#BehindtheSelfie with... Brenda Khumalo

This week, we go behind the selfie with Brenda Khumalo, managing director of Collective ID.
Khumalo captions this: “My best of both worlds.”

1. Where do you live, work and play?

I was born and raised in Durban, which is why when I really want to play, we pack up and drive to the coast. I simply love the ocean.

Approximately 12 years ago, I moved to JHB. Today, I live in Magaliessig and work at Collective ID, an ad agency. As the MD, I’m basically responsible for running the company.

2. What’s your claim to fame?

I survived three Vodacom summer campaigns – 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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Anyone who has worked in telecoms will understand what a huge challenge that can be – it’s one of the biggest campaigns of the year.

3. Describe your career so far.

My career in advertising has been in the making for over 13 years, and what an incredible journey it has been! I’ve worked with amazing mentors, clients and people. My journey has been about hard work, feeding my passion and learning about myself.
I’ve always believed in letting your work speak for itself; keeping your head down and just doing your job to the absolute best of your abilities.
In my opinion, relationships are everything, so my recipe for success is to be fair, honest and hard-working.

4. Tell us a few of your favourite things.

I’m a passionate person, and when I’m passionate about something, I obsess about it:

View this post on Instagram

My life #mypeeps ❤️

A post shared by Brenda (@breeeeezeeee) on

  • I’m passionate about my young family (my hubby and two-year-old daughter, Nandi) who feed my soul. They are such a blessing in my life.
  • As mentioned before, I love the beach. My dream is to own a beach retirement home one day.
  • I’m passionate about my job. I love what I do and see it as a blessing and amazing opportunity to be part of building something.

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10 Oct 2017

5. What do you love about your industry?

  • I love that I can always be young at heart. Advertising culture is youthful, fun, hard-working and colourful.
  • I love the fact that you learn so much about different industries through the brands we service. Even when you pitch on a certain account, you learn so much about that specific industry.

6. Describe your average workday, if such a thing exists.

My days are mostly made up of meetings and solving problems. But that’s the most exciting element – I never know how my day will start or end.

View this post on Instagram

Our latest offering for our newest client @947joburg #CollectiveID

A post shared by Collective ID (@collectiveid_sa) on

Anything can happen!

7. What are the tools of your trade?

  • Do your research.
  • Be relevant. Make sure your team is diverse and represents the South African market we speak to daily.
  • Immerse yourself. You can’t spend your days in the ‘burbs’. You need to immerse yourself, go out there and make this part of your life. Visit Soweto regularly, do something out of your comfort zone like taking a taxi to work, spend your Saturday at a shisa nyama, understand how everyday South Africans live.
  • Read the news every morning before leaving for work, and catch up on Twitter.

8. Who is getting it right in your industry?

Without sounding biased, I feel our company is at the forefront of the transformation agenda in the industry.

We were very honoured to win Marklives 2017’s JHB most transformed agency and, more recently, the 2018 Adfocus Most Transformed and Small Agency of the Year.

9. List a few pain points the industry can improve on.

Gender equality. There have been numerous reports around the gender equality topic, but to me, the most interesting one was the McKinsey&Company annual report ‘Power of Parity’ in 2015, on how advancing women parity can drive and contribute towards global growth.

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Yet, in 2019, women are still under-represented. I feel that gender equality needs to be a priority, so we need to change the way we do things: The way we hire, as well as how we identify female talent, train, support, mentor and promote it.

10. What are you working on right now?

I’m in the process of submitting our nominations for three females in the company to attend a female leadership programme.

We are also about to launch two big campaigns – coming soon!

11. Tell us some of the buzzwords floating around in your industry at the moment, and some of the catchphrases you utter yourself.

‘Debrief’ and ‘reverts’ – because we are in-between campaigns, which is why I’m constantly hearing those words from the teams.

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Recently rebranded advertising agency Collective ID, formerly Ireland Davenport, has announced Brenda Khumalo as the agency's new managing director, effective 1 February 2018...

Issued by Collective ID 9 Feb 2018

My catchphrases are ‘let’s kill them with kindness’ or ‘activate the beast’ to motivate myself and the team to push through challenging times.

12. Where and when do you have your best ideas?

To be honest, it’s mostly at night, when I’m working at home – and when everyone in the house is asleep.

13. What’s your secret talent/party trick?

I love to sing. I used to sing when I was younger, but it’s still a hidden talent of mine…

14. Are you a technophobe or a technophile?

I’m no technology expert, but I’m very ‘for’ it. I believe the world is moving towards digital, so it’s better to get on board.

15. What would we find if we scrolled through your phone?

You’d find that I have over 10 WhatsApp groups. My team and I have a WhatsApp group for every project we are working on. You’d also find lots of pics of my little daughter.

16. What advice would you give to newbies hoping to crack into the industry?

Keep pushing, take the opportunities you are given (no matter how small or big) and fly with them. Above all, work hard and always be kind.

Simple as that. Follow Khumalo on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram; and visit the Collective ID press office, as well as their Facebook, ‏Twitter and Instagram feeds for the latest updates.

*Interviewed by Leigh Andrews.
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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews (@leigh_andrews) AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality. She's also on the Women in Marketing: Africa advisory panel, was an #Inspiring50 2018 nominee, and can be reached at ...