CEO OF COLLABORATIVE STAKEHOLDER MOVEMENT Starting her career at South African Airways, Manuel rose up the ranks to become head of department in training before setting out on her own. She completed her MBA with the Heriot Watt Business School in Edinburgh, Scotland. Currently she is CEO of Collaborative Stakeholder Movement and executive for the Atlantis Special Economic Zone project office. She also serves on the board of the National Sea Rescue Institute and the Western Province Rugby Union – where she is the only woman on the board. She is also the vice-chair of the South African Renewable Energy Business Incubator (Sarebi). She was executive director of the Cape IT Initiative for two years before joining the Cape Chamber of Commerce. Masemola graduated with a BA degree in Live Performance and Motion Picture from Afda in 2002. She is a founding member of the urban pop group Gang of Instrumentals – she also cowrites the group’s songs and is its lead singer. It is signed to Black Soul Ink, a company Masemola co-founded. She is part of the company’s management team and she also co-founded the production company Black Brain Pictures. Black Brain Pictures was my biggest break. We came out of tertiary, had a concept and pitched it to SABC 1 for a R4m tender. They didn’t take us on at first. But we didn’t give up. We decided to raise the money ourselves to shoot an episode of the sitcom and went back to show them that we can actually do this. They believed in us enough to give us a chance, but provided us with mentorship and partnered us with experienced producers to make sure we could execute the production of the sitcom. We had to learn soft business skills by first understanding the principles of managing a production and all the costs that come with it, such as paying staff, PAYE and tax. We’ve had to do courses, do a lot of reading and surround ourselves with business owners and business mentors. You need to find out what success means for you as an individual. There will always be someone better than you, do not compare yourself with others. Secondly, in the corporate world, it is easy to be consumed with the next big job you need to do. Do the best you can to fulfil the role of your current job. Focus on what you are doing and do it well. Finally, take people along with you. As much as you want to be given opportunities, you also need to give people opportunities.
ANY ADVICE FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO MAKE IT IN YOUR SECTOR?