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Young director of corporate affairs, MBA candidate’s advice for youngsters in SA

Lethabo Lubisi’s journey in corporate affairs and pursuing an MBA.

Johannesburg, 10 Oct 2023
Lethabo Lubisi, a young Director of Corporate Affairs in South Africa.
Lethabo Lubisi, a young Director of Corporate Affairs in South Africa.

This press release delves into the inspiring journey of Lethabo Lubisi, a young Director of Corporate Affairs in South Africa, who is also pursuing an MBA. In today's dynamic and competitive job market, young professionals face numerous challenges and uncertainties. However, this press release aims to provide valuable insights, advice and encouragement for youngsters in South Africa by sharing the experiences and wisdom of a successful young professional. Through the lens of her journey, we explore the importance of education, navigating the job market, building a strong professional network, maintaining work-life balance, overcoming self-doubt, embracing diversity in the workplace and ultimately inspiring the next generation of young professionals.

1. Introduction

1.1 Early passion for corporate affairs

Picture this: a young, fresh-faced individual with an unyielding curiosity for the inner workings of the business world. That was me. I always had a knack for understanding the dynamics of corporate affairs, and it didn't take long for me to realise that this was the path I wanted to follow. From navigating through public relations crises to managing stakeholder relationships, I found myself drawn to the captivating realm of corporate affairs.

1.2 Decision to pursue an MBA

Being passionate about something is one thing; equipping yourself with the necessary knowledge and skills to excel in it is another. That's why I made the decision to pursue an MBA. I wanted to broaden my understanding of business, enhance my critical thinking abilities and gain the strategic insights needed to navigate the ever-changing corporate landscape. It was a daunting yet exciting choice, and I haven't looked back since.

2. Importance of education and professional development

2.1 The value of higher education

Some may argue that formal education is overrated, but let me tell you this: it's not. Higher education provides you with a solid foundation of knowledge and helps you develop the analytical and problem-solving skills that are crucial in the corporate world. It opens doors to opportunities and positions for you as a competitive candidate in the job market.

2.2 Gaining practical skills through internships

While education is undeniably important, it's equally crucial to gain practical skills through internships and real-world experiences. These opportunities allow you to apply what you've learned in a tangible way, interact with professionals in your field and build a network of contacts who can support your career growth.

2.3 Continuous learning and professional certifications

Learning shouldn't stop once you've earned your degree. The business world is ever-evolving, and it's essential to stay updated on industry trends and developments. Consider pursuing professional certifications or attending workshops and conferences to enhance your skillset and stay ahead of the curve. Continuous learning is the key to long-term success.

3. Navigating challenges and opportunities in the South African job market

3.1 Addressing high youth unemployment rates

Let's address the elephant in the room: youth unemployment rates in South Africa can be disheartening. But don't let this discourage you. Rather than focusing on the challenges, concentrate on building a strong personal brand and acquiring relevant skills that set you apart from the competition. Be proactive in seeking out opportunities and remember that perseverance pays off.

3.2 Identifying emerging industries and growth sectors

It's no secret that certain industries in South Africa are experiencing growth and creating new opportunities. Stay informed about these emerging sectors and identify where your skills and interests align. By positioning yourself in these industries, you increase your chances of landing a job and thriving in a field with promising prospects.

3.3 Overcoming limited job opportunities and competition

Competition can be fierce, but that shouldn't deter you from pursuing your dreams. Be adaptable and open to different career paths. Sometimes, the right opportunity may come from an unexpected direction. Network, make connections and showcase your unique skillset and personality to stand out. Remember, a positive attitude and a dash of resilience can work wonders in overcoming any obstacle.

4. Building a strong professional network and personal brand

4.1 Importance of networking and relationship building

Networking isn't just about collecting business cards or connecting on LinkedIn. It's about building genuine relationships with individuals who can support and inspire your professional growth. Attend industry events, join relevant associations and engage in conversations that go beyond the surface level. Your network is your net worth, so invest in it wisely.

4.2 Leveraging social media for professional growth

In a digital age, harnessing the power of social media is vital for professional growth. Use platforms like LinkedIn to showcase your skills, share industry insights and connect with like-minded individuals. Be consistent, authentic and mindful of your digital presence. You never know who might stumble on your profile and be impressed by what they see.

4.3 Developing a personal brand and online presence

Your personal brand is your unique identifier. It's how you present yourself to the world and what sets you apart from others. Develop a clear and compelling personal brand that showcases your expertise, values and personality. Craft a strong online presence through a professional website, blog or portfolio. It's your chance to shine and leave a lasting impression on potential employers or collaborators.

Remember, life is full of twists and turns. Embrace the journey, never stop learning and let your passion lead you to success in the exciting world of corporate affairs.

5. Balancing work, studies, personal life

5.1 Effective time management strategies

Let's face it, juggling work, studies and personal life can feel like trying to balance a flaming circus act. But fear not, young professionals of South Africa, for I have some time management strategies that might just save you from burning out. Firstly, prioritise your tasks and make a to-do list that puts the most important items at the top. And be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day – nobody has superpowers! Secondly, learn to say no when your plate is already overflowing. It's okay to decline that extra project or social invitation if it means protecting your sanity. Lastly, take advantage of technology. There are countless apps and tools out there to help you stay organised and on top of your game. Embrace the wonders of modern technology, my friends!

5.2 Prioritising self-care and well-being

Ah, self-care, the buzzword of our generation. But it's not just a trendy concept, it's a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Take time for yourself, whether it's indulging in a bubble bath, going for a run or binge-watching your favourite TV show (no judgment here)! Prioritise your physical and mental well-being, because without them, you won't be able to bring your A-game to work or studies. Remember, you're not a machine, and taking care of yourself is not selfish – it's essential.

5.3 Seeking support and maintaining a support system

We all need a little help sometimes, and that's okay. Don't hesitate to lean on your support system when things get tough. Reach out to friends, family or colleagues who can offer guidance, a listening ear or just a good laugh. Surround yourself with people who believe in you and lift you up, because they'll be the ones to remind you of your awesomeness when self-doubt creeps in. And if you're feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking professional help. There's no shame in asking for support, and in fact, it's a sign of strength. Remember, the world is full of amazing people who are more than willing to cheer you on.

6. Overcoming imposter syndrome and self-doubt

6.1 Recognising and addressing imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome, that pesky voice in your head that makes you doubt your abilities and achievements. But here's the thing, my fellow South African youngsters – you are not alone. Imposter syndrome is a common phenomenon that affects even the most accomplished individuals. The first step to overcoming it is to recognise it for what it is – a trickster trying to undermine your confidence. Remind yourself of your accomplishments, take note of positive feedback and challenge those self-deprecating thoughts with evidence of your competence. And hey, even if you're faking it 'til you make it, there's no shame in that. Just keep pushing forward and trust in your abilities.

6.2 Strategies for building self-confidence

Building self-confidence is like going to the gym – it takes time and effort. Start by acknowledging your strengths and achievements. Celebrate even the smallest victories, because they all contribute to your growth. Surround yourself with positive influences that inspire and uplift you. And don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Embrace new challenges and opportunities, even if they make you question your competence at first. Remember, confidence is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly, so flex it!

6.3 Seeking mentorship and role models

Sometimes, we all need a little guidance from those who have walked the path before us. Seek out mentors and role models who can offer insights, advice and a friendly shoulder to lean on. Reach out to professionals in your field who inspire you and ask for their guidance. And remember, mentorship doesn't have to be a formal arrangement – it can be as simple as grabbing a coffee with someone you admire. So don't be afraid to reach out and build those meaningful connections. We all need a little help from our heroes.

7. Embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace

7.1 Importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Diversity and inclusion aren't just buzzwords to throw around at fancy conferences. They are crucial for fostering innovation, creativity and overall success within organisations. Embracing diversity means recognising and valuing the unique perspectives and experiences that each individual brings to the table. It's about creating an environment where everyone feels heard, respected and included. So, South African youngsters, let's champion diversity and be the change in the workplace. The world is filled with different colours, cultures and ideas, and it's time we celebrated them all.

7.2 Promoting equality and fairness

In the pursuit of diversity and inclusion, it's essential to promote equality and fairness. Stand up against any form of discrimination or bias you witness or experience. Advocate for equal opportunities and fair treatment for all, regardless of their background or identity. Challenge the status quo and question the norms that perpetuate inequality. And remember, change starts with small actions. Be the voice that speaks up and the ally that supports others. Together, we can create a more equitable and just workplace.

7.3 Creating an inclusive work environment

Creating an inclusive work environment starts with fostering a culture of respect and open-mindedness. Encourage collaboration and teamwork, and value the diverse perspectives brought by your colleagues. Actively listen to others and seek different opinions. Celebrate and promote diversity through initiatives like employee resource groups, diversity training programmes and inclusive policies. And remember, inclusivity is not a one-time checkbox exercise – it's a lifelong commitment to continuous improvement. So, let's build an environment where every young professional feels valued and can thrive.

8. Conclusion: Inspiring the next generation of young professionals in South Africa

To the young professionals of South Africa, the future is in your hands (no pressure). Embrace the challenges, seize the opportunities and make your mark on the world. Remember that success is not measured solely by titles or wealth, but by the impact you have on others and the legacy you leave behind. Stay true to yourself, keep learning and growing, and never underestimate the power you possess to make a difference. And most importantly, don't forget to enjoy the journey – life's too short to take yourself too seriously.

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