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Marketing Achievement Awards announces Rising Star finalists for 2020/21

The Marketing Achievement Awards (MAAs) has announced the finalists for its Rising Star of the Year Award - the best and the brightest under the age of 35 who have consistently demonstrated excellent performance and who have the potential to become outstanding leaders in their profession.
Marketing Achievement Awards announces Rising Star finalists for 2020/21

Only those excellent young marketers who have brought bold ideas to the table and carved new paths from within their roles were considered for the 2021 Rising Star of the Year Award, an industry accolade with tremendous bragging rights. Moreover, this year’s selection process was accomplished with the highest integrity, thanks to the support of the Award’s sponsor, Unilever, a true branding giant.

Says Elizabeth Mokwena, HomeCare marketing director, Unilever South Africa, “Unilever offers a stimulating and supportive environment for new, young marketers to cut their teeth on the ins and outs of brand management and learn how to strategically ensure businesses provide solutions to consumers across various communities. We feel that sponsoring this Award is a natural fit with our own stance towards acknowledging exceptional young marketers.”

In order to select the Rising Star for 2021, a stringent judging process was implemented and overseen by a judging panel chaired by Dr Doug Mattheus, CEO of Doug M Consultancy. This diverse panel of highly experienced marketing professionals and industry experts, included Audrey Naidoo (Head of Digital Marketing, ABSA Group), Napsta Masinga (Founder & Creative Director, Napsta Collective), Nontokozo Madonsela (Group Chief Marketing Officer, Momentum Metropolitan Holdings), Professor Madéle Tait (Director: School of Management Sciences, Nelson Mandela University), and Elizabeth Mokwena.

This Year’s Rising Star of the Year Finalists


The MAAs are thrilled to introduce the six remarkable individuals who have been selected as the finalists for the award:
  • Bianca de Beer, senior marketing manager at Telesure Investment Holdings

    Bianca is a brand-building specialist with an incorrigible passion for all things marketing and communications-related. As a creative thinker with a drive towards making businesses grow with purpose, Bianca enjoys working with developing brands and bringing them to life through true consumer insights, successful product innovations, relevant partnerships, and engaging brand communication throughout the value chain. In her current role, she is best described by her team as an on-the-go life enthusiast with a flair for seeking innovative solutions to business challenges. Relying on her boundless energy and attention to detail, she consistently assists in running projects from start to finish with both efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Itumeleng Matlare, brand manager at Tiger Brands

    Itumeleng successfully serves as the All Gold and Mrs Balls Brand Manager at Tiger Brands, where her responsibilities range from engaging with advertising agencies and suppliers to demand planning with her team to ensure that the logistics and distribution of products are on track across the country. A significant part of her role is to manage the growth and development of a junior individual who reports into her, ensuring that this person advances in knowledge, experience, and position in their team. This is a crucial part of the company’s belief, whereby every employee at Tiger Brands must seek to nourish and nurture more lives every day

  • Lisa Mains-Sheard, digital marketing manager at Nedbank

    Lisa is a digital native with an obsession for social media, creative content, and purpose-led marketing. Starting her social media journey in 2013 at WPP Aqua Agency as the Community Manager for Coca-Cola, she has benefited from notable experiences, including contributing to the brand’s “Quantum Theory of Happiness” campaign which won a Gold Loerie, Assegai, New Generation, and WPP Sigi in 2014. She subsequently moved to Coca-Cola South Africa as CIC Manager during which time she led a team of 18 people and executed numerous highly successful digital and social campaigns – even winning the Coca-Cola Digital Global Award for operational excellence. Lisa joined the Nedbank Group in 2019, where she has worked on a wider range of products, segments, and brand deliverables. Among many other responsibilities, Lisa is currently entrusted with leading the Group’s Financial Wellness initiatives, bringing the platform to life and driving the brand’s purpose of helping South Africans realise their money relationships.

  • Arye Kellman, co-founder and chief creative officer at TILT

    Born and bred in Johannesburg, Arye believes that his purpose is to engage audiences – predominantly millennial ones – by revolutionising brand narratives and fire-starting conversations that matter. Arye is passionate about crafting engaging storytelling with a commercial objective, believing that when we find the sweet spot between creative excellence and commercial return, we empower South Africa's creative economy and uplift our nation. As an entrepreneur and creative, he currently serves as Chief Creative Officer at TILT, an influencer marketing and digital content creation agency that he co-founded.

  • Serisha Pillay, Senior Marketing Manager at Discovery Limited

    Ambitious, innovative, and determined. These are just three adjectives used to describe Serisha, whose passion for and five years in marketing have led to an industry expert with experience in formulating brand strategies, managing internal and external stakeholder relationships (locally and internationally), and overseeing integrated marketing projects and campaigns. In her role as Senior Marketing Manager at Discovery Limited, Serisha explores new and challenging environments to make brand communications increasingly customer centric, visually appealing, and personalised for the end-user through powerful storytelling and data-driven insights. Notably, her efforts are also focused on promoting wellbeing and sustainability initiatives to drive an organisation’s targets, build brand sentiment, and be a force for social good.

  • Robyn Hobson, Head of Sales and Marketing at Mobile Guardian

    Robyn holds an MBA from the University of Cape Town and throughout her career has consulted to and worked for companies on the cusp of their high-growth trajectory, often with very limited marketing capabilities. Her career also boasts eye catching highlights such as successfully leading diverse teams, leading the social media team at Woolworths, and establishing a digital marketing firm which has consulted to several high-profile clients. She is known for navigating the challenges of multi-country marketing, fearlessly leading from the front, and helping to create opportunities for young people. Robyn currently works with her team to deliver business growth across five continents, supported by the digital-first brand and marketing philosophy at Mobile Guardian, a global company focused on improving education through technology.

“The shining star we were looking for is a marketer who is doing great things in their role or in their own companies and who demonstrate leadership, innovation, forward-thinking, and the ability to strategise for impact and growth. The judging panel encountered a tough time when sifting through the remarkable submissions to select just six talented finalists and while it was quite a task to drill these down to the winner of the Rising Star of the Year Award, we are satisfied that we have found the right young marketing luminary who best fits this description,” says Dr Doug Matttheus.

To find out who the winner of the 2021 Rising Star of the Year Awards is, please join us for the MAA Virtual Awards Ceremony at 6pm on 31 March 2021. Everyone is encouraged to round up their team members, partners, clients, and friends to register for an amazing evening of interactive fun and entertainment, hosted by MC and comedic aficionado, Napsta, and features music by DJ Ready D.

Event details


Date: 31 March 2021
Time: 6pm (logins from 5:45pm)
Duration: 1h20
Venue: Online
Tickets: Register to get your ticket here
Cost: No charge to attend
Dress: Wear your virtual best and win a pair of tickets on the Blue Train

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