Linda Magapatona-Sangaret is a prestigious woman with a strong sense of embracing others, working together and finding solutions to life’s long metaphorical ways. She advocates being proudly South African by raising our flag high and practising diversity by not seeing colour but rather aiming for results in everything she does.
As Chief Marketing Officer of BRANDSA she handles a range of portfolios. She previously had a successful decade long tenure as South Africa Tourism’s Country Manager in France. She was responsible for positioning the country as a destination of choice for France. Success, hard work and dedication sums up this incredible woman. She shared her own insights on education and the importance of marketing, diversity, the economy, communication and most importantly where her happy place is, after a long day of being ‘superwoman’.
With more than 12 years’ experience in managing multi-skilled and culturally diverse teams, she has developed core strategies to communication Linda believes that recognizing cultural diversity brings enrichment to the work that you are doing. The more different the cultures, opinions, and ideas you have the more successful you will be in delivering your objectives and reaching your goals.
Her success includes serving the country as a diplomat in Paris between 2000 and 2005 when she held the position of Global Communication and Marketing Manager at the Societe General Bank in France. She was responsible for the Bank’s communication and marketing strategy in Asia and America. She explains that her most important lesson learned during this time is about being passionate in getting the message out there. She enjoys seeing that people are hearing, grasping and understanding the communication and loves getting their reaction to it. She further explains that this wasn’t a personal journey for her as she had a lot of mentors such as Barbara Masikela who was the ambassador to France at the time she worked in the embassy. Mentors helped her advance and learn in the area of marketing and communication, particularly in representing and positioning her country.
Magapatona is a firm believer in education but cognisant that not everybody has the opportunity to get an good education. Having an MBA, she specialises in marketing strategy. She also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations from the School of Higher Political and International studies. She says,
‘A lot of studying was required and I had the opportunity to do that. I feel very blessed because it’s not easy nowadays to get funding to go to school. I believe that people can become anything they want to. Education helps but experience is equally important to becoming what you want to be.’
Being the Chief Marketing Officer of BRANDSA is not child’s play. Staying on track with the constant change in this field of expertise requires skills such as reading, listening. Participating in and attending conferences is an important way of staying on track. Even though it’s a challenging position, Magapatona has General Managers who are extremely skilled and competent, helping with daily duties and she believes that ‘it’s never a one man job but it’s a team’.
During her keynote address at the PRISA 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE, Linda mentioned that insight and knowledge about the economy is essential. Public relations professionals and ordinary South Africans also benefit when the economy is doing well. If companies have bigger PR budgets, they are able to communicate more, and to expand their activities. Conversely when the economy drops PR departments are unfortunately the first departments to have budgets slashed. The value of public relations in South Africa is not fully recognized - 'it’s not about the role of public relations and just benefiting from the economy but also about public relations contributing to the economy directly and indirectly, by being positive about the destination, by putting to the forefront information that will lead people to aspire to come to South Africa or to be proudly South African’, says Linda.
Linda sated that judging from how South Africans view their own country, positioning South Africa is not an easy initiative. Various steps need to be taken toward initiating or pushing everyone to position South Africa favourably. It is important to go as far as taking the time to talk to people and to listen to people’s complaints. This grants an opportunity to start a whole different conversation around positivity. What are the things that make this country great, the things that other people admire us for and the reason that we should believe in ourselves in order to be a success? As a collective nation we should believe in ourselves, then we can be successful and become the admired nation that we strive for.
Linda Magapatona-Sangaret is a woman of many talents – hardworking and ethical, she strives for teamwork. She is a woman with no limits and boundaries when it comes to reaching her goals. Much like myself, I would call her SUPERWOMAN! Regardless of those hectic business meetings, never ending traveling trips, sponsors that are pulling out and all the mayhem BRANDSA encounters, her children are the only people who actually manage to calm her down, bring her back to earth and remind her why she does what she does best. They describe her as energetic, driven and humble. It is no surprise that Linda Magapatona-Sangaret deserves her astonishing success.