Women in Wheels | Angelique Lynch's journey from cancer survivor to AutoTrader big shot

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Angelique Lynch
Angelique Lynch
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• Angelique Lynch was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, but she refused to give up.

• Since then, Lynch has gone on to achieve great things in the local automotive scene and at AutoTrader.

• Lynch is a champion for all women across South Africa.

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Trials and tribulations often punctuate even the most prolific rise to the top of a field. In the case of Angelique Lynch, Marketing Director for AutoTrader, one particularly challenging situation stands out.

In 2008, Lynch was diagnosed with breast cancer. Inspiringly, the marketing expert opted to work full-time through her gruelling treatment, setting out to prove the disease needn't define nor control her. She fought hard and won, choosing to use the experience to further build what was already a fierce resilience.

Armed with a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with majors in marketing and economics (which she has subsequently supplemented with a raft of other qualifications, including an honours degree) and fresh from working in London, her journey with AutoTrader started more than 16 years ago. She was quickly promoted into a marketing executive role before shifting straight into management.

A memorable moment

By 2010, just two years after her diagnosis, Lynch had been named head of marketing. Soon she stepped into the role of marketing director, a position she has since made her own. The highly regarded digital marketer has a lengthy list of achievements to her name, including holding a seat on the CMO Council Africa Advisory Board and standing as a judge for the SMARTIES awards. She has shaped numerous major campaigns for AutoTrader and managed the platform's highly successful migration from print to digital. In fact, the latter is one of her favourite memories.

"The most memorable - and perhaps pivotal - accomplishment was the day we shut the iconic AutoTrader magazine and made the full transition to digital. We created a campaign called #ByeByePrint #HelloDigital. It was a special moment and one I'll certainly never forget," says Lynch.

It's this seemingly fearless ability to embrace change that has helped the multi-talented marketer - who holds a second Dan black belt in Shukokai Karate and has represented South Africa at various world championships - climb the ladder of success. Asked what advice she would give young women starting their careers, Lynch points to the value of getting out of one's comfort zone.

She notes: "To grow and learn means doing things for the first time, all of the time. I remember my first presentation, my first board meeting, my first big event and my first digital marketing campaign. All were new, scary, and all were 'shake in your boots' kind of moments. But those are the moments that shaped my career and built resilience."

'Courage over comfort'

She points out that she chooses "courage over comfort" and isn't prepared to sit on the sidelines in either her personal or professional life. Despite being a busy executive, she still finds the time to be a cancer champion and even launched boobs2boardroom in 2020 to inspire other women to conquer life's biggest challenges and succeed in business against all odds.

Lynch - who drives a Mazda CX-5 but quips that her dream car is a rose-gold cabriolet - says her mother has been one of her main sources of inspiration over the years, teaching her "courage, strength, grit and determination, even when the odds are stacked against you".

"She always encouraged me to go after what I wanted and made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to," Lynch says. "She showed me how to be brave and how to step into the unknown. We can be consumed by fear and miss out on so many opportunities. But it's okay to not know how to do something. Give it a go! If you never try, you'll never know."

Judging by her impeccable track record, Lynch has certainly tried and she's certainly succeeded, from beating cancer to spearheading award-winning marketing campaigns and everything in between.

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