I don’t really like talking about myself as I often feel that no person can aptly describe themselves in any language. I tend to refer you to someone who knows every aspect of my crazy, bipolar personality as they deal with it on a daily basis. That being said, in my professional life I’m actually quite boring, yes I am. I never really feel that I make a difference, my company does, me not so much. It’s been a year but I’m still immensely proud of this Who’s Who interview I did. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done a few radio and TV ones but I sincerely hope those have been destroyed. Read through it and maybe just maybe you’d think I’m interesting after this.
Melanie Pretorius Head of Junto Media and 2015 Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention nominee, tells us more about her career and shares inspiration for other young professionals.
How did you get into your line of work?
I started off in retail and was offered a position as the Personal Assistant to the CEO of Junto Group in Johannesburg. When the media division was introduced, I was offered the position of Head of Media, which I accepted even though I didn’t have any experience. Thereafter I studied Media Management at the AAA School of Advertising to assist with my new position.
Do you have any advice for other young professionals in your industry?
Believe in yourself even when no one else does.
Who has been the biggest influence in your professional career, and how have they affected you?
Definitely my CEO, Dr Lucas Moloi. He saw potential in me even when I didn’t believe in myself and I’ll always be grateful for that.
You were a nominee at the 2015 Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention. What did you take away from attending the Convention?
Whether inherent or not, we’re all leaders, we don’t need to be followers. The choice is a conscious one.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being nominated as a Tomorrow’s Leader is definitely the highlight of my career thus far. It’s a great honour and I would love to live up to it.
Who or what inspired you to start your career in your industry?
My inspiration in this industry, especially in South Africa is Bonang Matheba. She started off as a presenter and continued to cement her place in this industry through various other ventures. What I admire most about her is the fact that she’s a hard worker and never rests on her laurels.
Tell us about a risk you’ve taken during the course of your career and how this affected your path?
The biggest risk I’ve taken was to relocate to a city where I didn’t know anyone. The move advanced my career and encouraged me to work harder as I didn’t have anyone to rely on. I had to make a success of my chosen path.
If you could do anything now, what would you do and why?
At this very moment I’d love to take a vacation (laughs). On a serious note, I’d love to create awareness about the digital aspect of the media industry, i.e. online radio and TV as most people are quite sceptical about it. Whether we like it or not, we need to realise that the digital sphere is the future, and if we don’t get on that bandwagon we’ll be left behind.
Who or what keeps you motivated, and how?
My mom keeps me motivated. I’m an only child and the sole provider and I’ve always wanted to show gratitude towards my mom for all the sacrifices she’s made for my success. She’s the first person that invested in me and I want to make her proud.
What’s next for you?
I’d like to continue learning and growing. I’d love to continue my studies which I plan to do soon.
Tell us about your role models or mentors, and how they have affected your career?
My mentor is Dr Moloi and just like me, he came from humble beginnings. He always encouraged me to believe in myself and to be the best I can possibly be.
What do you think is the most important innovation of your lifetime and why?
I think it’s definitely technology; it’s made life easier, especially in the media industry.
How important has social media and online brand management been in managing your career?
I feel that most individuals do not realise the vital role social media plays in a company’s decision to hire you or not. To a certain extent they believe their social media accounts are their personal platforms and they can express themselves freely. Unfortunately that’s not the case.
Personally, social media has played a vital role in networking opportunities as I’ve made new contacts and have had strangers approach me about the company, my work etc. I’ve realised that I’m a brand and as such, I need to be cautious as to what I post on my social media platforms as most people believe that’s who you really are.
Which three Southern Africans would you most like to have dinner with and why?
Individually, from Nelson Mandela I would’ve loved to learn unconditional forgiveness, from Archbishop Tutu, how to be firm in my beliefs and not waver, and from Mr Motsepe how to remain humble regardless of worldly riches.
What would you like your legacy to be?
I would love my legacy to be empowering to the youth of today. We often feel that we won’t amount to anything because that’s what we’ve been hearing all our lives and I’d like to be an inspiration to those feeling that way. I walked down that path but overcame my insecurities as soon as realised I’d never manage to please everyone.
What does success look like to you?
Contentment, which doesn’t necessarily need to transcend into monetary value. I believe that if you’ve made an impact on one person’s life, your legacy will live on and that’s what I strive to do.
Full interview can be found here