Career Conversations With Magdaleen Scott, CEO, KVD Communications

Can you tell us about your journey in the field of communications? How did you get started, and what motivated you to pursue this career for over two decades?

I fell in love with ‘communicating’ from a young age… I was always the child who got the ‘chatterbox’ sign. I think what made the journey interesting was knowing that I didn’t just have ‘vocal cords’, I had a voice. I started understanding that correct communication could change lives, if you tell a story correctly, with the appropriate channels, at the right time: you can impact perception and ultimately, what decisions people make. Finding truth kept me searching for information on how perception can be influenced, and the importance of crafting a narrative that can drive behavioral change. I’ve stayed motivated because I’ve seen the impact that communications can make, on a person, on a business, and within an industry. The way people perceive brands impacts the organisations’ bottom line, so I take my job very seriously and staying motivated is part of that flow. We are living in a world that is ever evolving, and every day is an opportunity to learn something new.  

Throughout your career, what are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned that have contributed to your success?

One of the most significant lessons I’ve learned is the importance of resilience. I must admit that resilience often stems from experiencing numerous failures, yet it compels us to keep persevering and moving forward. 

Another lesson I’ve gained is the understanding that everyone is at different stages in their journey. Sometimes, my role is simply to create an environment that allows others to grow and leave better than when they arrived. On other occasions, individuals may require someone to inspire their potential because they are ready to undergo personal growth.

Lastly, I’ve come to realise that delivering exceptional results is dependent on approaching each task with the mindset that it is our most vital piece of work. By crafting our work with excellence and dedication, we can consistently achieve outstanding outcomes.

As a successful career woman, what strategies have you employed to overcome challenges and setbacks along the way?

The business landscape can be unforgiving. Even with impeccable strategies in place, external factors such as economic conditions can swiftly alter circumstances. The fundamental truth is to always expect the unexpected. It is crucial to have adaptable strategies as you progress and maintain a perpetual commitment towards business growth.

Balancing career and personal life is often a concern for many professionals. How have you managed to maintain a satisfying work-life balance while pursuing your ambitions?

I live completely integrated. I don’t believe we can work with a very clear line in the sand anymore, we need to strive to find a balanced approach. I have clear achievements between work and life, that I implement and a way to center and balance all the spheres that make up my humanity.  

With your extensive experience, how have you witnessed the evolution of the communications landscape in South Africa? What are some significant changes you’ve observed, and how have they influenced your strategies?

The evolution in communications in our sector has changed drastically and we’re in a fortunate position where we were able to witness analog to digital. Then we’ve seen the rise and fall of all media platforms, and their unique evolutions coupled with the changing business strategies and audiences, and you have yourself a unique strategy for each business. Some businesses need more strategic conceptual work and others need a full digital marketing implementation with probable insights. The glue to our work is that we can approach all the various spheres and integrate them correctly to make business return on investment invaluable.  

Your ability to provide employment for over 12 families is truly commendable. Could you share a bit about the initiatives or projects that led to this impact?

It’s important to remember that I didn’t start KVD Communications with a workforce behind me. I started off small and I  believed in myself and the impact I could make on the industry. I started off winning one client and then two, and then before I knew it, I needed support, and from there we’ve bee scaling. KVD Communications is a dream that’s been four years in the making, this didn’t happen overnight.

It’s always been my dream to offer women a safe space, where they could balance being career women and mothers. I didn’t feel I had the correct support structures in corporate South Africa when I became a mom, and so I wanted to ensure that I could impact as many women as possible, not to feel the way I did then.  

We promote our values internally and we truly live our brand. We have an internal support system and team for nurturing talent within our organisation, and our fully hybrid environment allows for flexibility and growth on both a business and personal platform. Our impact is to afford employees an environment where they can express themselves, take up more responsibility in an area where they’d like to grow and still have time to be a wife and mother, or to fill their cup with what ignites their passions. 

Communication is vital in any organization. How do you approach crafting communication strategies that resonate with diverse audiences, especially in a country as culturally rich and diverse as South Africa?

We have an exceptional team, and every member understands that we can only craft strategies based on data insights. The numbers never lie and in an unstable business environment the only area that we can grow clients’ clout is with the certainty of data analytics. Without data driven decisions, clients cannot find a unique selling proposition. What gives us the edge is being able to relate information and communication that helps clients to integrate the various cultures and diversity as a way of storytelling by using different channels.   

Mentorship often plays a crucial role in the growth of professionals. Have you had any mentors throughout your career, and how have they influenced your journey? 

Mentorship holds immense importance in the development of professionals, serving as a catalyst for growth. Personally, I have been fortunate to have mentors who have played a pivotal role in shaping my career trajectory. Their guidance and support have significantly influenced my journey. These mentors have been instrumental in identifying areas where I needed to enhance my skills and broaden my knowledge base. By sharing their expertise and experiences, they have provided valuable insights and pointed out potential paths for growth. Through their mentorship, I have gained a deeper understanding of entrepreneurship and delved into the intricacies of marketing.

The impact of these mentors extends beyond mere knowledge acquisition. They have served as role models, inspiring me to push boundaries and strive for excellence. Their guidance has instilled a sense of confidence and resilience within me, enabling me to navigate complex challenges with greater clarity and determination.

They’ve taught me how to think, so that I can continue to evolve as a business leader, I have since educated myself on non-verbal language, so I can read the room and adjust my approach quickly if needed. This is also why I invest so much time into my people, I see so much potential in each one of them and I want to inspire them to live up to their full potential.

As someone who has made a significant impact on employment, what advice do you have for aspiring professionals looking to contribute meaningfully to their communities while excelling in their careers?

Always keep storytelling at the center of everything that you do. If faced with the task of choosing from several individuals for a position, my preference would be to employ the most skilled writer. Whether the candidate possesses a background in marketing, sales, design, programming, or any other field is irrelevant; their aptitude for writing will prove valuable. This stems from the fact that effective writing encompasses more than simply putting words on paper. It serves as an indicator of clear and organised thinking. Exceptional writers possess the ability to convey information effectively, simplifying complex concepts for understanding. They have the capacity to empathise with others, grasping different perspectives. They understand the art of omission, knowing what to leave out. These qualities are desirable in any prospective employee. In today’s world, writing serves as the currency for expressing and disseminating noteworthy ideas.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are important topics in today’s workplaces. How do you contribute to creating inclusive environments where all individuals can thrive?

I am committed to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Firstly, I actively foster a culture of respect and acceptance, where everyone feels valued and included. I prioritise hiring practices that seek diverse talent and ensure equal opportunities in recruitment, promotions, and compensation. I also establish employee resource groups to provide a platform for underrepresented individuals to connect and support each other. By championing these initiatives, I aim to create an inclusive environment that empowers all individuals to thrive and contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

Many people aspire to reach the level of success you’ve achieved. What advice would you give to other women looking to excel in their careers and make a meaningful impact?

One key piece of advice I would give to women aspiring to excel in their careers is to believe in themselves and their abilities. It’s essential to have confidence in your skills and value your contributions. Additionally, I encourage women to actively seek opportunities to learn and grow, whether through professional development programs, mentorship, or networking. Building a strong support network is crucial, as it provides guidance, encouragement, and valuable connections. Don’t be afraid to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. Making a meaningful impact requires boldness, resilience, and perseverance. Embrace challenges, learn from failures, and keep pushing forward to achieve your goals.



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