm more interested.

Learning the corporate lingo

Early on in one of our World of Work sessions, Lesley joked that she'd felt slightly panicked when she heard her supervisor say that she would be finished her PhD soon. This was until she realised that in academic speak, soon meant three years.

After years getting to grips with 'academic speak', I'm having to learn a new corporate lingo. On Monday I was working on a review of annual reports for a booklet that is compiled by Brunswick's design partners in London. I had to look at some annual reports and comment on a few things that stood out about them. This was challenging for two reasons: I'm not all that familiar with annual reports (but this helped me to learn); and I'm not a practised hand in 'corporate speak' yet. Carol rewrote some of the things I'd written so that they sounded more polished. It's another stepping stone in learning to be part of the world of work and make the adjustment from university life.

I'm also slowly getting to grips with some financial terms. At the Transnet results, I heard the word EBITDA - and thought it sounded like Greek. I accosted my Dad for some explanations and now I know it's actually an acronym, standing for: Earnings before tax, interests, debt and amortisation (this last one is an accounting term which basically means depreciation of assets).

I feel like I'm starting to get the hang of things.... I may even write a dictionary for dummies of financial terms one of these days - anyone like to join me?

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Team work means talking to each other

Today we had a brief meeting with the research team in the office, just to touch base with each other and discuss any queries or problems. The research function is quite important at Brunswick, as it provides a support for the client - facing staff who need to have access to certain information to stay on the ball.

One of the biggest things that was emphasised during the meeting was the need to communicate with each other. Even in a small office (and at a communications firm at that!) we sometimes forget to talk about who's doing what, or feel reluctant to shout if someone feels their work load is too big. One of the major keys to succesful team work is TALKING.

EQ - more thoughts on time management

I still think time management was one of the most useful presentations we had at WOW. In the world of work, and in life, it's all about being able to juggle tasks. Previously, I wrote about being uncertain (as an intern) as to when was appropriate for me to leave work. But at a business like Brunswick, I'm beginning to realise that it's not about how late you stay. You are really your own manager. As long as you get your work done, that's fine.

To help juggle tasks, it's necessary to be able to identify priorities..... rocks vs sand.

My new version of EQ is "EFFICIENCY QUOTIENT". It's all about how efficient you can be in the time you are given to do a task. It's not only about doing something quickly, it's about doing it well at the same time. As I wrote previously, it feels as if I am on the beginning of a life-long journey towards developing the skill of managing my time effectively. It's one of the most difficult, but also the most essential, things to do.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

My first networking lunch date

Today I enjoyed my first 'networking' lunch with my two desk mates (or pod mates, in Brunswick speak) and two journalists from Sake 24 (the Afrikaans business supplement that appears in Afrikaans dailies across the country).

It was nice to have the chance to chat to my colleagues away from the office space. The journalists were pleasant and we talked about current issues. The lunched helped me to understand a little more about building a relationship with journalists (an important part of what Brunswick does) and to see the work we do from their perspective. For example, they don't enjoy being phoned ten times a day to be asked, "Did you get our press release?" and then later, "Are you going to use it?" (especially at a daily publication, which means there are extra deadline pressures).

The restaurant that we went to, Smoke in Pretoria, had their deserts on the first page of their menu - a fun approach. Their food was excellent. I enjoyed my 'office outing' and had the chance to experience another side of the Brunswick business.

Making mistakes

Yesterday a colleague gave me some good advice. When you make a mistake, say you've made a mistake. Admitting it immediately will allow the team to deal with the problem before it gets any bigger. Trying to cover it up will only make it worse. At the end of the day, it's about serving the client, not about your ego. And he emphasised that he learnt the most through making his own mistakes. Celeste wrote in one of her posts that she felt a key to her success was the ability to learn quickly and not make the mistake again.

(This advice wasn't given in response to a particular mistake I'd made, but just as a general comment).

Interestingly, I was chatting to my Dad about this when I got home. I said I thought it would be more difficult to admit a mistake as a new employee or an intern, as you would be trying extra-hard to impress. He disagreed. As a new person, people expect you to make mistakes. As a high-level executive, you are supposed to know what's going on.

My feeling is that it takes a bigger person to admit their mistake than those who try to hide it.

Sunday, 08 July 2007

Live Earth

Yesterday I was privileged to be able to go to the Live Earth concert with Ijeoma. The concerts took place in all seven continents in major cities like London, New York, Sidney and Tokyo, in a global initiative to draw attention to the crisis of climate change. The line up of artists was as follows:


In between set changes we had various people speaking to inspire us to change our daily habits. There are small things we can all do, including:

Buying Pick 'n Pay "Green Bags" (or others like them) and taking them to the shops everytime we go, instead of using plastic ones
Eat less meat - have one 'vegetarian day' at least a week
Don't leave electrical appliances on standby
Switch of lights/ other appliances if you aren't using them
Buy local produce, rather than imported products that have been flown in, which contributes to the Co2 in the atmosphere

The Live Earth concert was inspiring and prompted me to think about my own habits. Also, I realised that the concert was once a germ of an idea in someone's head, and now it's been brought to fruition across the world. It must be fulfilling to see your idea grow and be achieved on such a large scale.

Willing hands

In Susan Mwangi's article in a recent FM Campus on foreign students and their search for employment in South Africa, she talks about how Valentin Tassev secured his job at the UJ theatre by holding out his hands.

This was a "here I am" gesture - it showed his willingness to work and also that he was hardy enough to do the tough physical tasks that the job requires.

Although Valentin was looking for manual labour, I believe interns need to display the same 'metaphorical' gesture in the workplace. The path to success is to be willing to do whatever is asked of you, even if it's something like sorting out the week's newspapers or making phone calls. Those tasks are one of the cogs in the machine that make the organisation work.

Fiona McDonald shared with us that this was one of Celeste's secrets to success at RMB. Being willing to do any task is a great way to show off a positive attitude.
Every morning I try to do an "attitude check" and tune it up if it feels a little off course.

Wednesday, 04 July 2007

New arrivals at Brunswick

WE have a new intern, Zach, arriving next week. He is an American and is in South Africa for a year on a Fullbright scholarship. Zach will be there for two months, as he is hoping to work for the New York office and wants to check out what it's like while he's here. He came in for five minutes last week to say hello to everyone and already he's caused quite a buzz in the office. It should be interesting to have another intern around.

On Monday two new staff members arrived to take the place of two ladies who left. In August, four more people will be coming. Brunswick is growing and we recently had a major re-shuffle of desks to accommodate the changes. It's exciting to be part of a team that is dynamic and is in a growth spurt. With lots of new business coming Brunswick's way, I'm sure the extra hands will be of good use.

Tuesday, 03 July 2007

The digital citizen will take over the world.... (insert evil laugh here)

A post that is an off shoot of the blog research I'm doing.. full report will come later

AS bloggers, all of the WOW group are at the cutting edge of a digital revolution that is sweeping the world... The power of the blog is in the power of the social network - the buzz that can be created in a community that talks to each other.

On Monday, the Business Day Exporter supplement published an article on the success of Stormhoek wine. It was a little known brand until Hugh Macleod, author of Gaping Void (one of Britain's most read blogs), came on board and used his site to tap into this community and promote the wine. Graham Knox was quoted in the article as saying that they're spending very little on marketing, achieving success, and having a ball at the same time.

Blogging is still relatively new in South Africa, but it's starting to take off. Recently, there has been a spate of articles on the subject in the press. We even have SA blog awards for different categories, including business blogs.

Well known publications are starting to link into the blog trend. The Mail and Guardian has blog sites linked in to it. The News 24 home page hosts various reader's blogs. A new daily publication, The Times, launched last month - an iniative of Johnnic Communications - and is looking to revolutionase the media scene. It sets out to be an interactive publication, hosting youtube videos on its site as well as asking a number of its columnists, or 'blogumists', to write blogs. At The Times, they believe that the future of media lies in its interactivity.

On Anton Harber's blog recently, hosted by the Wits Journalism website, he discussed the yearly readership statistics for publications. It was clear that well established media, with the exception of the Daily Sun, were loosing readership. It seems clear that for traditional print and broadcast media to survive, they need to look at ways to change to acommodate the growing trend toward harnessing the power of the digital citizen.

Vincent Maher, a well known South African blogger, wrote about how last week's snow had prompted over 2000 people to send in their pictures to the Mail and Guardian's site. His editor was really excited as it was the first time the public had really interacted with the publication. So it may take extrodinary events to prompt South Africans, a little slow off the mark in terms of the rest of the world, to enter into the digital revolution on a big scale.

In the digital citizen lies the future.... and as bloggers we are all part of it. Go team WOW.... together, we have power!

Sunday, 01 July 2007

Having fun in the workplace

BRUNSWICK has a fun, relaxed office culture.

During my interview, it was described as a 'sink or swim' environment. Essentially, this means (or how I interpret it so far) that's it's not paternalistic. No one is standing over your shoulder to make sure you do your work or policing the hours spent on facebook. It's up to you to get on with it, and if you need help, ask for it. (I'm sure if someone wasn't delivering, it would be dealt with appropriately though.) This is a great environment to learn in - and to learn quickly.

It's also a fun office. Even the directors have a sense of humour and often joke with us. Last week everyone went out for farewell drinks for two people who were leaving. (We're getting three new people in next week, including an intern from the US- which should be interesting). They all had a good party (unfortunately I wasn't able to go as I had a bad cold and by 6pm I really needed to lie down).

On Friday, we had month-end drinks and snacks in the office. This was combined with the weekly meeting, which normally happens in the morning but was moved to the afternoon that day. (I think it's a much better idea to have a Friday meeting than a Monday meeting - Monday mornings being the most productive work time.) After a while, Siba turned some music on, which lightened the atmosphere even further, and we all chatted. It's nice to work in a small office with friendly environment.

The downside - at the moment, especially as an intern- is knowing what's appropriate. For example, with working hours - it's been difficult to know what's expected of me, as the hours are fairly flexible, and people leave and arrive at different times depending on what's happening. Some days everyone's there by 7 30 am and they leave after 6pm. Other times there are only 3 people in the office by 8 30 am. It takes some getting used to.

WOW skills in the real world of work

One of the most useful, practical sessions we had during WOW was Janet's presentations on time management. I think it's one of the most important skills to master.

So far, there hasn't been a dull moment at work, and there's never been a time when I've had nothing to do. People often ask for things they need done, usually when I have an existing project. I'm learning to juggle things in the order of their priority - mentally picturing the rocks and sand as I do. To help with this, it's important to ask whoever gives you the task what your deadline is.

During our WOW presentations, Dr van Zyl brought up the point that your time is often not controlled only by you - there are other people who impact on your decisions. This is true of the workplace environment.

For example, on Monday myself and Thobeka were asked to compile a media analysis of the coverage given to a company in the last twelve months, to be done by Friday lunch time. By Thursday morning, I still had quite a bit to do, and had planned to spend most of the day working on it. However, when I arrived at the office that morning I was asked to help compile a training pack as a matter of urgency. This took me most of the day, which meant that I wasn't able to spend much time on my work for Friday. I arrived home feeling frustrated. I went into the office early on Friday and was able to complete it on time.

Another challenge for me has been learning to complete tasks quickly. I've always been a slow worker, and so far, this hasn't mattered when I've been doing essays for varsity, as no one else depended on what I produced. But now, the workplace is fast-paced, and I need to learn to work quickly, while still producing a quality product. This includes learning to focus on what I'm doing and not get distracted by the other things that are happening around me.

I think this internship is the start of a lifelong journey towards mastering time management!

Results Day

It takes a visit to an event like the announcement of Transnet's Annual results to realise how much organisation goes into it. Most of the people involved had very little sleep the night before. (This didn't include me, as I helped on the day only, apart from some phone calls I'd made). I didn't expect such a large event as the Omnia announcement I'd been to the week before was not like this. Transnet, however, is a much bigger and much more influential company.

I arrived at the Hilton Hotel at 7 45 am to find the registration table and banners already set up. The event management side was handled by Simeka TMS, a public relations firm, so they had taken care of this. The hotel took care of all the catering, and made sure the food kept rolling out for most of the day.

There were several presentations of Transnet's results to different groups of people, starting at 6 30 over breakfast - this was to shareholders. Next was the presentation to the executive boards, the trade unions, and then the media. Brunswick's responsibility was to handle the media side. We had to be there mainly to ensure that everything ran smoothly - to schedule interviews and to make sure the journalists were where they were supposed to be at the right time. I helped Karen (from Brunswick) with whatever she needed, which included finding a fax machine and dropping off a journalist at the Star offices in the afternoon. The trade union's presentation ran over time.. apparently they were asking difficult questions.. which meant that everyone started panicking about Maria Ramos's tight schedule. It worked out in the end though.

I was able to sit in on the results presentation, which was interesting. I still have a lot to learn about financial terms, but I brought a copy home so that I could take more time to understand them.

As soon as the media presentation was done, Maria Ramos went through to the interview room where the TV crews filmed her. In the afternoon she had a long string of interviews with print and radio publications. Ms Ramos then went to an evening function - so it must have been an exhausting day. On Wednesday morning she was due to give another breakfast presentation.

The day after the results, I helped to compile a media pack on Transet - basically collecting everything that had been written about the company's announcement. I felt like I was part of the news in the making. When I did my internship at Caxton, I helped to organise a cocktail party for Joburg 'celebrities' like Nico- the owner of Espresso. This time, I was mixing with a different crowd - the media 'celebrities' whose writing I read everyday, as well as people in the news such as Maria Ramos. I enjoyed being able to put names and faces together.

Monday, 25 June 2007

More annual results

TOMORROW I'm going to be attending the Transnet annual results, helping out with any organising that needs to be done at the venue. Maria Ramos is going to have a very long day... there are several presentations to different groups of people and a long list of radio, television and one-on-one journalist interviews. The first event is at 6:30 am and the day will end at 6:30 pm. At least I only have to be there at 8am! I'm looking forward to it - Transnet is often in the news and it should be interesting.

A request to everyone reading this: next time you get an invitation to an event, please RSVP as soon as possible! I spent a lot of today on the phone to journalists and editors to find out if they were coming to a breakfast on Wednesday morning. I had a list of +_ 50 people and of those, only about 10 had RSVP'd. So for the sake of the organisors, please RSVP!

I look forward to sharing what I learn tomorrow on my blog. Look out for any reports on Transnet's results in the news.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Keeping the shark alive

In the evening when I get home from work, my head is usually buzzing with thoughts about the day. I have a little voice that tells me what I could have done better and another voice that tells me I did a great job. I've taken to running myself a bath so I can relax while I listen to my internal dialogue. Watching TV or reading a book doesn't really help as it distracts me from digesting my thoughts.

I've realised that this time will be ideal to blog. I haven't been doing so yet, as I don't want to sit down at the computer straight away when I've been in front of one all day. Perhaps a good system will be to jot down some thoughts on paper (I could even do this in the bath) and post some blogs later once I've organised my ideas and they've had a chance to settle.

Blogging is a great tool as writing things down will help to digest the multitude of new things I learn each day. It also allows me to get comments as well as other people's advice, or just sympathy - so far, the group have understood the time management problems I've had. I think a blog is better than a diary, because it's public, which somehow commits me more to being regular about it. A Sunday Times article discussed celebrity bloggers, such as Lindsay Lohan, whose posts often begin " I'm SOOOOOO SOOOOOOORRRRRRY! I haven't written for EVER!" (Read the article at It's called "Avoiding the blogging graveyard). (I hope I never get to that stage!).

I'm going to try writing more often during the week, even if the posts are brief, to keep the world abreast of how I am doing, but also for my own benefit. And of course to keep the shark alive! I remember Elspeth's advice - just write something, even if it's two lines. And also, it doesn't have to be perfect the first time. That's what editing is for. Watch this space....

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Reading, reading, reading - an updated version

I've added some more detail on this post at the end... so read on even if you've read this before!

Working at a communications firm like Brunswick, it's important to be very familiar with the media. So far a number of the things I've been doing have revolved around that, for example at the moment I'm working on putting together detailed profiles for the major and influential South African publications. Yesterday I was looking at Maverick magazine and I thought it was really great. Its style is quite flamboyant and chatty and it has some great business profiles- when you have a chance I suggest you have a look. Perhaps we could add some to the book club.

At Brunswick we are encouraged to read the Business Day and the Business Report every morning, while the FM and Finweek circulate weekly, and other magazines also come to the office. We do this to know what's happening in the world, but also to keep tabs on any coverage on Brunswick clients. Often the research team (which I'm on) will need to put together a media pack with an analysis, so that the clients and their advisors can monitor what the public's perception will be. I think that being a regular reader is a great habit to get into, not just for communications people, but to learn about and become familiar with the business world. Being in the office has increased my interest in business and the news, because what I'm reading about now has some relevance for me. Since WOW I've also enjoyed reading about African politics, since it was often a hot topic of conversation during our sessions.

There are a lot of terms I don't understand - especially financial ones- but through a slow process of reading and asking questions I'm building up a 'business knowledge' base. The book club will be a great help to. I went to an annual results announcement for Omnia, a chemicals, fertiliser, and mining company, on Wednesday. The results announcement is an overview of how the company has performed that year, and includes a lot of financial data. I brought back their information pack and sat with Rachel, my "god parent" (a Brunswick term for mentor) and talk through some of the things I didn't understand - so I'm getting a bit of 'finance 101'.

At the Omnia results Rod Humphris, the Executive Director, briefly discussed how the demand for bio-fuels impacted on their business. I was interested to see how many dynamics influence a company's performance. Economically, because there is a demand for bio-fuels, which is produced from maize, the maize price goes up globally, which affects our food prices and the cost of fertilizer, which affects Omnia... (As I try to think through this I'm casting my mind back to the "Economics for Non-Specialists" course I did in first year varsity!)

On the way home from the results I was chatting to Taryn (person who works on Omnia account) about it and she asked me to do a short research project on what's happening with bio-fuels in South Africa, for inclusion in the Omnia annual report. I'm looking forward to it as it's very topical at the moment. I will keep you posted on my findings via my blog! Read more about Omnia at

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Never downplay your role

A small piece of advice for everyone as they go into their internships. When someone asks you about yourself, never say "I'm just an intern". Your role is as important as anyone else's. Leave out the 'just' - don't dowplay your role in the organisation just because you are the newest person there. And don't be tempted to FEEL like you're not so important, either. Concentrate on thinking of the ways that you CAN add value and are an asset.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Day 2… the learning continues

When I got home yesterday after my first day at Brunswick I felt exhausted – there was a lot to take in and adjust to! I’m pleased to say, however, that today I feel quite energised – part of that is down to meeting the wonderful Irish author Marian Keyes (known as the “queen of chick lit”) this evening at a talk hosted by The Write Company. (Read more about her at She was a joy to listen to because she was very lively, funny, personable and confident – all great qualities for anyone to have, especially in the workplace! She was also very gracious and kept thanking the audience for coming to listen to her – even though she’s a best selling author, she seemed genuinely surprised that people had chosen to spend their evening with her.

Today was a similar day to yesterday for me – a continuation of the induction process. An important part of being in the communications world is keeping up to date with the media, and becoming familiar with all the important publications. Today I was working on an assignment that would help me to get a feel for these – ones I’m used to like the Financial Mail, but also others I haven’t read before such as Maverick and Fin week. I also had a ‘crash course’ in some financial terms – I’m hoping to pick those up as I go along – I know I have a lot to learn! I think a big part of my learning in the next two months will be to manage my time… Janet’s rocks and sand. In the workplace there are always several things happening at once, so learning to prioritise is important. I’ve noticed that Thobeka (the other intern in the office) always communicates with whoever has asked her to do something – for example, yesterday, she had a few things to do at the same time, and she spoke to someone who’d asked her for something urgently to explain the other pressures on her time. This is a good lesson for me - communicating makes sure that both people are on the same page. Another adjustment will be working in an open plan office – it’s great that everyone’s accessible when you need them – even the directors share this space - and it creates a friendly atmosphere, but I find it fairly difficult to focus on something that I’m doing with other things happening around me. I remember that I found that tricky at first when I was at Caxton, but after a while I got used to it.

Watch this space for the next instalment about my life in the working world!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Getting to know the ropes on my first day

As soon as I arrived at Brunswick, Refilwe the receptionist gave me a warm welcome. This set the tone for the day as everyone in the office was extremely friendly and emphasised that they would be available should I have any questions for them. Rachel (part of the panel that interviewed me) showed me around the office and introduced me to the team. On my desk I found an induction programme for the day that set me up with times to chat to different people in the office. I’m glad I was welcomed like Beauty and not left alone for a week like Justine Dangor was (as she shared with those who attended the “Grow Tomorrow’s leaders” workshop on Saturday) – I appreciated that Brunswick had put some thought into introducing me to life in their company. I spent some time looking through the Brunswick information folder and also talking to the other intern in the office, Thobeka. Thobeka is from Tshwane University of Technology and has been at Brunswick for six months already. Her internship is part of her International Communications degree. She is part of the research team and she talked me through how I would go about doing various things, including what to say when I answer the phone! One of the biggest pieces of advice Thobeka gave me was to ask for specific instructions when I am given a task – such as finding out when the work needs to be done by. It really helped to have her to explain things to me that I would otherwise have had to learn by trial and error. At lunch time the two of us went to the café down the road to eat and chat some more, and in the afternoon I helped her with a few tasks she needed to finish. Having so many friendly people in the office really helped to put me at ease, and I’m looking forward to learning a lot in the next two months!

Saturday, 09 June 2007

“Spud” joins the bookclub!

Even though we set up our bookclub with the intention of sharing business-orientated books, my previous post on John van de Ruit’s bestselling book “Spud” generated some interesting discussion amongst us. Those who commented on my post wanted to read the book, so I decided to throw “Spud” into the mix. Perhaps it will be a good stress reliever, as it really hits the funny bone – or at least it did for me, but I’ll be interested to see how other people in this group respond. Part of the reason I enjoyed it so much was because I’ve been to boarding school and, although we didn’t get up to nearly as much mischief as Spud and his dormitory mates do, I can identify with the story.

After Valentin’s comments on my previous “Spud” post that the mere act of putting pen to paper is political, I initially disagreed with him. I argued that there was nothing political about this humorous, fairly light-hearted book. But after thinking about some more, I realised that “Spud” makes a political point about South African fiction - by doing so remarkably well out of being funny, Van de Ruit suggests that as a nation we are ready for entertaining, rather than issue-driven, fiction.

“Spud” is the diary of a young boy in his first year at a prestigious boarding school. It is set in 1990, a critical turning point in South African history. This creeps into the story, as Spud’s head boy is the son of apartheid hero Albert Luthuli, who educates him about the past and convinces him to join the school African Affairs society. Spud quietly develops a liberal attitude under this influence, which clashes with his father’s outrageously racist ideas. A bit of satire creeps in here, but this is about as “traditionally” political as Van de Ruit’s book gets. Not pure politics, but a good dose of humour to tickle your funny bone, so I hope it gets people from the WOW group laughing!

Thursday, 07 June 2007

Books for writing advice

During WOW Bruce asked me to suggest some books with writing tips. I thought I’d share two that have helped me. One is “The Elements of Style” by E. B White and William Strunk. This is probably one of the most famous books on writing, and it’s been going since the 1920s when William Strunk first wrote it. He based it on a writing course he taught at university, and E. B White (of “Charlotte’s Web” fame) was one of his students. Years later, he was asked to update the work, and in his edited edition you’ll find a forward where he remembers his eccentric Professor Strunk, whose favourite trick was to repeat things three times for emphasis. (“Omit needless words! Omit needless words! Omit needless words!”, White recalls him saying, and banging on his desk as he did so. This is one of the writing tips given in the book). It is written in a list form, and has tips on style as well as commonly misused words and grammar. It’s a very thin book, small enough to carry around with you. The advice is simple, direct and very useful.

The other book is “On Writing” by Stephen King. This is more of an enjoyable book to read, as it is as much the story of King’s life and how he wrote his way to success as it is about his writing tips. His style is very conversational and the book is very easy to read. One of the most memorable things for me that he advised was “Write the first draft with the door closed; write the second draft with the door open”. The first bits you write down are just for you, but after that you need to pay attention to other people’s feedback. For example, you may love your dog character, but if all your readers tell you they don’t understand why the dog is in the story in the first place, the dog either needs to go or you need to carefully re-write his part. Our comments on each other’s blogs were a great place to give and receive feedback, which is a really important part of the writing process.

“On Writing” is available in the Wits Education library, and the Cullen library has several copies of “The Elements of Style”.

Thoughts from our “Grow Tomorrow’s Leaders” Workshop

During the WOW course we often discussed how we felt university life left us unprepared for life at work. As graduates on the job hunt, it feels like a bad thing. But a lady at the “Grow Tomorrow’s Leaders” workshop on Saturday didn’t think so. She argued that the role of the university is not to churn out a long line of worker bees who all look and think the same. Universities exist to create knowledge capital and intellectual thinkers. As Professor Mbigi put it in his seminar, if we just look for jobs, we may as well not have spent all these years studying. We have not been turned into workers, but rather into people who can thing beyond this and identify problems that need to be solved. As Mbigi advised, a career built around a problem will be lasting. (In Kuseni Dlamini’s session Temi mentioned that varsity makes employees and not employers - so this point is debatable.)

Mbigi also caused much laughter when he said his business degrees had not been of any use to him. Although he currently lectures at business schools, he feels that the Humanities training is much more valuable. I suspect what he values most is the critical thinking skills and broad general knowledge base he built up. As humanities graduates we pride ourselves on our analytical skills, but we need to learn how to use it in a way that the world will value. During the tea break, a management consultant was discussing his use of academic ideas in the workplace. If approached a client and said, “Yes, I see you have a problem here. Marx identified it in his theory of liminality, and he suggested you do X, Y and Z”, they wouldn’t have much time for him. Instead, he needs to identify the problem and tell them how to solve it. Knowing Marx’s theories may help him to identify and solve the problem, but his employer doesn’t care about how good he is at discussing it. In the world of work it’s the results that matter.

And although we may feel like it’s a long hard road to secure employment now, it may not last. Someone else I was chatting to mentioned that in the long term, she’s noticed that humanities students don’t have too much difficulty finding jobs. It may be more tricky in the beginning than for others, but once we are in the marketplace, we generally have more success than, say B.Com graduates. Her comment is obviously a generalisation, and only based on her experience, but it’s still good to know. A great way to apply our critical thinking skills now will be to look at the bigger employment picture, and think about problems to build our careers around.

Meeting the professionals on Saturday’s workshop was encouraging. It’s especially valuable to talk to people who have come from Humanities backgrounds and have made their own successes – it helps to remind us that there’s hope for our career futures!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

South African literature as a commercial success

Last weekend when I was at the movies and an on- screen advert got me thinking. It was for “Spud: The Madness Continues”- the second instalment of “Spud”, the South African book that has been on the Exclusive Books bestseller list since its release in 2005.

The first “Spud” has been an incredible success, selling 56 000 copies to date, when the definition of a South African best seller is 10 000 copies. Penguin has recorded that 30 000 copies of “Spud II” have been ordered since its release just over a month ago. It will be interesting to see how well the sequel fares, but this figure is already an indication of its anticipated success. South Africans are not known to be great readers, and there are even less who actually buy books. That one home-grown novel is doing so well is encouraging.

The advert for “Spud II” was the first time I have seen a South African book advertised at the cinema. It was part of a larger “Homebru” campaign to promote local literature, running in May- but “Spud II” is at its forefront. Nu Metro cinema and Exclusive Books are both owned by Johnnic, so the partnership probably meant that the cost of the advert was affordable.

“Spud” is a wickedly funny novel that is accessible to all ages- anyone who’s ever been to boarding school will identify with the boys’ antics. John van de Ruit, its author, was already a fairly well known South African personality because of his two plays, “Black Mamba” and “Green Mamba”, which he performs around the country. John ‘Spud’ Milton, the book’s main character, is likeable, and his dilemmas often evoke feelings of pathos in the reader. He has many awkward moments during his descent into manhood and is continually embarrassed by his less than orthodox family. The things Spud and his dormitory mates get up to provide endless fuel for entertainment.

John van de Ruit has his own theory about his book’s success. He thinks as a nation we are hungry for literature that moves away from traditional “South African genre”- stories about apartheid laden with white guilt. “Spud” doesn’t carry any baggage, despite being written by a white male. The young boy going to boarding school and learning to survive there is also a story that can come from our country. Our literature needs to diversify the narrative of the past and locate stories that step away from the nation’s suffering.

Seeing the advert at the movies prompted me to consider what “Spud” has done for South African literature. It is possibly the first fictional bestseller not written by one of our literary ‘heavyweights’, such as Nadine Gordimer or Andre Brink. The story is currently being made into a movie, which indicates that South African writing is becoming a commercial success. And it’s also been adapted for an American market and has been given a huge release in Barnes and Noble bookstores. The novel will draw attention to our country in a positive light, and begin to break the association of our literature with apartheid and human rights issues. The roaring success of “Spud” indicates that there is hope for South African literature. Let’s hope the Americans agree.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Teamwork- lessons from the bush

This weekend I was privileged to be able to spend some time in the bush with my family. While we were there, we saw the extremely rare sighting of a leopard – and a leopard in action to boot. Our game ranger drove like a bat out of hell to get there in time once he’d heard about it on his radio. Two vehicles were already there, and it was just as well we’d raced as we only saw about five seconds of the big cat. The leopard was running across the plain towards a group of impala, and as it came for them, two males headed up the team and ran towards it. The leopard retreated back into the trees. The impala, obviously very distressed, continued to sound alarm calls and the air filled with their tension. They had escaped being a meal for a few seconds.

It was fascinating to watch the bucks’ behaviour and the way they functioned within their team. Two obvious leaders stepped forward and took charge, while the rest of the group made sure that the babies were protected. All the buck were alert and watching out for themselves and each other. Without the support of those behind them, the males would not have been able to challenge the leopard.

The impala taught me some important lessons about the value of teamwork:
In teams, the individuals look out for each other and warn one another of danger
The team ensures that they protect the weakest of their group
In a group, you are capable of doing much more than if you were just on your own
Many eyes see more than one pair is able to
There is safety in numbers
Times of crisis brings out the best in the group and the individual- the strength of a leader is proved when they are under stress

It turned out to be a lucky morning as, twenty minutes later; we came across two lions basking in the sun on a plane, eagerly watching some zebra and wildebeest some distance from them. The zebra were too far away, though, to make an easy meal, and the lions gave up on their half -hearted attempt at stalking them and decided to attend to their morning grooming. Our vehicle was about twenty metres from them, which was all right as they had their backs to us and seemed in no mood to take up a quick chase. That is until my cousin dropped his cap onto the grass and quickly lent over to retrieve it. The disturbed lion walked straight toward our (open) vehicle and we all held our breaths as he loped past.
Second and most important lesson for the morning: Respect nature!

These are two of the many sightings we had during the weekend. It was wonderful to spend some time away from the busy city and draw some inspiration from animals and nature.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Blog awards

With great fanfare, Roy tore the envelope and piece after piece of paper floated to the floor. The imaginary drum roll sounded and then came the announcement: “And the two best blogs of the WOW group 2007, as voted by their peers, are…. Ijeoma and Susan!”

Ijeoma and I beamed. We went up to shake Roy’s hand, and then we realised we needed to climb onto the table to receive our prizes. With some difficulty, we hoisted ourselves up, conquering the distance without the aid of a chair; we smiled for the camera and congratulated each other, before relinquishing our brief moment in the limelight and descending again.

It was a great honour to be voted one of the two best blogs in our group. It was even better to stand on the table to receive the award. It was fun and different, but more importantly, it was an extension of the blogging process. Standing up there, everyone in the room could see me, and for a moment, everyone was honouring me for who I was. Writing my blog was about standing up and saying, “Here I am” - a platform for self- expression and an opportunity to showcase what’s important to me. Sharing and reading each other’s blogs created a sense of community in the group, where we were able to bounce ideas of each other and receive useful feedback on our thoughts. Blogging about WOW has been a great way to think through what was most meaningful and useful for me. Having one also committed me to writing with some regularity.

Blogs have been very much in the news lately. It’s great to know that as a group we are part of that secret bloggers’ club, and part of the debate that rages on caused by well- known media personalities such as David Bullard.

Our Friday night graduation ceremony was a wonderful opportunity to reflect on WOW and to honour each other for the contribution we’ve each made to the group. Thanks to everyone who voted for my blog - I am proud that you chose to affirm me in this way.

The universe of YES!

Last night I went to watch the movie “Freedom Writers” with Hilary Swank. Hilary Swank plays Miss Gruwell, a young, idealistic teacher whose first job is at Woodrow Wilson High school in Long Beach, California, at a time when the area is racked by gang violence. She is assigned the “dumb” group- a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds who have all been directly affected by the violence around them, and many of them are members of gangs or have been to jail. Gruwell sets out to make a difference in their lives. From the first day her project is seen as naïve idealism and she is met with little support from all sides- her head of department, her principle, her husband and her father all criticise her. Despite these ‘no’s’, with time she gains the respect of her pupils and she continues to choose to see the best in each one of them. She buys them books with her own money, organises and personally pays for a trip for them- things which no one had thought to do because they didn’t choose to look at this group as ‘worth’ the effort- they were always branded the ‘delinquents’, the ‘losers’. “I couldn’t believe that Miss G would do all those things for us,” a touched student wrote in his diary.

Miss Gruwell’s vision for her class was always in the ‘YES’. Ignoring the resounding ‘no’s’, she looked for the endless possibilities in the people around her. Her attitude inspired a force of change in her students, who took her positive vision and ran with a project that sprang from their own initiative. The group took her belief in them to heart and were able to exceed her expectations.

Watching this movie, I learnt that to really make a difference requires getting into that universe of yes. During Roy’s creativity session, we used the concept of Edward de Bono’s six thinking hats of creativity, and had to ‘change hats’ during the day according to what we felt we needed to do. At one time, I chose white- the mode of yes: answering, “Why will it work? What’s right about this?” I realised that I have a tendency to knee-jerk into negative thoughts, automatically thinking why something won’t work. To inspire change, requires learning to quieten the little voice of my inner critic, to put it under the table, so that I can inhabit the universe of endless possibilities, the world of YES!

Sunday, 13 May 2007

The WOW experience

The World of Work programme is over, but, as Lesley emphasised in our final session, it’s not the end, but only the beginning. This weekend I’ve been thinking about what I’ve found to be the most valuable aspects for me.

In the first few days of the course, Ijeoma and I both agreed that we found it difficult to talk about ourselves, particularly to people who we (then) didn’t know so well. But the one thing we’ve all done a lot of in this course is talk about ourselves. Every time a guest lecturer arrived, we almost always had to say briefly who we were. Most wanted our names only; others wanted to know a bit more. And through the course I’ve learnt how important it is to be able to present ourselves to the world confidently and openly, especially to potential employers. If I’m not able to share with someone what I’m really interested in, they usually won’t spend too much time worrying about drawing the information from me.

The simple act of repeatedly introducing myself has really helped to build my confidence, and learning about the current trends in the work place has helped to provide a solid platform from which to launch into the “big bad world”.

As a group we’ve been really interactive, as one of our speakers commented. I particularly enjoyed Kuseni Dlamini’s session, where he encouraged us to participate in discussion with his provocative suggestions. The discussion he facilitated brought out each person’s particular strengths, as we all spoke with passion and insight into the questions at hand. We participated as intellectual equals, while each person was able to make a valuable contribution to the group, as we were all encouraged to speak.

It was a privilege to be part of a group of people who comes from all over Africa and other parts of the world. Previously, I hadn’t had the opportunity to mix with such a diverse group- everyone brought to the table a different perspective, yet will still managed to form a cohesive team and build some good friendships. Dlamini’s session showed me that our disagreements and differences of opinion were valuable because they stimulated debate, and that it is possible to challenge each other but still form a connected group.
The experience helped to prepare me for the variety of people I will no doubt interact and work with when I enter into the world of work.

These two things speak simply to the process of being part of this programme, without even beginning to touch on the lessons learnt on a content level. It’s difficult to place a value on these things in monetary terms, but the course was worth much more than the R1000 we all paid for it.

Sunday, 06 May 2007

Jacob Zuma: A great African Leader?

Fiona Macdonald’s session (Fiona Macdonald consulting) encouraged us to think more broadly about the concept of leadership and the need to develop a model that focuses on Africa. In our discussion, the topic of Jacob Zuma came up. There are many ideas about why he would or wouldn’t make a good president. Some think he is inadequate because of his lack of education. But there are many leaders who are not highly educated and still were successful. And in his time as a political prisoner on Robben Island, Zuma studied and learnt from his fellow prisoners, suggesting that he is self-motivated and disciplined. Another reason people site is that it will be bad news to have a president who has been involved in rape and corruption trails and who mobilised his supporters by singing, “Bring me my machine gun”. Many say that the day Zuma rules will be the day they leave the country.

Fiona’s theory is that Zuma’s presidency will be a bad idea, as he does not have a followership as a leader- he hasn’t earned the respect of a sufficient number of people who will stand behind him. We know from the thousands of people who gathered outside the courtroom during his rape trial last year that he does have a large following of supporters. But there are an equal number of people who do not support him. In the 21-22nd April edition, the Weekender carried an article on the possible candidates for presidency ( It said that the ANC was divided on the issue of Zuma, and where he to be voted into leadership the party may reach a deadlock. Similarly, South Africa would become a country split down the middle, rather than a unified rainbow nation. The article identified three “compromise candidates”, Kgamela Motlanthe, the ANC’s secretary-general, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Foreign affairs minister, and Joel Netshitenzhe, the “perhaps government policy chief”.

The issue of who our next president will be is an extremely contentious one, and I thought Fiona’s theory of followership provided an interesting new way to consider the increasing debate around what makes a good leader.

Thinking creatively about creativity

Roy’s seminar on creativity got me to think far more broadly about the subject than I had previously. In the game at the beginning when we had place names stuck to our back, I think we all learned that as a group our geography is very flawed. As a group of mostly foreigners, I wouldn’t have expected anyone to know where Howick was- the place Ijeoma had to work out. It is a small town, a ‘dorpie’, in Kwazulu-Natal that has become like a retirement community. It does have a tourist attraction: the Howick falls, where the Umgeni river drops 300 feet. So Ijeoma was getting very frustrated when she got conflicting answers as to where this place was- some in the group had told her it was in Europe! Eventually she worked out the answer by finding that the name sounded like “Horlicks”.

Playing this game taught us that we needed to find other strategies for arriving at a solution, particularly when we find one – such as relying on geography- isn’t working. I have played a similar game on long drives with my brother. He will think has of a celebrity’s name and I would guess what it is by asking ‘yes no’ questions, and then we would swap. I remember getting quite frustrated playing this, particularly at the end of a trip when I just can’t get the answer. Next time, I hope I’ll be able to think of more strategies, and beat my brother by asking the least questions!

As Roy defined it, creativity is applied problem solving. So now I think of creativity not just in the context of writing poetry or painting, but also as a vital skill that can be cultivated in life and particularly in business. For example, an advert for Investec Asset management says, “You’ll be expected to zig when others zag”. Part of their job is to bring a mixture of creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial thinking to the table.

What I most appreciated was the various tools he gave us to help us step- by- step through the creative process. The workshop reinforced that taking action is an essential part of this. An idea that is not acted on is a lost idea, just floating around in the air. Many times I’ve thought of things and not written them down. I think I’ll be keeping a notebook in my bed from now on! Thanks Roy for an informative, fun and very practical session.

Secrets of success

Some conflicting views have emerged from our speakers during the programme. Kuseni Dlamini challenged to see that there was nothing wrong with self -interest because it drives personal success. Others have emphasised the importance of having a heart for the community. Professor Lovemore Mbigi encouraged us to work harder than anyone else if we wanted to be successful, even if it meant working eighteen hours a day. Fiona Macdonald talked about the importance of a work-life balance and in our stress management workshop we discussed getting eight hours of sleep a night.

But despite these contradictions, all the speakers have agreed on two essential ingredients of success. The first is to know who we are. The second is to stand out from the crowd and be an exceptional person. There are many ways to impress- with our talent and our abilities, but most of all, with our attitudes. Fiona Macdonald told us that Celeste made an immediate impression because she made the effort to greet every single person she met on her first day at work. Celeste was prepared to do anything she was asked, including going to buy Berocca for a group of hung-over accountants who had partied the night away and had to spend the next day at a conference. Through her actions she showed that she was keen, enthusiastic and friendly, and her employers knew she was a person who would add value.

Aki Kalliatakis emphasised that the people we remember are those that make a personal effort and go out of their way to serve us. One of the secrets of success of the employees at the world famous Pike Fish Company is that they know that they choose their attitude at every moment of the day. Brad Arden spoke about ‘hot’ people as the ones who are really in demand. Kuseni Dlamini reminded us that in a globally competitive market, people who are sought after will be able to live and work wherever and for who ever they choose.
So I think the biggest challenge for us as we go into the world of work is to remember always that our attitude and our actions speak loudly about us, and that a commitment to be exceptional will carry us far down the ladder of success.

Linking your CV to your blog

We’ve all struggled to follow the complicated instructions to try and put our CVs as links on our blogs. On Thursday Roy suggested a much simpler way of doing this to put an end to our html woes!

We do this the same way that we linked everyone else’s blog addresses to our page. So, go to:
1. New Post
2. Click on ‘Template’.
3. Click on ‘Add a page element’.
4. Click on ‘Add link list’.
4. Copy and paste the url of your CV into the url address (You get this by right clicking on the time of your post and clicking on ‘copy shortcut’. Give it a name- eg ‘my online resume’.
5. Click on ‘Save changes’.
So this way you end up with a section where your links are that says ‘my online resume’. The CV is still a post on your blog (don’t delete the post like I did!) but at least this way it is easily accessible for anyone wanting to find it.

Saturday, 05 May 2007

Speak up or you won't be heard

One of the big challenges facing our group and me in particular over the course of the WOW programme has been learning to speak up. Speaking loudly is just one of the aspects of learning to present ourselves to the world. In the first session that Roy Blumenthal had with us, he challenged us all to make a commitment to speak up and project our voices so that everyone in the room could hear what we had to say. The room unfortunately seems to swallow the sound of our voices into the buzz of the fans and the projector, sometimes making it a strain to hear everything. Roy’s tips were to sit up straight and breathe from our diaphragms, reminding us that people in the world of work weren’t going to have much time for us if they couldn’t hear what we said.

I remember a time in high school when my soft voice gave a negative impression of me right from the beginning. I went to audition for the Kwazulu-Natal Youth choir. I was particularly nervous and when the conductor introduced himself, my voice came out in a tiny sqeak. “Oo, I hope you don’t sing like you speak!” was his first comment.
His first impression was of my nervousness. Roy emphasised that small voices suggest that we are small people. A potential boss, like the choir master, most likely will think that how we speak is an indication of how we are going to perform- dealing with people and tasks in the workplace.

Speaking clearly and loudly is just one of the ways of presenting ourselves to the world.From the very first day on the course, most speakers have asked us to introduce ourselves and talk briefly about where we come from. Andrew Hofmeyr told us that Graham Codrington, today a successful professional, knocked on his door when he was first beginning his career and gave a presentation on himself. Interviews are about presenting who we are and selling ourselves as a valuable product. This course has helped me particularly to see the value of being able to speak confidently about myself and my goals. I have learnt that, if I can’t speak up for myself, no one will know who I am or give me the benefit of the doubt. If I don’t speak clearly, I won’t be heard.

Thursday, 03 May 2007

My online resume



I am interested in a position that involves reading, writing and editing, as well as dealing with people.


I am an English postgraduate with well- developed written and oral communication skills. I have experience in writing and editing work in a media and literary environment as well as in the academic world.


2006-April 2007: MA in English at University of Witwatersrand (Wits)

2005: Honours in English at UCT

2002-2004: BA with Majors in English and Law at University of Cape Town (UCT)

2001: Matriculated from St Anne’s Diocesan College with an A aggregate (IEB exams). Distinctions in English and History


August-December 2006 Hope Home and School
Job Description: Researched and wrote brochure. Selected photographs for brochure

Skills acquired: Honed ability to write clear, simple and conscise prose
Practical skills- acquiring the information needed to produce a brochure

September- December 2006 Special Projects, Caxton Publishing
Job Description: Journalist Intern- researched and wrote articles for publication using internet and personal interviews. Selected photogrpahs for publication

Skills acquired: Practical organisational skills- helped arrange social function
Administration and people skills

August 2006- Creative Communication
Job Description: Assistant editor for manuscript of a novel

Skills acquired: Developing capacity to pay meticulous attention to detail
Effective communication of ideas
Fine- tuning writing skills

Feb-November 2005 University of Cape Town Libraries
Job Description: Student library assistant- helping library users at desk after hours

Skills acquired: Assisted students at the library desk with queries
Customer service skills
Communication and problem solving skills
Computer skills

December 2004 By Word of Mouth Catering Company
Job description: Waitress


Writing and editing skills
Ability to communicate effectively with others
Empathy and listening skills
Ability to read and process large quantities of information as well as skim-read
General computer skills
Own transport and valid drivers licence

References available on request

Tuesday, 01 May 2007

South Africans in a globally competitive market

Kuseni Dlamini from RBCT spoke to us about the increasing globalisation of the market place. Being successful means being able to compete on an international level, and the challenge for us is to build up our skills so that what we offer becomes a global commodity. Most of us know that countries are clamping down on immigration laws and it is more and more difficult to get visas, passports and work permits. But Dlamini’s view is that if we are really excellent, countries will be competing to attract us- any and every door will be open.

After Dlamini’s talk, an article in the Star workplace (25th April) caught my eye. “We have the skills to compete on a global stage”, announces the headline. The article is about Peter Hanwith-Horden, an IT specialist who spotted some errors in a textbook produced by an American publisher. He took the initiative to contact them after he found errors that had slipped through the cracks of their quality control. The publishers were so impressed that they asked him to edit their next book.

Hanwith-Horden’s specialist skills were good enough for the firm to take notice. He is an example of an individual achieving with excellence. It’s encouraging to know that there are South Africans who can compete on a global level.

Bridging the gap between education and the workplace

The difference between what is required of us in the workplace and in our education is vast. Fortunately, programmes like WOW and the Thusanani project are beginning to address this problem.

At university, we can get away with missing some lectures, sitting at the back of the class and never asking a question. The pervasive attitude on campus is that as long as you pass, it’s fine. My family jokes that, at university, everyone fails something- almost as a rite of passage. This is a culture of mediocrity rather than excellence, where we manage if we produce unremarkable assignments. But in the workplace, we need to stand out. Those who are mediocre, it is becoming increasingly apparent, simply will not make the grade, particularly in an environment that is becoming globally competitive.

Success in education does not guarantee a smooth ride into the workplace. Richard Branson never went to university; in fact he left school at fifteen and started his own business at sixteen.

Several speakers on the WOW programme have commented on the lack of ‘soft’ skills taught in our education system. To be successful in a work environment, we need to be able to work in teams and manage conflict effectively. We are expected to develop these kinds of skills elsewhere. At university, they are an added extra. In the world of work, they are a necessity. So is it important to try to find ways to teach everyone these skills?

Unfortunately it seems that we are not receptive to being taught soft skills. A few years ago, UCT introduced a course called “Becoming a Professional” into its first year medical curriculum. The course teaches students the basics of professional conduct, focusing strongly on teamwork and approaching clients and colleagues in a non-judgemental manner. These are all vital skills, and particularly important as someone working in the medical field. Yet on campus I would always find students who complained bitterly about having to do this course. Most found it a waste of time. Perhaps our education system needs to re-look at how it prepares students for life and for work, while in the meantime, we need to take personal responsibility for developing our own set of valuable skills.

The Value of a B.A Graduate

Andrew Hofmeyr mentioned that were he given the choice to hire a B.A or a B.Com graduate, he would definitely take the B.A. In his experience, business are increasingly searching for a different kind of skill, and coming to value the qualities that a social sciences student can bring with them.

A course recently launched by UCT has shown that Mr Hofmeyr’s view is increasingly shared. Their Graduate School of Business has introduced a course that harnesses the creative arts in the development of teamwork ( The course, Creative Tools for Optimising Team Performance, will use music, storytelling and the dramatic arts to enhance teams and unlock their potential. In an increasingly competitive world, the traditional management tools of analytical thinking are no longer enough. Team leaders need to be able to approach management in much more innovative ways to stay ahead of the game. By focusing on the creative arts, the course will allow people to tap into the discipline, listening, observation, and problem solving skills that importantly are utilised in the environment of creative teamwork.

The participants in the World of Work programme mostly come from a social sciences background. It’s encouraging to know that the world at large is becoming more receptive to utilising a range of creative skills in a business environment. The challenge for us, as Mr Hofmeyr spoke about, is to be able to package our skills in a way that will be attractive to businesses.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The Entrepreneur

Marius Venter from the University of Johannesburg involved our group in thinking creatively about entrepreneurship. The most important starting point of being an entrepreneur is to know ourselves. He illustrated this by asking each of us to describe ourselves with words that begin with each letter of our first names.

In the human treasure hunt, we were each given a worksheet of things and had to find someone in the group who had done that, for example: had he/ she ever made a personal greeting card, or won the lottery. Once we had completed the search we discussed what each of these experiences meant for the entrepreneur. For example, entrepreneurs need to be competitive, have clear goals, have the ability to budget, and be able to add a personal touch to their business.

Our final task was to break into teams and draw a picture that represents all the characteristics of the entrepreneur. My group drew a lion, because it is both a team animal while displaying the characteristics of a leader, it has an instinct to survive, just as entrepreneurs pursue the goal of profit making for their survival. One group drew a tree, with the many qualities of the entrepreneur displayed on its branches, and the final group drew a man who had many things, from a thinking mind to some money in his pocket to begin his business.

The session allowed us to explore what it takes to be an entrepreneur through active participation. South Africa needs more people who will take the initiative and create jobs for others, so we learned some valuable lessons that we will hopefully utilise in our future careers.

Leaders everywhere

In many of our sessions, particularly Brad Arden’s, it has been emphasised that everyone can be a leader. And not only that, but that everyone at a point in their working lives will be required to lead. When Eileen Maleka from CCDU was doing her workshop with us, we each picked a piece of paper with a skill on it at random from a packet and spent five minutes thinking about whether we felt we had that skill. To my surprise, I got ‘leadership’, something I do not feel comes naturally to me. But during this course, I have begun to realise that there are many ways to lead; while the old philosophy that such people are born, not made, is no longer recognised as true. Everyone has the capacity that can be developed and expressed in his or her personal style.

Today, Kuseni Dlamini from Richards Bay Coal Terminal spoke about the power of personal excellence to transform our environment. To mobilise change in South Africa and on the African continent, he emphasised that it is necessary to foster a culture of achievement and an “I can” attitude rather than one of blame. Beginning the shift begins with ourselves, and by committing to being excellent in all that we do, it will inspire others to do the same. Everyone can lead by example. Benjamin Zander (the orchestra conductor that I wrote about in a previous post) leads by being passionate about what he does, and through this he encourages passion in those around him. The author Marianne Williamson writes: “We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.”

The input from the workshops had opened my mind to think more broadly rather than traditionally about leadership, and encouraged me to recognise my personal potential that can only grow by being developed and nurtured.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

You don’t have to throw fish around to make something fly

In Aki Kaliatakis’s presentation, I felt that one of the highlights was watching the video about Pike Place fish market ( Watching the flying fish packers go about their daily jobs with such enthusiasm and energy was truly inspiring. But as the employees emphasised, it’s not simply about the fish. It’s about choosing a way to behave, choosing an attitude and making the effort to be fully present at every moment in the day. To make something fly, it’s about going about our tasks as enthusiastically as they did.

If everyone is in business, as Andrew Hofmeyr reminded us, then everyone we encounter is a customer. If we are building a personal brand, then the product we are selling every moment is ourselves. What kind of impression are we making at each moment in the day? Ali’s notes quote, “They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them”. What are the simple things that will make us unforgettable in the minds of those around us? While we were waiting for things to get started, Ali simply walked round the table, shook each of our hands, and greeted each of us personally. It immediately made me warm to him as someone who would go the extra effort to acknowledge me.

Let’s get back to the fish packers. Their company culture filtered to every employee. Every person was required to participate in order to make their working environment a success. Once we get into the world of work, we may just be the intern. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference. As has been emphasised in previous sessions, every employee can get involved in decision making. Everyone can take initiative and fulfil their task with passion, enthusiasm and a great attitude. And once that shines out, it will affect everyone around us.

Benjamin Zander (, an American musician, conductor, and motivational speaker, speaks about creating leaders everywhere. In the orchestra, the conductor is perceived to lead the group. Those playing the instruments are seated in groups that denote their importance- those in the front play a greater section of the melody. However, under Zander’s baton, he began the practice of getting everyone involved. Practicing a particularly difficult piece, he asked each of the members to turn to their partner and teach them the melody, creating leaders everywhere. He began the practice of putting a white sheet of paper at every member’s podium so that they could give him feedback on their performance. By doing so, he inspired everyone to get involved and express their passion. By being fully present in their performance, each member of the orchestra could lead, no matter where they were sitting, even if it was in the eleventh row.

Zander believes that “a leader does not need a podium”. A leader does not need to be the CEO of a company. Even as an intern, we can lead by choosing a positive attitude that will inspire the same in those around us. We don’t need to throw fish around to make something fly.