GLAMOUR got to chat with this busy superwoman recently on business, social media, fitness and more.
So Lesedi, tell us. What does your job entail?
I’m Head of PR, Influencers & Events for Diageo SA. I look after brands like Johnnie Walker, Ciroc, Tanqueray, Haig Club Clubman, Smirnoff and others. I’m basically responsible for the word of mouth and advocacy program for our brands with multiple connection points. Brands no longer live on traditional advertising channels anymore. Who they are needs to be represented with the media, change makers, trend spotters, Influences and adopters, every day consumers on the ground. My job is to make sure I keep our brands top of mind & relevant in this space.
What has your career journey been so far? How did you get to be where you are now?
I studied Marketing and started as an assistant brand manager in 2011 at Unilever on Knorrox stock cubes!!! Lol. I stayed in the traditional marketing/ brand management route up until 9 months ago. I worked at SAB, GSK and started my own business as well during that period. Then in 2018 when the company I’m currently in went under a restructure.
My boss asked me if I’d be interested in bringing in my external personal interests and matching it with the marketing capability I have to date. I applied and boom I’m sold and never moving out of PR.
You love it that much?
It’s reawakened my energy and I’ve become so genuinely passionate about connecting our brands to people and the moment. I’ve also done my honors in marketing and recently completed my MBA during the time.
As a young black woman, what does being in your shoes, as a thriving professional, an influential person on social media and just a woman come with?
For a start I'd say a reality check. Ground yourself in what’s important and what you are working towards vs recognition. It’s very easy to get caught up.
- Surround yourself with people who both champion and challenge you. I get very unsettled when I don’t hear a no in a room I’m in. For me it’s indicative of an absence of trust or care for a project. No one person is the master of everything and if a team can’t challenge you, you won’t grow.
- Throwing down the ladder. It can be very easy to isolate yourself and not want to share in the joy and benefits that the space brings but all of that is quite empty if you can’t grow others with you. Whenever I get the chance I like to open the door for someone else and give them a fighting chance. I believe in karma so someone is bound to do the same for me. There’s also enough barriers created for women in corporate. I’d hate to be another.
You have been quite open about your fitness journey, and we can see it working well. What inspired you to start, stay on course and not give up?
I wasn’t happy at all and my twin sister called out that I always wore black at the time. I also constantly found myself delaying what I wanted to do/ wear because I wasn’t the right weight or comfortable with my body. I was also dealing with a bad break up at the time and wanted to channel my energy into something positive.
I then saw a video online of a sexy, fit and smiling black female trainer and I decided to contact her. Those who follow me know Mapule Ndlovu and I are now good friends. We started training together and the rest is history.
And as to how I stuck with it, the more I trained and saw that it was working and I was genuinely felt good about myself, I continued to train and now it's become a lifestyle.
What's a typical day for you like?
- 04:30: alarm goes off for gym
- 08:00: A day at the office kicks off
- 4/5 meetings through out the day
- 15:30 starts attending to emails
- 19:00 get home and or attend an event
- 21:00 my ideal time to get into bed but rarely happens
Your Instagram page is popping Sis, when did you fall in love with social media and where do you think its space is in the lifestyle industry right now?
Really?! I criticize it so much but more than anything I love that it serves a memory for some of my experiences. Social media started for me on Facebook and Twitter. I remember joining Twitter in my second year of varsity and being fascinated by the ability to connect with people across boards so seamlessly. It’s evolved since then to both a reflection of people’s every day lives but also a massive advertising channel.
With the lifestyle industry I’d say it’s helped personalize it, people actually see people's real lives and in real time. I think consumers are also becoming more conscious of brands using personalities who either embody or live the lifestyle and makes the output more authentic. I do think there is an onus on the industry both brands and personalities to navigate more responsibly. While it’s no ones role to raise people's children and the likes we should all be accountable for what we portray and how we choose to do that.
What's your dream for yourself?
To have a peaceful, stable and supportive family life. I also want to have good health and financial prosperity.
Five things people would be surprised to know about you?
- I’m at home a lot
- I love cooking
- I am bare faced with no make up 80% of the time (yawn I know)
- People still act suprised that I have a twin sister
- I’m scared of the rides at game parks
GQ: So Gold Reef City rides and you are not buddies?
LM: Nah, not at all.