Top Five Finalists For MAA Rising Star Of The Year Award Announced

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Top Five Finalists For MAA Rising Star Of The Year Award Announced

The Mondelēz Marketing Achievement Awards (MAA) Rising Star of the Year Award celebrates great marketers on the rise and future leaders who will serve as role models for other young marketers in years to come. These individuals think differently; they disrupt the status quo; challenge the way we think and redefine the business of marketing. The Rising Star of the Year finalists have been announced.

This award, sponsored by Mondelēz Africa, celebrates the best young marketer under the age of 35 who has demonstrated the potential to become an outstanding industry leader through impactful analytical and creative marketing efforts.

The finalists are Fanelwa Xhiphu, Brand Manager at The Prestige Cosmetics Group; Taryn Jankes, Social Media Specialist at Discovery; Neliswa Mncube, Head of Marketing at LexisNexis South Africa; Pertunia Mabotja, Marketing Manager: Customer Experience at Nando’s; and Jared Patel, Head of Marketing at Sea Harvest Group.

As a purpose-led business committed to building an organisation of marketers with diverse skills, incorporating both technical and visionary approaches, Mondelēz Africa was the natural sponsor for this award category.

Nadia Mohamed, Marketing Director, Mondelēz Africa, says the company views creativity and a strong ability to visualise the ‘brand dream’, supported by analysis of data to draw meaningful consumer insights, as critical skills to a marketer’s success. 

‘Our current landscape is in a constant evolution, further complicated by a highly competitive environment. The most successful marketers are those who are able to leverage a balanced skills set, which encourages transformation through thinking holistically about growth, enabling both the now and next while future-proofing their organisations.’

‘We believe so strongly in this approach that internally, we refer to marketing as ‘humaning’. This places equal emphasis on the importance of creativity as a lever for deeply connecting with our consumers, and on data analysis as a skill to be leveraged to better understand our consumers and anticipate their current and future needs,’ Mohamed explained.

Mondelēz International invests disproportionately in capability programmes that are designed to address business challenges, that are measured by impact on business growth, and that enrich a marketer’s journey in the company.

Mohamed says there are a number of areas within marketing that are critical for delivering sustainable long-term growth. ‘Purpose-led marketing is one such area. We need to elevate our brands beyond just products to become vehicles for change that positively contribute towards society and the environment while delivering against the bottom line,’ she explained. ‘Empathy at scale/digital innovation is another area, which highlights the importance of leveraging first party data as a tool to unlock our ability to connect more meaningfully with consumers while still achieving scale and driving commercial growth.’

Mohamed added that marketing remains an exciting, fast evolving career, and has the following advice for young marketers: ‘Remain curious and open to what is most relevant to marketing today but also to where future growth will come from so your skills may evolve accordingly. The best marketers are those who are commercially minded but complement this with cross-functional breadth. Be brave! It’s those who are brave enough to try to shift culture who eventually do.’

The 2022 Mondelēz MAA Rising Star of the year finalists demonstrated exactly this, simultaneously reflecting this year’s MAA theme, ‘Marketing that means business’, which speaks to the potential of strategic marketing as a critical tool for business success.

In no particular order, the finalists are:

Fanelwa Xhiphu, Brand Manager at The Prestige Cosmetics Group

An experienced brand manager with a celebrated history in the cosmetics industry, Xhiphu’s marketing experience encompasses multiple markets across Sub-Saharan Africa. A key career highlight has been managing global brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Dolce & Gabbana, Elie Saab, Elemis, OPI, and Philipp Plein and Chopard fragrances. 

Taryn Jankes, Social Media Specialist at Discovery

Driven by remaining at the forefront of purpose-led marketing in South Africa, Jankes has been part of Discovery for nearly 10 years. During this time, she has fulfilled the roles of Reputation Management Consultant, Social Media Consultant, and Social Media Specialist across the Discovery Group, and sits on the editorial advisory team for multiple Discovery executives. She has played a critically acclaimed role in several high-profile Discovery social media campaigns, including Adrian Gore achieving LinkedIn Influencer status and Discovery’s national vaccination campaign.

Neliswa Mncube, Head of Marketing at LexisNexis South Africa

With a 15-year track record developing innovative solutions that deliver bottom-line results, Mncube heads up Digital Marketing Strategy, Content Strategy and Marketing’s contribution to business growth and revenue at LexisNexis. She is responsible for driving the company’s digital marketing expansion and spearheading the firm’s ONE marketing strategy aimed at advancing business growth.

Pertunia Mabotja, Marketing Manager:  Customer Experience at Nando’s 

Her enthusiasm, eagerness and passion for marketing has seen Mabotja rise quickly through the ranks to become the Customer Experience Manager at Nando’s. She ensures the Nando’s vision is fulfilled by conceptualising and implementing creative strategies to successfully deliver new campaigns, touch points and new product developments in Nando’s restaurants, aligned with the marketing brand plan. 

Jared Patel, Head of Marketing at Sea Harvest Group

Over the past 12 years, Patel has grown from a graduate programme recruit to Head of Marketing, buoyed by his constant desire to achieve sales and marketing goals despite challenging market conditions. Through his efforts and that of the management team, the Sea Harvest Group has grown the business significantly, purchased strong businesses in the food sector and the company has listed on the JSE. He is responsible for all facets of marketing for Sea Harvest locally and internationally and its sister firms, Ladismith Cheese and the BM Foods Group which includes the Mediterranean Delicacies brand.

This year’s Rising Star entrants were judges Dr Doug Mattheus, Independent Marketing and Leadership Consultant at Doug M Consultancy; Professor Madéle Tait, Professor in the Department: Marketing Management at Nelson Mandela University; Gugu Mthembu, Chief Marketing Officer at Telkom; and Serisha Pillay, Senior Marketing Manager at Sage and the 2021 winner of the MAA Rising Star of the Year Award.

Speaking on behalf of the panel, Dr Mattheus said the judges were looking for a marketer with an edge. One was who was shaping the future of marketing, and pushing the discipline forward while demonstrating leadership, innovation, forward-thinking, and the ability to strategise for impact and growth.

‘The panel had its work cut out for it, sifting through all the remarkable submissions received to select just five talented finalists. While it was quite a task to whittle these down to the Rising Star of the Year Award winner, we are confident that we have found the right young marketing luminary who best fits this description,’ he said.

The Mondelēz MAA Rising Star of the Year Award winner will be announced at this year’s presentation of awards taking place on 13th July 2022. Modern Marketing is a proud partner of the MAA.

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