What has your job taught you?

I’ve worked more years at QGI than I’ve worked at all other previous employers combined. I can actually count my work experience at all these companies to be less than two years, but what I’ve learned from them is probably the reason why QGI is continuing to grow, and it’s definitely the reason why I’m able to do my job effectively today.  

The first company I worked for was The Creative Counsel, I probably worked for them for 4 months if I’m not mistaken. When I first joined this company as a promoter, doing in-store promotions for Doom, Lucozade, and Maggie 2 minute Noodles, I had zero work experience, and to my knowledge I was not much of a communicator. I was talkative, but I had not learned to channel my thoughts and words properly.  

What I learned from TCC was the ability communicate all features of a product on the spot. Since we visited different stores, I was exposed to different types of people from different types of backgrounds, races and cultures. I had to learn overcome the fear of rejection, and approach and convince anyone from every race to buy my product instead of the competing product.

 Since I was a marketing major, I had the opportunity to see what extent product managers would go to make their brands a success. This ability to now sell, speak to strangers, and build friendships on the spot armed me with the ability to make friends easily – to be a people person. This has been of great help to me: it makes it less difficult to approach investors, potential partners and employees to join the business.  

Student Village is the 2nd company I worked for, and the only “full time” employment I’ve ever had, apart from QGI. I worked at SV for 14 months. I had just graduated, and I wanted a job that could accommodate my hunger for growth and development – and Student Village was that place. Again, I started off doing promotions, this time on campuses, for Nedbank. My 4 months at TCC had prepared me for this so there was nothing new for me here, but I learned to how do great work that please bank managers.

 After a month of doing promotions, I was given an opportunity to work at head office. My job was not fancy, in fact my colleagues would sometimes laugh at the fact that all I did was talk on the phone the whole day demanding feedback from Tata Brand Ambassadors, and Cashbuild Store Managers. The first few days were very uncomfortable for me, I hated talking on the phone, let alone the fact that I was brought in into an ailing campaign where Promoters and Brand Ambassadors never gave the feedback that they were required to.  

Getting the feedback I did. I made calls consistently, daily, from 8 am to 5 pm, and eventually I got the required feedback and in nutshell saved the day as the campaign manager and the account manager were now able to communicate better with Tata (client) and give feedback based on data collected from promoters – promoters I called. This taught me to get things done whether I feel like it or not, I learned to be tenacious, and I became comfortable cold calling people.

 After a month of doing this, I was given a permanent position as an Activations Manager, now I managed my own brand activations (promotions), and here I learned critical project management skills which had a lot to do with communication. Teams were spread across campuses around the country, and there were places I had never been to, where I would have successful activation’s without being there, simply because of the communication between me and the campus manager on the ground working with the team.

 I later developed a training program for promoters, the program was taken from the then current program that the company had for managers, I added information necessary for promoters and I along with team members would train these promoters across the country. Now I was strengthening my public speaking skills. Doing these training’s changed the way I spoke, I just had to improve because there were plenty young people who looked up to me.  

From there I became an accounts manager, I was actually still in training before I left the company, but I had enveloped myself with so much information concerning the industry and concerning Student Village that most people I spoke to about it thought that I was a shareholder in the business. I had so much passion for what I did, and I’ve realized that I had passion because I was given the platform to learn, make mistakes, and grow.  

One day I’ll tell of instances I’ve been given opportunities to engage with CEOs of companies and how that has impacted me. I left Student Village after working there for 14 months, and I took all those lessons with me into Quality Growth International.

 What has your job taught you?  

I wish you success.

 Yours Sincerely,

Witness Mdaka,

CEO, Quality Growth International  

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