COMMUNICATION EXPERT WITH 10+ YEARS OF SUCCESS WITH HIGH-PROFILE INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS & A LEADING GLOBAL AGENCY

RESULTS INCLUDE:

MEETING CHALLENGING TARGETS:  Engaging 36,000 employees to acquire 10m customers for Barclays Africa (then, Absa Bank) at the beginning of the global economic downturn and during Group-wide downsizing. Target achieved in 2009.

TALENT RETENTION: Increasing talent retention by 45% when I led HR Communications during Barclay’s acquisition of Absa and the move of the former’s African operations from Dubai to Johannesburg (culture change). • Increasing Productivity: Transitioning Africa’s largest power utility (Eskom) from operating with a parastatal approach (low productivity) to embracing a Quality Management system across its African, South American, European & Asian footprint. ISO 9001:2008 Certification achieved in 2012.

SUPPORTING EXPANSION & CHANGE: Successfully supportingthe expansion of Africa’s largest mobile phone provider (MTN Group) into Africa, the Middle East, Cyprus and India where I managed in-country communication resources.

SUPPORTING EXPANSION & CHANGE: Gaining the buy-in of employees for the expansion of Italy’s largest mobile phone provider (Telecom Italia) across Africa and the Middle East.

MOBILISING EXECUTIVES & EMPLOYEES: Gaining widespread Executive and employee buy-in for CSR initiatives such as 67 Minutes for Nelson Mandela Day, Early Childhood Development Awards & Make A Difference Day (Barclays Africa).

WINNING AWARDS: Volunteering to manage other communication roles that weren’t covered due to budget & staff cuts, including Sustainability, CSR, Corporate Affairs & Innovation (Barclays Africa). Securing the Most Innovative Bank in Africa award by identifying the competition as an opportunity to position the bank and leading the submission process.

HIGH-SCALE PROJECT MANAGEMENT: Leading the task team for the hosting of the Ninth United Nations Conference on Trade & Development & related exhibition: 5,000 international delegates.

CAREER OBJECTIVE

To head-up Internal / HR Communications and Employee Engagement for an organisation in the banking/financial, telecoms, utilities, higher education, travel, sustainability or non-profit sector.

It needn't be a leading' organisation, it's my job to get them there, if I operate in a receptive environment where communication plays a key role - as it should.

While the non-profit sector has not been part of my professional experience as such, I headed up CSR communications for the Barclays Africa Group and I would welcome the challenge  and opportunity of working within this sector. Often, past experience pales in the face of passion, enthusiasm and the ability to learn and apply very rapidly. Since non-profits also rely on corporates for funding, my global network and experience within corporates would be valuable resources. 

This is what one of my previous bosses had to say when I asked her to define my most valuable trait - to her:

"[The] quick grasp of complex material." (Dr. Julie MacLiam, Group Communication Manager, Life Healthcare).  

I'm an EU citizen, currently based in Italy. I am willing to relocate and travel for the right opportunity. 

Work History

Work History
2014 - Present

Head of Internal Communication

St. John International University

I’m currently developing and executing internal communication strategies for this American and international university to engage the Board, managers, employees, faculty members and students in positioning the University as a leading global higher education institution.

I work closely with the Chair of the Board, CFO and the President & CEO.

Achievements include securing dual-degree agreements with other leading universities and fostering collaborative ties with the EMUNI University and the Union for the Mediterranean

Mar 2013 - Mar 2013

Chief Internal Communications Advisor

Eskom

I was contracted for a fixed-term period to lead the Quality Management internal communication team with the objective of engaging 39,000 employees and transition this parastatal power utility to operating as a competitive global organization.

I joined Eskom at a difficult time when operations were working in silos with an “us (operations) and them (head office)” mentality. Other major challenges were limited communication channels, varying literacy levels and a 471,000 square miles footprint.

My team and I successfully supported the attainment of ISO 9001:2008 certification (step 1 in becoming “one of the Top Five utilities in the world”) by the target date.

I lead a team of 7 senior resources and was responsible for budget, agency and supplier management.

Apr 2008 - Nov 2011

Senior Communications Manager

Barclays Africa (previously Absa)

I joined the bank at the beginning of the global economic downturn in 2008 when I led the company downsizing communication team. My psychology & business coaching backgrounds served me well in managing “survivor syndrome” (anxiety, depression & loss of productivity) effectively.

I increased talent retention by 45 percent. I crafted and implemented employee communication strategies to gain buy-in for the bank’s goal to acquire 10m customers – target achieved in 2009 in spite of the global economic crisis. I led the HR communication team from 2010 to 2011 during another major culture shift – Barclay’s acquisition of Absa and the relocation of the former’s operation from Dubai to Johannesburg.

I volunteered to manage other portfolios such as Sustainability, CSR, Corporate Affairs & Innovation that weren’t covered due to staff & budget cuts. I worked closely with the CEO, CFO, COO & Head of HR. I lead a team of 8-12 senior & mid-senior resources and was responsible for agency, supplier & budget management.

Jan 2007 - Dec 2008

Internal Communications Specialist

MTN Group

I was headhunted to lead the internal communication team during MTN’s expansion into Africa, Cyprus, the Middle East and India.

I gained employee commitment across Africa’s largest mobile phone provider’s footprint also by factoring-in various cultural, social, educational & religious differences. I influenced the expansion strategy at Board and Exco levels by providing communication advice and highlighting reputational and other risks. I drastically reduced loss of productivity and general insecurity in the system by(i) recommending that an inclusive (rather than take-over) approach be taken with our internal & external stakeholders (overseas operations) and(ii) informing on the "when, how & why" of the expansion and related organisational changes.

MTN is quoted as one of the most successful expansion strategies globally for adopting this approach.

I worked closely with the CEO and profiled him and his executive team in leading industry-related publications such as the Financial Mail. I lead a team of 15 senior resources and was responsible for budget and agency management.

Jan 2005 - Dec 2007

Account Director

Baird's / Edelman

I joined Baird’s CMC to also gain exposure to the agency's affiliate partner - Edelman - the leading independent global PR firm. I managed the Barclays, Anglo Platinum, BHP Billiton and MTN Group client portfolios where I led integrated communication, media & PR campaigns.

Achievements include drafting and implementing the global FIFA World Cup 2010 sponsorship strategy for MTN Group, launching the South African leg of the global Brandstorm competition for L'Oréal and minimising negative media coverage for Anglo Platinum and BHP Billiton during prolonged, country-wide mass action and strikes.

I achieved the latter by providing CEO and spokesperson communication counsel and drastically improving leadership visibility in the organisation.

This experience allowed me to identify one of the key factors that determine a company's success, or otherwise - a committed and fully engaged workforce - hence my move to specialise in internal & employee engagement communications. This then prompted me to become an accredited business coach.

In this role I led 4 mid-senior resources and was responsible for supplier and budget management.

Jan 2001 - Nov 2004

Communications Specialist

Independent

An urgent family matter called me back to Europe in 2001. I secured fixed-termcontracts with a leading global sustainable waste management company, Gruppo Gesenu, and the Italian Trade Agency - both in Rome. I led integrated communication, media, event and PR campaigns for both companies.

Achievements include raising Gruppo Gesenu's national media profile by 75 percent and bolstering visibility and international trade links for the Italian Trade Commission by 37 percent.

Jan 1999 - Dec 2000

Communications Director

Events Dynamic Corporation

I was one of the founding partners of this company. I ceded my company shares due to pressing family matters that forced me to travel less. In this role I secured major clients such as RAI International Television, the Southern Equatorial Ferrari Club, Airports Company South Africa, Aeroporti di Roma and luxury brands such as Alberta Ferretti couture.

I created and implemented integrated communication, media, PR & event campaigns that brought US$ 4.7m in revenue to the company over 2 years.

Achievements include the successful live launch of the RAI television network in Sub-Saharan Africa before a 2,000-strong audience and the launch of the Airports Company South Africa’s retail promotion where I exceeded the client’s airport retail target by US$ 2.5m with only 20 working days to implement the campaign across 5 major national airports.

I led 8 senior resources in this role and managed contractors, suppliers agencies and a US$ 2.5m budget.

Jan 1997 - Dec 1998

Internal Communications Director

Telecom Italia

I was headhunted for this role where I led the internal and external communication teams. I joined this company at a challenging time when it was expanding across Africa & the Middle East.

I provided high-level communication counsel to the Country Director and influenced the expansion strategy by sourcing key data such as regulatory information, social, cultural & religious differences across the company’s envisaged footprint.

As with other roles, I was responsible for all communication and media content – both online and print.

I led a team of 3 mid-senior resources and was tasked with agency, supplier and budget management. 

Jan 1995 - Dec 1996

Assistant International Marketing Director

Gallagher Convention Centre

I was offered a communication role in the Office of the late President Nelson Mandela, which role was frozen due to budget cuts after the first democratic election. I sought a communication role that would allow me to use my diplomatic protocol training, international networking & project management skills.

I led the task team for the hosting of the Ninth United Nations Conference on Trade & Development (UNCTAD IX); 5,000 delegates.

I managed a US$ 4m budget as well as suppliers, contractors and agencies. Prior to this role, I participated in the human rights movement in South Africa and was seconded to the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) to serve during the country’s transition to a fully-fledged democracy.

The Gallagher Convention Centre is the seat of the Pan-African Congress. 

Interest

personal development – philanthropy – sustainability – photography – fiction & screenplay writing – hiking – cycling

Education

Education
Jan 1994 - Jan 1995

English Major

University of Pretoria
Jan 1994 - Jan 1995

English Major

University of Pretoria
Jan 1991 - Mar 1994

B.A.

University of Pretoria

Psychology/Sociology majors

Skills

Skills

Apple Mac, MS Office, iWeb, AdobePagemaker, OpenOffice

Social media

Media relations

Project management

Intranet content development

Research & international benchmarkig

Measurement & analysis

Presentations, public speaking & spokesperson

Executive & team communication coaching

Content writer & editor

Reputation management

Crisis communications

International experience

Supplier & budget management

Agency briefing & management

Event planning & management

Best company to work for surveys

Employee surveys

Employee rewards programs

HR communication strategies & execution

Change management

Complex stakeholder matrixes

Communication strategies & execution

Employee engagement

Internal communications