Voyaging through a path that you feel is right sometimes may not be the same as you thought and, in turn, can lead to something otherwise. However, it will surely serve as a direction leading to a righteous path. If a course orientation is presented as fulfilling, one should definitely be frolicked to take a stance on undergoing the trajectory. One way or the other, it will surely lead to the ultimate purpose.
This is what exactly happened to business leader Fathima Ebrahim. Fathima, Head of Marketing at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, South Africa ventured deep into various opportunities, but in the end, she landed on dedicating her efforts to something she is most passionate about.
She started on a very different path than the one she is on now, but various paths connected themselves and led her a route to becoming an influential leader in Marketing. She ventured into various fields till she found the one pursuit that absolutely highlighted her passion and purpose as a whole.
This passion of Fathima led her to be nominated as one of the 50 Leading Ladies in Corporate Africa in May 2021, and she was named one as the 700 Most influential Africans in the World in 2022. She is looked upon by many from the industry, and Fathima tirelessly provides guidance through her expertise to those who seek it.
To explore her journey of scaling success to the top in Marketing and Relationship Management, Insights Success had an interview with Fathima.
Below are the highlights of the interview:
Fathima, briefly describe your professional journey up until now.
My first job straight out of university was actually working with my dad. During this time, I learned business ethics so, basically, the ins and outs of a business. I spent five years here and then moved to another city to become a college principal.
This was a seven-year stint, and I had over 1000+ students; as a result, there was a lot to carry on my shoulders. It was during this time that I realized I wanted to be in media PR and communications. So, I moved to the media world, where most people thought I was crazy.
But my love for these sectors has only grown. Since then, I have spent time working with some of the best brands, both nationally and internationally. I moved on to work for MultiChoice, a pay-tv platform in Africa, and spent ten years learning about the broadcasting industry from a communications and product perspective.
Thereafter I moved on to agency life, and as usual, I guess I do things in reverse; since most people move from agency to corporate, I did it the other way around. All I could say is that this was literally baptism by fire, but this experience was different as it was such a huge learning curve yet again because I worked with the best.
In April 2021, I moved to Liquid Intelligent Technologies, SA, and I’m currently the head of marketing. I am supported by the best leaders and have to constantly ensure that the brand stands out from the clutter. And I love the fact that we continuously have to create an engaging relationship between the brand and the customer.
What challenges did you face along the way?
The challenges were many. From a brand perspective, you’re always looking for new ways to ensure that your brand and company creates loyalty and campaigns that create a memory.
From a relationship perspective, one is always dealing with different people with various characteristics and personalities, and sometimes you get intertwined in both situations in order to suffice both aspects. You have to learn, especially as a leader, how to deal with different personality types so that you create harmony with both the aspects, your and their workspace.
Challenges also included knowing when to have brave conversations because this ultimately meant that both you and the other person or persons actually grow from the experience. It is my belief that no matter what the situation is, especially negative, you have to find the positive in it and learn from it and not waste any opportunity.
What significant impact did you bring to the Marketing industry?
For brands and organizations where I worked in a marketing role, I always tried to bring out-of-the-box ideas because we are all looking for new ways to impact our audience. I tried to do so by constantly learning and keeping an eye on other brands as well as how they differentiated themselves while also always ensuring to keep up with industry trends.
What is your take on technology’s importance, and how are you leveraging it?
We all understand the importance of technology and how it can be utilized for the greater good. Many lives have been positively impacted because of what technology can do; for example, people in rural areas can now literally receive medication via drone delivery.
Especially during covid, I think our reliance on technology became evident, how students interacted with teachers virtually, and how every work workforce became a virtual one. These could have been adversely affected if technology were not as sophisticated as it is currently.
At Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we believe that every African should be connected and not be left behind. This is all possible because of the power of technology, and the way it can change lives, and the mindset of great visionaries.
What will be the next significant change in the Marketing industry, and how are you preparing for it?
Change is an exemplary part of an evolving process, as it ensures that we do not remain stagnant and that we always look for the next trend to incorporate the next hype. However, I believe that any marketer must remain cognizant of the brilliant basics. We have seen the world of robotics, the world of augmented reality, and virtual reality. It has taken off in some parts of the world, and others will follow for sure.
There will always be a new something and a next new trend, but we must always remember that one size does not fit all. That despite changes in the industry, traditional mediums may still remain relevant, and for us to know when and how, or where to implement these changes is crucial.
What are your goals in the upcoming future?
I love the fact that at Liquid Intelligent Technologies, we want to ensure that every African is connected. It makes me proud to carry out this mission every day, no matter how small or big my contribution is.
In the past few years, through collaboration with many foundations, I have become a mentor to entrepreneurs and also to the people reaching out to me to learn more about communications and marketing. I hope to continue to give back in the future, as I believe we should not be miserly when it comes to sharing our knowledge and skills.
What advice would you like to give the next generation of aspiring leaders venturing into your niche?
Few words that I would like to dedicate to women is to ensure that you are the person who is fixing the crown of another woman and not that woman who is pulling her down.
Apart from that, I understand for the younger generation that their mindset is very different than that of their parents and grandparents. They can sometimes feel that work life is an infliction and that they can get away from it rather than think of what it can give them.
All I would like to say is that perhaps I am old-fashioned, but I was always told to believe that your work is your bread and butter. So, respect what it does for you. I am not saying to be a slave of your work but surely be passionate about what you do and your work environment. Then you will love every minute of it, and then it is also said that when you love what you do, then it is not really work.