Life is a never-ending journey for Gishma

2016-10-05 06:00
Corporate communications and PR manager, Gishma Johnson. Photo: SUPPLIED

Corporate communications and PR manager, Gishma Johnson. Photo: SUPPLIED

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IT is said that behind every successful woman is a supportive network of family and friends. This is true for Communications Manager, Gishma Johnson, who believes in the importance of finding a work-life balance, setting new goals and making time for regular coffee dates.

Gishma (48), who is the Corporate Communications and PR Manager for General Motors South Africa (GMSA), enjoys “developing strategies with measurable outcomes”.

“It is always interesting to see whether the strategy you have implemented has made a meaningful impact,” Gishma said.

It was her love for language, writing and communication that led her to continue setting higher goals for herself.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of the Western Cape in 1991, as well as completing a Higher Diploma in Education from the same university in 1992, Johnson began teaching English to high school pupils.

“Career options were limited in those years. I started off as an English teacher at Gelvandale High School in 1992.”

Gishma also holds a national diploma in journalism from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU).

“When PE Technikon (NMMU) started offering journalism as a national diploma course in the late 1990’s, I decided to follow a career in a field that offered me scope for professional growth and applied for a national diploma in journalism, commen-cing full-time with my studies in 2001.”

“I later started working as a qualified journalist at Die Burger newspaper in Port Elizabeth, writing in Afrikaans,” Gishma added.

Originally from Gelvandale, Gishma now resides in Springdale with her husband Irfaan Johnson.

Writing and socio-linguistics has always been her passion, and she enjoys the technical aspects of language, which is why she studied English, Afrikaans and Arabic during her time at the University of the Western Cape.

Despite her busy schedule, Gishma has taken on a new challenge as she is currently studying towards the Management Development Programme (MDP) at the NMMU Business School.

She is also known for her contribution and involvement in her community, and believes we all have a role to play in our community. “We do not all have money to donate, but we can sometimes afford time. Volunteerism requires time. And that is how we can make a difference.

“Due to further part-time studies at the moment, I have not been very active in community projects. However, over the years I have served on executive positions for the Gelvan Park Frail Aged Home, IFM Community Radio, South African National Zakaah Fund PE, and Emmanuel Advice Care Centre.”

Gishma is currently part of the Chapman Senior Secondary Alumni which was established early this year.

“I believe in the saying, ‘charity begins at home’. Therefore I always suggest that we start in our own community. Whether it is at the school, the hospital, the hospice, the old-age home or the children’s home, I believe there are many institutions that need volunteers.”

When asked about how she manages to find a balance between work and the other activities she is involved in, Gishma mentioned, “There is a fine balance between a demanding job, part-time studies and family life. I learn to cope, by managing my time and to sometimes decline requests and invitations.

“As far as I can, I still attend community functions and assist with fundraising for organisations. I have regular coffee dates with my friends, I have regular massages and take time-out to just chill at home with a magazine,” Gishma said.

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