Andiswa Mosetlhi is a communications manager with over 10 years’ experience in communications and public relations. She has also built, managed and promoted brands for multinational corporations and government-owned agencies.
Contributing to the LLA Career Conversations series, Andiswa says it is important to ’always do the right thing and have the difficult conversations’. Read more insights she shared below.
Can you briefly describe yourself and what you do?
I am a wife, a mother, an aspiring activist and entrepreneur. I am the Head of Communications for a multinational in the energy sector.
Great! How did you start out in your career, and how long have you been in the ‘corporate world?’
I started my Communications career at a boutique creative agency. I have been in the corporate world for almost 15 years, with an odd break in between, pursuing my entrepreneurial spirit.
What is your number one hack for dealing with difficult colleagues/bosses?
I try to understand their intentions, get perspective of others and focus on what is within my control. I also address the issue if the above does not work, especially when it starts to interfere with work.
2 things you do when you are having a bad day?
A cappuccino and taking a step back to clear the mind is always a winner. I also keep inspiring quotes and self-affirmations on my Instagram board, those always come in handy when I am having a bad day.
When you are creatively stuck, you…?
I always do something unrelated, and come to it at a later stage, and sometimes I speak to someone for a different perspective.
2 tips for navigating office politics?
Try to always do the right thing and have the difficult conversations.
What’s your take on cliques or “you can’t sit with us groups” at work? How does one navigate such?
I don’t like cliques, “you cant sit with us groups” is counterproductive, creates a “mean high school culture” which can facilitate a toxic environment. You will of course have people that have more in common with you and you will naturally gravitate towards them. I try to be conscious of my contribution to the “mean girl” culture. At heart, I am an idealist. I love the idea of sisterhood, women supporting each other in the work place.
Of course, we’re going to talk about mentorship – what’s your view on it? Important or nah?
Mentorship has an important role provided the two people are invested in the relationship, mentorship is a two way street. I also believe mentoring can take different forms, it does not need to follow the traditional form, it’s about making the time when it is required. I have many mentors that I am able to access for different perspectives, you can otherwise call them my cheerleaders. I try and do the same for others.
Two things – what have been your best and worst career decision – and what did you learn from each respectively?
I moved from the private sector to the public sector, it was a huge culture shock and disheartening because I was naïve about my potential contribution/changes that I thought I could make. That experience taught me a lot about myself.
My best career decision is yet to come.
Do you have a “side-hustle” and what’s your view on having other interests outside of work?
I don’t have a side hustle per se, I have a side passion. I recently created an Instagram page, walkoutcorporatesa It was inspired by the famous “Google Walkout.” I am passionate about women’s issues and social justice, we have a responsibility to be conscious and deliberate when we have a seat at the table.
We are multifaceted beings, with talents and passions that do not necessarily conflict with our work. Modern organizations are starting to see this as a value add, and have started channelling employee passions, by allowing them to spend a percentage of their time on projects they are passionate about within their organisations.
My past side hustle was a baby boutique that I started with a childhood friend. It didn’t work out- retail is tough. That experience has been my greatest and valuable lesson.
How do you advise girls facing harassment in any form, from their superiors at work to handle it?
Document, document, document.
Follow internal grievance procedures. Rally people that love and support you because you will need their support. It is often a difficult and lonely journey. Do not underestimate your psychological health, if available, access company employee wellness programs, and do everything possible to manage the stress.
Last but not least, it is hard, it is not easy, some days will be hard, on those days remember your “WHY?” My “Why” is by Jasmin Kaur “scream so that one day a hundred years from now another sister will not have to dry her tears wondering where in history she lost her voice.”
3 greatest career lessons you have learnt on your journey?
I have learnt it is true that corporate culture eats strategy. That words on company and walls are just that, words… when senior management does not do the right thing, employees suffer.
Be authentic, nothing beats being you. When all is said and done, you have to live with the choices you have made and in the end you must like the person you are.
The Leading Ladies Africa #CareerConversations Series is a weekly interview series which focuses on Leading women of African descent in the corporate world. It showcases their experiences across all socio-economic sectors, highlights their personal and professional achievements and offers useful advice on how to make life more satisfying for women.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes women empowerment and gender inclusion for women of African descent.
Do you know any woman of African descent doing phenomenal things? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature her.