Motivational advice from public relations manager Libe Mohale

2017-09-04 13:14
PICTURE: Supplied

PICTURE: Supplied

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Libe Mohale is a Tshwane University of Technology graduate, who also holds a postgraduate Diploma in brand innovation. He has worked at various creative academic institutions and has been at The Open Window Institute for over four years. He has managed artists, promotional campaigns for events and sponsorship drives as well as media personalities’ personal brands. 

Growing up was it your dream to pursue public relations?
Well, growing up I knew I wanted to be in the marketing and communications space but I didn't want to be a salesman. My maths and science grades were good and I ended up on a mission to be a medical doctor but that didn't happen. I then studied public relations management and graduated top of my class then continued to study further in project management and brand innovation.

What propelled you to start your own business?

Funnily enough I was actually fired from my job. I started looking around for a job but would have had to take a 40% salary cut. I'd already started freelancing and lecturing part time so I figured I should just focus on getting myself new clients and plugging myself into people's projects to pay bills. Everything happened so fast and I started hiring people. That's it!

Has your family been in support of you and your ambitions since the beginning or did you struggle?
I was raised by a single mom who wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer, the transition from her chemistry and maths “A-student” child to a communications professional didn't go well. I had to go through a lot of family interventions to prove this is what I wanted. I was only taken seriously when I bought my first car and I started sending money home. After that I’d walk in on my mom sometimes advising her friends to let their kids follow their passion.

As a young person was it daunting to take those first steps to get to where you are?
After I'd officially left my job I think I didn't sleep for two weeks. I was praying and crying daily because I was worried I'd run out of money before I found a job or my plan of being a full-time freelancer materialized. I've learnt to live in power not in fear so I handle the rollercoasters well. I don't have children so I'm still flexible enough to take risks like the one that I have. 

You give back by going to schools to teach young people, what inspired that?
I grew up in Maseru and generally in Lesotho (and maybe other African countries) people do not tell their stories. I have a group of friends who inspire me daily and we decided to join forces to inform, educate and empower kids from less affluent communities (like where we come from) to invest in their passion and work hard. If someone told me I could do it and motivated me to work hard I'd probably be further in my career. I just want to teach kids to stop playing safe and to have a more positive outlook on life. 

What does it feel like to look back and see the progress you’ve made and all that you have achieved?
I'm aware of the growth, and how my personal brand has gained traction and respect, and I'm grateful. I'm at a point where I'm fighting to translate all of that into business and eventually revenue.

What advice do you have for those who would like to follow in your steps?
1 Stop playing safe and take ownership of your role in your career.
2 Start young – it's fun growing into a business person as a young person. 
3 Get your academic foundation right. Accumulate as much knowledge as you can. 
4 It's OK not to be OK sometimes, but make sure you try to always move towards being OK.

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