Our Comms Spotlight for this week is Sam Gqomo. Currently, Sam is the Director of Womandla Global Network and she has been able to build a successful international PR business from South Africa. In our interview with her, Sam shares some significant highlights from her career journey and how she she’s been able to build her PR business over the years.
Tell us how you began your career in Communications and how you’ve grown as a professional over the years.
I feel that the field of PR and Communications was destined for me. Being naturally multilingual, a people connector, and having a talent for orchestrating events and creating memorable experiences , this was a path I couldn’t resist. Guided by a knowledgeable mentor and enriched by diverse experiences, I pursued formal education in PR and Communications. My career has been a dynamic journey, spanning different industries, and eventually culminating in the establishment of my own company, Womandla Global Network.
What do you do as the Director of Womandla Global Network?
We are a through-the-line Public Relations and Communications consultancy with a strong focus on social impact, and development work. As the Director of Womandla Global Network, I oversee the operations, streamlining processes and workflows for efficient functioning. Much of the responsibility for business development and nurturing stakeholder relationships falls within my portfolio. My role extends beyond mere management, as I am also the visionary and spokesperson for the organisation, articulating its mission and goals to the world. This multifaceted position enables me to guide the organisation’s growth while representing its values and vision.
Tell us about a major challenge you’ve faced in your career journey and how you were able to overcome it.
One of the biggest marketing challenges faced by the creative industry in South Africa is the highly competitive market, which makes it difficult for small and emerging businesses to establish themselves. The industry is dominated by big players who have the resources to invest in marketing, branding, and advertising. This often results in smaller businesses struggling to break through and gain visibility in the market.
Another significant challenge is the fast-changing landscape of marketing and the need to adapt to new technologies and trends constantly. It can be challenging for smaller businesses to keep up with these changes and invest in the necessary resources to stay competitive. The greatest tool I have invested in is networking events and opportunities. These have allowed us to partner with agencies and get business where job boards do not allow.
Can you share some highlights from your career journey so far?
One of my greatest highlights was delivering PR for a Pan-African NGO at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. We have also managed communications for a UK Government department. We also recently signed a global blue-chip client. Another one of my proudest achievements has been a personal nomination I received from the IAB Transformation Council last year. I was nominated for my work with the Connected Womxn Series, which is an initiative that aims to build a community of senior women leaders across the C- and B+ suites in the industry.
Being nominated for this initiative has been an incredible honour for me, as it has allowed me to contribute to building a community of strong, empowered women leaders who can drive meaningful change in the industry. I believe that initiatives like the Connected Womxn Series are crucial for creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace that fosters growth and innovation.
Tell us about a campaign or project that you’ve worked on that still stands out to you.
In celebration of World PR Day on July 16, 2023, we launched an inspiring campaign aimed at honouring exceptional African women leaders who have made remarkable contributions in the fields of PR, Corporate Communications, and Corporate Affairs.
These trailblazing women have left an indelible mark on the industry, demonstrating outstanding achievements in renowned global brands like Procter & Gamble, Mastercard, and Kellogg SA, as well as shining professionals hailing from Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana.
In the course of this campaign, each candidate generously shared their insights on how PR and Communications can significantly contribute to Africa’s sustainable development. Their valuable perspectives have been showcased to inspire future advancements and foster the growth of our continent.
The campaign’s success made headlines in South Africa’s leading Marketing and Media circles, leading to a phenomenal 335% growth in engagement and impressions, along with a staggering 585% growth in followers. This remarkable pan-African support played a pivotal role in highlighting the achievements of these trailblazing women in the Public Relations industry.
What advice would you give your younger professional self?
Always heed the whispers of your inner voice, whether it’s in crafting campaigns, serving clients, or in any aspect of life. Your spirit is the compass that guides you towards your true purpose and passion. Trust in your intuition, for it holds the key to your most meaningful endeavours.