Women's Month News

#WomensMonth: Roxana Ravjee is leading Dentsu SA into the future

Roxana Ravjee took over as the CEO of Dentsu SA in March with a vision to accelerate innovation and creativity. With an impressive track record spanning more than two decades, Ravjee is a seasoned marketing leader determined to elevate the company to new heights while championing the empowerment of women.

Her strategic vision and extensive industry experience make her the driving force behind Dentsu SA's ambitious growth plans and commitment to fostering a more inclusive and dynamic work environment.

Roxana Ravjee is Dentsu SA's CEO. Source: Supplied.
Roxana Ravjee is Dentsu SA's CEO. Source: Supplied.

How has your background brought you to your current role as CEO?

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to explore various avenues of marketing and advertising, allowing me to develop a comprehensive background in through the line (TTL) . From new business development, to sales, commercial management, team leadership and mentorship which are just a few of the skills that I have brought to Dentsu as CEO. My expertise lies in driving tangible actions and achieving results promptly, with a hands-on approach to ensure operational efficiency.

The experiences I've gained have honed my ability to make well-thought-out decisions and to always keep the bigger picture in mind when crafting strategies. I thrive in time-sensitive situations and am adept at orchestrating marketing campaigns that deliver exceptional outcomes.

What has been number one on the agenda since you took the role over in March?

From the outset, my top priority has been to fully immerse myself in the Dentsu business, gaining a deep understanding of the business journey and aligning myself to its vision and current trajectory. During my initial months, I placed great emphasis on connecting with the staff and clients, fostering an environment where they felt valued and supported. Providing them with my unwavering support and guidance has been instrumental in building a strong team dynamic.

Nkanyezi Masango was recently appointed as CCO, how does that align with the vision going forward?

My vision for our agency is centred around growth and innovation in the dynamic and constantly evolving landscape of marketing, media, creative, and data. Nkanyezi plays a pivotal role in achieving this vision by spearheading the cultivation of a culture that thrives on creativity, agility, collaboration, and excellence. With Nkanyezi's creative leadership, we are committed to accelerating creativity at Dentsu Creative, driving the agency to new heights of success and ingenuity.

What do you think makes you a good leader?

My adaptability and openness to new ideas and approaches are essential traits in my leadership skills which I believe is essential in today's ever-changing business landscape as it allows me to stay ahead and embrace innovation.

My approach to fostering a positive work environment and building a motivated team by ensuring my staff are aware of their value to me and to the business.

I am solutions-driven, very proactive with a strong problem-solving mindset and a meticulous and organised approach to my work. My ethics and integrity have never and will never be compromised.

What is the significance of Dentsu SA's focus on women, youth, and mentorship, and how do you support and advocate for these initiatives?

This focus is one the main reasons for my attraction to Dentsu. As a leader to have a current 100% female leadership exco team is incredibly inspiring. Not forgetting our successful internship programme which has proven to be unparalleled with many of our former interns becoming senior leaders within the business. Another focus is our bursary scheme which is in line with Dentsu’s commitment to skills development and further education.

In my role as CEO, my objective will be to build upon the existing positive trajectory and continue fostering empowerment throughout the South African market.

Do you think there is enough female representation in the industry?

No, however the imbalance with fewer women occupying leadership positions and decision-making roles in the marketing sector is improving. I strongly believe in providing access to training and skill development programmes that empower women to enhance their capabilities and excel in their roles. By embracing and celebrating the contributions of female professionals, the industry can benefit from a broader range of perspectives, creativity, and ideas that will lead to more innovation and success.

Over your 20-year career, what have been the highlights?

Having had the chance to merge and establish businesses from the ground up, my career has been an exhilarating journey filled with exciting campaigns. Despite the challenges, the rewards have been tremendous. I am proud of consistently delivering innovative, out-of-the-box ideas and bringing them to fruition, and earning a reputation as a go-to person for creative solutions.

Throughout my professional experience, the thrill of entrepreneurship and the satisfaction of seeing new ventures flourish have been incredibly fulfilling. Working on stimulating campaigns has provided me with the opportunity to push boundaries and explore creative avenues, leading to exceptional results and client satisfaction.

Being recognised for my ability to generate fresh and unconventional ideas has been personally gratifying. It has encouraged me to continually seek innovative approaches to problem-solving, and delivering remarkable outcomes for both my clients and the organisations that I have been part of.

Overall, my career has been marked by a blend of business acumen, entrepreneurial endeavours, and a passion for creating unforgettable campaigns. The fulfilment that comes from seeing ideas come to life and making a meaningful impact on the industry is what drives me to continue seeking new challenges and pushing creative boundaries.

What advice do you have for women who are inspired by your career trajectory?

The past is behind us, and dwelling on it will never let you progress. Instead, embrace the lessons it taught you, face new challenges, and have faith in yourself. Your future should not be dictated by past events or circumstances, and no one should force you to conform to their expectations. Stay true to yourself step into the future with confidence, resilience and authenticity and let your uniqueness shine. Be you and own it.

About Karabo Ledwaba

Karabo Ledwaba is a Marketing and Media Editor at Bizcommunity and award-winning journalist. Before joining the publication she worked at Sowetan as a content producer and reporter. She was also responsible for the leadership page at SMag, Sowetan's lifestyle magazine. Contact her at karabo@bizcommunity.com

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