When I speak about my journey as an employee, there is one name that always comes up and that is Angela Groom. When I started out in PR, she was the Business Unit Director for Lifestyle and Corporate at Eclipse Public Relations. Under her leadership, I received the kind of exposure that I doubt I would have received anywhere else. I got to work on brands such as Coca Cola and Tsogo Sun where I learnt some of the most valuable industry skills that I still use today. There are a number of things that made Angela a great boss to work for.
Having already paid her dues in the industry, she was never in competition with anyone. Instead, she made it her mission that everyone in the team grows. Three months into my into my internship, Angela and my then Account Manager Refilwe saw that I had grown so much in a short space of time and advocated for me to be promoted to Junior Account Executive. Throughout my time there, they monitored my progress and ensured that I was rewarded accordingly.
From the onset, the main skill that got me my job was the fact that I could string a few sentences together. Angela had the ability to recognise this and encouraged me in that direction. As a result, most of the written work that came out of the team were by me with little to no editing required from their side. I can’t even begin to put in words how much this boosted my confidence.
There were times where I was not the very best employee one could have and this is owed to the fact that I was (still am?) very young and that it was my very first real job. Due to how quickly I had grown and how well I worked, there was always a high expectation in terms of the standard of my work. Angela made sure that when you did well, the whole team, client and shareholders of the company knew about it. When you were not doing so well, she made it a point to have a talk with you. In fact, this was part of our regular one-on-one sessions with her where we could discuss any and everything that was a hinderance to our work. I have come to appreciate it today because it has impacted the way in which I approach everything I do wherever I go.
When we reach a point where we are leading teams, we often forget how much of an impact we have on them. The success of being in that position does not lie in how well we can afford to dress and what we now have access to, but rather in how successful the entire team becomes from being under that leadership.