Recent appointments announced by Hellocomputer have again put the spotlight on the FCB Africa group agencies’ commitment to transformation and empowerment. Hellocomputer Joburg Managing Director, Joey Khuvutlu, announced that four senior management positions have been filled by talented women, two from within the digital agency.
Bongi Mvuyana joins Hellocomputer Joburg as Head of Strategy from Havas Media where she was Digital Media Director and worked on a broad range of brands including Emirates, Hyundai SA, MiWay Life & Phillips. Shika Sukdeo, who honed her logistics and managerial administrative skills at Young & Rubicam, Brand Activation, Underline Advertising & Promotions, McCann South Africa and Aqua Online before joining Hellocomputer, has been promoted to Head of Operation.
Ashleigh Burton, who joined Hellocomputer in 2015, moves up the ladder to Head of Social with experience at the Bonfire Theatre Company, the Society/King James Group, Saatchi & Saatchi Synergise and at English Made Easy in Cape Town. Lesego Masite has been named as Group Chief Financial Officer with responsibility for both Hellocomputer Joburg and Hellocomputer Cape Town. She gained insights into several industries including pharmaceutical logistics, retail manufacturing, telecommunications and mining, mostly through her years at Ernst & Young
Just one month earlier in October, another woman, Nthabiseng Lethoko, strengthened the Hellocomputer Cape Town team when she was named Associate Creative Director and tasked with working alongside its Creative Director, Camilla Clerke, and Managing Director, Robyn Campbell.
Political and social commentators often criticise South Africa’s marketing communications industry for not implementing changes that result in significant and genuine transformation and empowerment.
In addition, particularly in the digital sector of the industry, gender parity is often overlooked. There is an alarmingly small number of female managing directors, and even fewer executive creative directors or creative directors, running digital agencies and, this year, only 23% of the Bookmark judges were women.
FCB Africa and its agencies, which include the two Hellocomputer offices in the country, are working hard to prove the critics wrong, and have been doing so since before before B-BBEE was legislated. Today, the group has a BEE rating of Level 1 but it’s not just about the numbers. “It’s about using all of our available resources, knowledge and creativity to help redress the injustices of the past and create an inclusive economy that is sustainable for all South Africans,” said FCB Africa Group CEO, Brett Morris.
“That is easy enough to say but to achieve it requires an unwavering commitment from all levels of the business, both philosophically and financially. This has been the case at FCB for decades. We are currently the only large black-owned network agency not reliant on modified flow through. But, we believe we can always do more.”
“At Hellocomputer,” Khuvutlu added, “We believe that, as an agency in a fast-changing environment, there is always more to learn, more potential to unlock for our staff and our clients, and more that we can do to transform the industry. “That is why I am so proud that our three most recent appointments have been women, and especially proud of the fact that we promoted two from within our ranks. All three ladies are passionate about the industry and committed to ‘being the proverbial change. I look forward to the contribution they will make to our business and that of our clients.”
Khuvutlu admitted that the digital sector of the industry is facing a large challenge when it comes to transforming its technical and/or programming teams. “With the advancement and integration of technology into every aspect of life, programming has become a critical skill across all industries and sectors of the economy. And there is a severe shortage of programmers.
“At Hellocomputer, while we work towards transformation across all our departments and at all levels of management and leadership, we believe that transformation efforts in the programming space does more than meet the requirement of transformation in advertising and digital; it is a gateway for the previously disadvantage to take part in the job economy of the future. “With this in mind, Hellocomputer has partnered Umuzi to establish a ‘Creative Programmer’ Learnership Programme.”
“Together with Hellocomputer’s Executive Head of Technology, I worked with the organisation to define the syllabus to prepare programmers for the creative industry, and the agency has committed considerable budget to kickstart the Creative Programmer Learnerships as well as provide continuous support through initiatives such as mentorships,” he concluded.