Woman on top of the ad world in Zim

The Daily News on Sunday interviews a woman at the
top in the male-dominated world of advertising in Zimbabwe. Her name is Juliet Makaza better known as Jules.  She is the founder and managing director of Urban Afrika Media - which is one of the top 3 accredited advertising agencies in Zimbabwe and the fastest growing.

Out of the top 10 accredited advertising agencies in Zimbabwe, Urban Afrika Media is the only accredited ad agency founded and managed by a woman. 

Find below excerpts of the interview.
Q: How difficult is it for a woman to start and run their own
advertising agency?

A: Starting an ad agency is not difficult at all. However, running it
profitably is the greatest challenge. Not that women have no skills to
manage a successful ad agency.  Our male counterparts who dominate this industry globally have created deliberate structures and systems that disempower, oppresses and frustrates any woman attempting to challenge male-domination in the advertising space.  This is why we only have 0.1 percent of ad agencies worldwide owned by women.

Q: How are males in this industry?
A: Males in this industry are ruthless and will abuse structures and
systems to pull you down. But women are resilient and determined. They have been pushing for a voice in this industry as far back in time as 1880 when Mathilde C Weil started the MC Weil Agency.  90 years later in 1970, the famous Barbra Proctor founded Proctor & Gardner becoming the first black woman in the world to own and operate an accredited advertising agency. Sadly, in October 2018, Barbra passed on.  Her legacy lives on and to us she is what Philip Kothler is, to marketers.

Q.  So what is the ad agency situation right now?
A: In Africa it’s really bad.  I will give a personal example. If
Urban Africa is owing just as little as $20k to some media house, 90
percent of the males in the industry make it their full-time job to
push for blacklisting even if there will be other ad agencies owing 10
times more than Urban Africa.  We live with this all the time.
Ironically, this now works to our advantage in the sense that as they
focus on strategies to destroy Urban Afrika, Urban Afrika is focusing
on strategies to make customers happy, effective pitching and winning new contracts.  As a result, some agencies when they hear that they are pitching against Urban Afrika, they withdraw.  It’s so sad.

Q: Are there other successful women in the ad business in Zimbabwe?
A: Other women in the advertising industry in Zimbabwe include Thembe Khumalo of Brandbuilder and Sharon Mugabe of Imago Y & R.  Outside of these, there is no record of female-owned accredited ad agencies in the top 10 that I am aware of.  However, in Zimbabwe we are fortunate in that there is so much support from the wider female business community and other progressive, highly professional, mentally stable and very secure male counterparts outside of the advertising industry.

Q: Africa-wide, how is the situation?
A: Africa in general, the situation is gloomy.  There are no records
of female-owned ad agencies in Nigeria.  Zambia has Media 365 which is female owned whilst South Africa leads the pack with more than seven female owned ad agencies.  The ones that easily come to mind are Monalisa Zwambila owner of Riverbed, Masego Motsogi of 99c Johannesburg and Mira Kaddoura owner of Red & Co.

Q. How do you balance all of this with family life?
A: In my opinion, it’s really not about balancing out. Rather it’s
about a clear understanding and knowledge of what time it is.  Is it
work time, is it husband time, is it baby time and is it kids time?
Whatever time it is, you give 100 percent of yourself and no balancing out. Every facet requires 100 percent of your time.  Yes, some describe this as a balancing act but I would like to view it as
effective time management.  I make time to relax with my family, we
like travelling particularly road trips, we like fishing and just
enjoying our lives.

Q: Tell us about your family?
A: Dad is a fishing enthusiast, I enjoy cooking and trying out
different recipes, our eldest boy is a golfer playing off scratch,
eldest daughter is an athlete, younger daughter likes ballet and our
2-year-old loves his toys.  We all support Real Madrid, Caps United
and the Warriors.  We also like spending some weekends at our rural
area in Madziwa where we are involved in farming.

Q: Do you go to church?
A: We are God-fearing people and are members of Life and Liberty
Ministries worshiping under Rev. Noah Pashapa better known as Uncle Pash.  We believe in giving.  Our social responsibility efforts are channeled mainly through a Christian based organization called Youth in Touch.  In a nutshell that’s my homeground which is my final line of defense to wade off all the hate, the jealous, the wickedness and malice presented daily by some of the insecure, unprofessional and shameless male colleagues in the Zimbabwean advertising landscape. The homeground is my refueling zone girded by the wonder working power of the Holy Spirit.

Q. What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start their own ad agencies?
A: First and foremost, I would like to declare that it’s very possible
and lucrative. It’s a lot of hard work and sometimes working around
the clock to prepare a pitch or put together a campaign. You have to
have a passion for building and growing brands through innovative
strategies. You have to enjoy doing this day in and day out. However,
author Ayi Dan writing on the Forbes website on the 1st of June 2016
asks a pertinent question as a title of his article: Why Aren’t Women
Starting Their Own Advertising Agencies?

 

 

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