“Never Underestimate the Power of Mentorship and Networking”

Lerato Chiyangwa, the Founder and CEO of Marleta Communications, speaks about her entrepreneurial journey

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?
Absolutely! At Marleta Communications, we specialise in crafting compelling narratives and strategic communication solutions tailored for the dynamic landscapes of Africa and the Middle East. As the founder of our agency, my role encompasses a myriad of responsibilities, blending creativity, strategy, and leadership.

A typical day for me begins with a holistic review of ongoing projects and upcoming deadlines. I thrive on the energy of brainstorming sessions, where my team and I delve into innovative concepts to address our clients’ diverse needs. Whether it is refining messaging for a multinational corporation or launching a campaign for a burgeoning startup, each day presents unique challenges and opportunities.

From consulting with clients to nurturing relationships with media partners and overseeing the execution of our communication strategies, my day is a symphony of collaboration and creativity. Amidst the hustle, I always carve out time for mentorship and professional development, fostering a culture of growth within our team.

Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?
Interestingly, my journey into the communications industry was more of a serendipitous discovery than a predetermined path. While pursuing my BA in international tourism management and marketing, I found myself drawn to the power of storytelling and its ability to catalyse change on both a local and global scale.

Upon graduating, I embarked on a diverse career journey that traversed sectors ranging from technology to sports. Along the way, I realised that my true passion lay in harnessing the art of communication to amplify voices and drive meaningful impact, particularly within the African and Middle Eastern contexts.

This realisation, coupled with my unwavering enterprising spirit, led me to establish Marleta Communications – a platform where I could merge my expertise with my passion for driving positive change through strategic communication.

What first got you interested in the industry you work in? What obstacles did you have to overcome?
The allure of the communications industry initially captivated me through its ability to shape narratives and influence perceptions. Growing up in a digitally connected world, I witnessed firsthand the transformative power of effective communication in shaping societies, fostering dialogue, and driving progress.

However, like any journey, mine was not without its obstacles. One significant challenge I encountered was navigating the complexities of building a communications ecosystem network in regions characterized by diverse cultures, languages, and socio-political landscapes.

From establishing trust with clients to navigating regulatory frameworks, each obstacle presented an opportunity for growth and innovation. Through perseverance, adaptability, and a commitment to excellence, I was able to overcome these challenges and carve out a niche in the industry.

What advice would you give to a woman considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?
To any woman considering a career in the communications industry, I would impart the following advice: Embrace your unique voice and perspective. In a field often dominated by traditional narratives, diversity of thought is not only valuable but essential for driving innovation and fostering inclusive dialogue.

Furthermore, never underestimate the power of mentorship and networking. Seek out opportunities to connect with industry leaders, cultivate meaningful relationships, and do not be afraid to advocate for yourself and your ideas. As for what I wish I had known earlier in my career, it would be the importance of finding a balance between ambition and self-care. In a fast-paced industry like communications, it is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of deadlines and demands. Remember to prioritize your well-being, set boundaries, and celebrate your achievements along the way.

What do you do to unwind after work?
After a fulfilling day of strategizing and storytelling, I prioritise self-care and rejuvenation to recharge for the days ahead. Whether it is indulging in a leisurely stroll through nature, immersing myself in a captivating book, or unwinding with a rejuvenating yoga session, I cherish the moments of tranquillity that allow me to reconnect with myself outside the realm of work.

Additionally, I find solace in creative pursuits such as painting or exploring culinary delights in the vibrant cultural tapestry of my surroundings. Ultimately, finding the balance between work and leisure is key to nurturing a sustainable and fulfilling career journey.

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