President: Ruth Ncube (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011.) Managing director First Mutual Life Assurance Co.
Ncube is a savvy and dedicated businesswoman who holds an MBA degree with Nottingham Trent University, UK. She is a graduate with the Institute of Marketing Management (RSA), a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK) and holds several diplomas in sales and marketing, United Kingdom. She has more than 15 years’ leadership experience, having worked at various managerial capacities in retail, hospitality, banking and insurance industries. She has been accorded an honorary marketing practitioner status (MP, Maz/IMM) due to her sterling contribution to the marketing profession.
Vice-president: Tapuwa Mandimutsira (Zimpapers group business development and marketing director).
Mandimutsira has wide international and regional exposure in the printing, advertising, marketing and newspaper business environment in countries such as Italy, Portugal, France, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana. He holds an MBA from the University of Zimbabwe, BBS Honours in Marketing and Management degree and is currently studying for a Masters in Commerce, marketing strategy. He is the former chairman of Zimbabwe Advertising Media Association (ADMA, 2004-2007), former board member Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation (2004 -2006).
Executive SECRETARY: Gillian Rusike (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011). Executive secretary, Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe.
Rusike is the visionary and founder of the Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe (Maz). He founded the association in 2005. His vision is to uplift the marketing profession and ensure it obtains the due recognition it deserves. He is also currently secretary-general of African Marketing Confederation, an amalgamation of marketing bodies in Africa. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and a graduate diploma in Marketing Management with the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM SA).
Truster Beauty Chikoore: (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011). Director Platnum Construction Chikoore, an honorary marketing practitioner, is an accomplished businesswoman who holds a BBA in Administration in Marketing Management (IMM-SA) and a graduate diploma in marketing. She is co-founder of Maz. She is the former Spar-Omo 2011 Business Mother of the Year and was nominated Marketing Personality for 2011. She is married to Obert with two children
Odiline Kava: (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011). Head marketing and priority — Diamond Insurance Ltd).
Kava is an accomplished communication specialist with over 20 years’ experience in communications, public relations, marketing, brand management, event management and training. She holds a BBA Administration in Marketing and a Diploma in Marketing Management from IMM SA. Kava qualified as a marketing practitioner (Maz/IMM) in 2011.
Kudzai Simango (partner territory manager — Microsoft East and Southern Africa).
Simango is a passionate marketing professional with nine years’ experience within the information communication technology sector. Her interest is in relationship building which has been the focal point of her success. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce Marketing Management Degree with Midlands State University as well as a Masters Degree in Business Administration with the University of Zimbabwe.
Legal Advisor: Lyndon Tuyani Nkomo — company secretary and head of legal services NetOne (Pvt) Ltd.
Nkomo is currently reading for a Doctor of Philosophy degree with the University of the Witwatersrand and holds a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) degree from the University of Zimbabwe, Master of Laws (LLM) (Communications Laws) degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from the University of Zimbabwe. He is a registered legal practitioner, notary public and conveyancer whose research interests are in human rights with special focus on freedom of expression and the right to privacy, telecommunications law, broadcasting law and cyber law.
Tichaona Gandanhamo (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011). Head — products and marketing support, Ecobank Zimbabwe Ltd.
Gandanhamo is a marketing practitioner with 10 years’ experience in sales and marketing functions of leading financial services brands in Zimbabwe. He has held several positions including direct sales manager, product development manager and business development manager for Standard Chartered Bank and Fidelity Financial Services.
For the past five years, Gundanhamo has been group marketing manager for AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe Ltd, in charge of conception and execution of the groups marketing strategy. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Agric-Economics, other financial services, marketing and insurance qualifications and is currently studying with CIM and UZ graduate school. He is a founding member of the Activeline Solutions, a leading distributor of massage and wellness products as well as marketing solutions.
Willard Nyagwande (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011). Sales and marketing manager Powertel Communications.
Nyagwande is a charismatic, result-oriented and aggressive marketer who holds a Master of Commerce in Marketing Strategy.
Tov Manene (marketing practitioner MP, Maz/IMM 2011). Managing director Select Research.
Manene holds an MSc in demography and an MSc in Biostatistics from the University of Zimbabwe. He also has BSc Honours in statistics. Manene has held managerial positions in a number of research and development organisations, as the managing director of Select Research P/L, he has spearheaded many marketing research projects across Africa.
He also sits on industry boards namely Buy Zimbabwe, Biostatistics Association of Zimbabwe and is also the president of the Marketing Research Association of Zimbabwe.
Maz growing from strength to strength
FROM humble beginnings in 2007, the Marketers’ Association of Zimbabwe (Maz) has grown tremendously to be an association to be reckoned with.
Established to uplift the marketing profession in the country, the association has made its mark in the industry by hosting one of the major events on the business calendar — The Superbrand Award ceremony.
Maz adopted the concept of superbrand three years ago. This annual event seeks to recognise and promote marketing excellence and professionalism by awarding and recognising top brands in Zimbabwe in various sectors thereby awarding a seal of approval to the outstanding brand of the year.
It is in the spirit of developing strong brands, strong companies and a strong economy that Maz has adopted the superbrand concept. In the same context, a superbrand is a brand that has the ability to create, maintain, protect and enhance products and services resulting in brand equity.
Zimbabwean business has shown such belief and trust in the superbrand process that even non-members of the association have also joined the race. This clearly indicates industry’s confidence in Maz and its products. To date more than 130 brands have enlisted to take part in this year’s edition of the Superbrand.
Maz has also commissioned two new projects in their publications department. Maz is running a quarterly marketing magazine called The Zim Marketer. The first project is a handbook on brand and branding evolution in Zimbabwe.
The objective of the handbook is to document the vast interesting and diverse brands that have stood the test of time in a single book. This initiative was adopted after noting that marketing students at local universities and colleges and academics do not have documented case studies in marketing on Zimbabwe.
This gap in academia has left local students relying on foreign texts and cases which they are not familiar with. It is also against this background that the association launched Marketing Success Stories, a book that profiles companies that have excelled and marketed their products well.
All the innovations are being undertaken with one thing in mind… to grow and uplift the marketing profession. In June this year, the association held the winter school and for the first time, two classes ran concurrently due to the popularity of the winter school.
The first group comprised the first class of marketing practitioner hopefuls while the second class comprised marketing practitioners in the continuous professional development class. Forty-two marketing practitioners were accredited this year at a breakfast meeting in Harare where Kenyan marketing and communications guru, Susan Omanga, was guest speaker.
The association’s membership figures have increased greatly this year at both corporate and individual levels. The association has introduced monthly marketers’ socials. These socials serve as a platform for sharing and exchanging ideas. The socials are popular with most marketers.
On training and career development, Maz continuously tries to come up with relevant short courses that will refresh, educate and reinvigorate marketers’ minds so they are inspired to come up with exciting marketing products. The association has partnered with the Institute of Marketing Management and this has added value to the short courses.
Ncube elected new Maz president
Ivy Kapora (IK), editor of Zim-Marketing magazine, interviewed First Mutual Life managing director, Ruth Ncube (RN) who was elected Maz president in Septeber.
Below are the excerpts:
IK:When were you born?
RN: 26 January 1965.
IK: Do you have a mentor in your life?
RN: Yes, my sister Kusile.
IK: What role has she played in your life?
RN: My sister is a strong woman who has taught me all I know about life. She is my mentor in both my personal and professional life. As my mentor she has helped me stay focused and encourages me to always endure and to do the right things even when I am ready to give up.
IK: Do you have people you mentor as well?
RN: Yes, I have taken the role of mentoring and developing younger people out of a desire to help others. The positive relationship and experience I have had with my mentor has also made me a good mentor.
Mentoring, for me, has played the essential role of supporting the learning process by encouraging on the job exploration while also monitoring continued responsibility for performance. This has fulfilled a stewardship role in terms of day to day direct authority and capacity building, while providing a broader and longer view that creates a path to the future for the people I have mentored. For them, this has cultivated career self-development by using the mentoring process as one of a set of tools in achieving high performance.
IK: What does your job entail?
RN: My role as the managing director of First Mutual Life is to design, develop and implement policy and strategic plans for the organisation in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. It is my responsibility to establish and develop the company’s culture and values as well ensure there is a close fit between strategy, culture as well as the company’s processes and structure while providing leadership and direction to the staff.
I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organisation and developing business plans in collaboration with the board for the future of the organisation. It also entails managing the whole company and directing the organisation to meet the overall aims and objectives through efficient and effective management of resources.
I am accountable for the overall performance of the company. This includes managing committees which I have put in place to manage and drive various aspects of the business such as quality assurance, marketing, business growth, budget control and cost management. Staff welfare, motivation and development are also key in my role as a leader in the organisation.
Part of my job is to manage, motivate, develop and lead members of the management team. It is my duty to promote effective decision-making by the board and communicating all material matters affecting First Mutual Life business to the board of directors.
As the managing director of First Mutual Life, I am accountable to stakeholders by ensuring high levels of service delivery and ensuring First Mutual Life is the best brand in the insurance industry.
IK: What is your work ethic?
RN: My work ethic and values are largely driven by hard work and diligence. I have always believed in the moral benefit of work and its ability to enhance character. A positive attitude towards all work projects and going the extra mile to get things done and provide fair value to shareholders and stakeholders is one of my driving principles. I believe in creating a work environment where great teamwork can flourish and I believe I have the capacity to encourage the best performance standards from my team. Above everything, I value reliability, integrity, accountability and initiative.
IK: Why are you so passionate about your career?
RN: Passion about my work is what drives me to be successful. It is important to me to be motivated and driven to be the best that I can be at my job.
As aptly said by Dr Martin Luther King Jr. “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
For me this typifies both passion and success. Our success comes not so much from what we do (our job), but how well we do it (our passion for our job) as well as our attitude. It also illustrates that regardless of our job or our position on the company ladder, we can be successful if we have passion for our work.
IK: What is the biggest work related challenge you have faced as a woman?
RN: The making of a successful woman executive in business isn’t a unique thing. What makes women executives, like myself, noticeable is that we’ve learned to master a career game that’s been dominated by men for decades. The challenges women face are harder than their male counterparts but they ultimately make them much stronger.
Like many other women, my greatest challenge has been misconceptions about my gender which I have had to overcome. Whether it be assumptions that a woman is more emotional, less strategic, less aggressive, or even less committed, I have faced such From A 28
criticisms. While attaining accurate feedback is necessary for anyone working in an organisation, it can be difficult for a woman to have the full support needed due to the stereotypes and role expectations we often face in organisations. I have, however, made choices to deal with it and used it to my advantage to be the leader that I am today.
As a woman, the challenge of trying to strike a balance between work and family is always profound. Culturally, when a man is dedicated to his job or politics, he is respected, but when a woman does the same thing and has children, she’s labelled a bad mother. There are social expectations and cultural demands which a woman will always have to deal with and make choices on.
IK: What is the biggest challenge you have faced as an MD and how have you overcome it?
RN: The greatest challenge I have faced as an MD is leading a business coming out of the economic melt-down affecting the economy in general and the insurance sector in particular. The organisation itself has been plagued by negative publicity regarding governance issues, which have since been resolved. One of my primary concerns has been to restore stakeholder confidence in First Mutual Life and defending the brand.
You will need to appreciate our business is strongly related to what is happening in the economy and the issues to do with liquidity and low disposable incomes really affect the uptake of our products. We are also concerned with the level of indebtedness of individuals with most people having multiple exposures with clothing retailers, durable goods retailers, money lenders and banks. Individuals now account for more than 15% of total loans from the banking sector, which translate to more than US$450 million in total individual loans. This roughly translates to US$40 per each person in Zimbabwe and that is not sustainable as average salary is around US$250. Very little is naturally left to cover the most important aspects of life, that is one’s health, family and death after repayments are made to these various creditors.
We are however encouraged by the prospects that our low cost products continue to display. We are happy that our brand has remained resolute, and as the most attractive brand in long-term insurance we are confident we will continue to have a share of the dollar available in clients’ pockets. Our brand, our people, our technology and our shareholders will help us in overcoming any kind of challenge and at the end of the day the winner will be the policyholders and shareholders of First Mutual Life.
IK: Have you won any accolades; if so please name them?
RN: Under my leadership at First Mutual Life, the business was accorded the Superbrand prize, Brand of the Year in the insurance category for two years running.
Through its commitment to innovative products and excellence in service delivery, First Mutual Life was ISO certified in January 2012, an achievement which took much commitment and hard work from the team. When I was seconded to First Mutual Life, I embarked on this project whose objective was to equip all FML team members with knowledge and skills for developing and implementing an effective Quality Management System in the organisation to the standard required by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe.
IK: What is your vision for MAZ as the current vice-president?
RN: My vision for Maz naturally mirrors the organisation’s vision and as the vice-president, I will work with all stakeholders to achieve its objectives. My role is to ensure Maz becomes the leading body of marketing professionals promoting professionalism to the highest standards for the benefit of the industry and the economy at large. I would like to see the marketing body promote the implementation of professional marketing ethics and norms in the businesses’ operational systems.
Maz’s values are hinged on passion and commitment, professionalism and accountability which I also believe are my personal values. This in itself will help me as a leader to spearhead and steer this ship to even greater heights.
IK: How would you describe the success you have achieved so far?
RN: I would say that my success has been made possible by the very strong team that I have at First Mutual Life. I am always humbled by the hard work displayed by every team member and the aggressiveness of the team getting new business as well as retaining our existing business. The support has been overwhelming and I credit my success to team FML, I could not have done it alone.
IK: What personal qualities got you where you are today?
RN: My ability to multitask and delegate remaining positive and adaptable, planning and organising skills, Good communicating skills and being a good listener, Diligence, reliability and integrity, taking full advantage of my in-grown leadership talent.
IK: Who is your source of strength?
RN: My Sister Kusile.
IK: Who is your role model?
RN: I have a huge admiration for Dr Primrose Kurasha. She is a woman who is dynamic, humane, and humble and has a wealth of life experience which I have often tapped into.
IK: What is your advice to women in business?
RN: In a world still largely dominated by men, to make it as a woman requires stamina, courage, and decisiveness. Confidence and flexibility is important especially if one is running a big organisation. A woman in a leadership position needs to be proficient and assertive and lead by example in order to gain the respect of her peers.
A woman has to work twice as much as a man just to be recognised and one needs to develop him/herself into a personal brand and gain as much exposure as possible. It is critical to have a career strategy and work towards achieving it.
Another challenge women executives face and must regularly overcome is their rarity. Given that women executives even in this age aren’t so common, co-workers, the media, and the public look for flaws with extra scrutiny and it is vital to be known as a woman of integrity.