COVER spoke to Tracy Hirst, Chief Marketing Officer, PSG Konsult about inspirational people and experiences in her life.
Is there a particular woman or person who inspired you either while growing up or in your professional life?
I have been very fortunate to spend time with quite dynamic females through my schooling, university and career. What stands out, especially, is the role played by line managers during my career. Gaining experience through them has been extremely valuable. I have also been fortunate to work in small marketing teams. This allowed close interaction with my managers, allowing me to get good insights into principles of working and execution. I am still in touch with many of these people. I have found that learning from and maximising line managers as you grow experience, is crucial.
What was it that you found/find inspirational?
I have found that there are very few people out there that really love what they do. I however have been lucky enough to work with many people who are passionate about what they do. Ultimately I get to ‘package’ the work and merits of intellectual and talented people including advisers, investment managers, etc. Marketing has evolved so much over the years. Digital marketing, for example, is highly trackable so monitoring and managing results is so much more tangible and less anecdotal, allowing you to continuously improve campaigns as you go.
COVID-19 has also moved us to change how we respond and adapt. My challenge recently was to get thought leadership in front of our audiences when we have relied so much on events and face-to-face interactions in the past? Our Think Big webinar series for instance, has been such an inspirational project to work on. In an environment of so much fake news and mistrust, quality communications and online interactions have been crucial.
How do you think all of this shaped who you are today?
My career is very much who I am. To a large degree it determines how I structure my time. I am motivated by achieving and seeing results. It gives me a sense of purpose and a desire to achieve further. I am also passionate about financial literacy, clients understanding financial products they have bought and plain language documentation.
With South Africa facing such immense challenges amongst especially our female youth, how do you think we can bring mentoring and coaching closer to them?
While I believe there is no substitute for hard work, knowledge is power. From a mentee perspective the mentoring and coaching process does not have to be a formalised process. Each individual has to put their head down, work hard, do their best and look for inspirational people to stimulate your own growth. It does not have to just be people in leadership positions or positions of stature. Opportunities are all around us. Take advantage of what is around you within your community for inspiration and knowledge. Separate yourself from the pool to find your own uniqueness.
In the professional environment, where do you see the shortcomings with mentoring/coaching and what recommendations do you have to really benefit from this?
I support informal coaching and mentoring within the workplace. You can, for example allow junior members of the team to be part of meetings or events and decisions. However, it goes both ways. Juniors should be taking advantage of the many opportunities around them to learn and gain experience. Read, offer your time and put your hand up to be included in projects to increase your experience and ability to exercise judgement. There is so much to gain in the various informal interactions within companies.
Think insurance. Now think again.
Western National Insurance Company Ltd, affiliates of the PSG Konsult Group, are authorised financial services providers. (FAIS: Juristic Reps under FSP 9465)