Mbuso Khoza was appointed CEO of Content Nation Media (under license to Condé Nast) recently, following her stint as acting-CEO since March 2018, during which she has been instrumental in executing a turnaround strategy and repositioning of the publications.
As such the business has undergone several groundbreaking developments, such as the repositioning of the Glamour and House & Garden magazines, whose content and look-and-feel have transitioned to be accessible and appealing to South Africa’s black middle and upper class.
Speaking on the appointment, Khoza said; “I am really honoured to be at the helm of an entity that publishes such prestigious brands as ours. The journey has been challenging, but equally fulfilling.”
“There has not been a better time for leadership in the media industry to be put to the test than now. As contradictory as it may sound, the industry is all about survival of the fittest – the fittest being the leanest! I am blessed to be working with a lean but mean and astute team of professionals, who will do anything to protect our brands.”
Here, she tells us more about her team, that it’s the colourful personalities she’s worked with that she loves most about her career, and that she feels strongly about ‘leaving’, as that is what she did to get to where she is today…
Congrats on your appointment. How do you feel about it?
I have been in this position for a while, so not much has changed other than that my title has gotten shorter. It does feel good though to know that my appointment is now sealed.
What does your role entail?
I oversee all functional areas of the business concerning our publications, Glamour, GQ and House & Garden, including the brand extensions, Glamour Hair, GQ Style, Gourmet and Design Directory. I am responsible for the overall strategic, as well as operational management of the company, overseeing key functional areas, such as finance, sales, editorial, digital, production and circulations, ensuring that the business is run optimally and profitably.
Our industry is quite volatile and I have to ensure that the business evolves into an integrated omnichannel one. In addition to my day-to-day responsibilities, I also manage stakeholder relations and facilitate communications, PR, as well as licensor and holding company relations.
What excites you most about the agency and where it’s going?
I love that creativity and entrepreneurial thinking is the order of the day, with little room for ‘best practice’ and ‘this is how we do things here’. I thrive on crafting strategies and seeing them come to life. The most exciting part though is that our leadership has given me a blank canvas and I love to paint and tweak my art as the business landscape and internal resources of the day allow.
What do you love most about your career?
People, without a doubt! I love to contribute positively to lives. The majority of my colleagues are creatives, so I am surrounded by the most colourful of personalities. It always gives me joy to see how all of us are differently gifted and yet able to work towards achieving a common goal.
Any other career highlights you’re particularly proud of?
Firstly, it would be leaving the legal profession, after spending a good six years at Law School for a career in Marketing, which at the time was deemed to be below my standards by some. Secondly, it would be leaving an established and highly dignified career in FMCG, one of the most revered industries, moving into the unknown, including joining the media industry at an executive level. My career path has definitely been more interesting than yours!
Tell us a bit about your experience and how this has equipped you for your new position.
Whist FMCG is undoubtedly the best training ground for any aspiring professional. With time I was getting complacent as a sizeable chunk gets handed to on a silver platter.
The above experiences have taught me that ‘leaving’ should not always be perceived in a negative light as there is a lot of self-awareness and growth that can come out of it. ‘Leaving’ can be liberating and has made me fearless, as I am always looking forward to the newness that awaits ahead. Do the right thing, leave!
What are you most looking forward to/enjoying so far?
I am looking forward to the best, which happens to be the unknown most of the time. In our industry, terms such as ‘year on year’ and ‘quarter on quarter’ have become meaningless. Everything is about the now. I enjoy the hassle more than anything. It’s not for the fainthearted though, I should caution!
What’s at the top of your to-do list (at work)?
Getting the staff morale to its highest levels. Nothing beats an upbeat workforce. Our strategy mantra as the group company is ‘to grow brands, audiences and revenue (the BAR)’. With my team, we grow the BARP, with ‘P’ representing People.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to for work?
I am currently watching recordings of the Discovery Channel’s Undercover Billionaire. I am fascinated by startups and watching cancer survivor, Glenn Stearns build an empire out of tremendously lean resources is mind-blowing. One of my goals is to enrol for an entrepreneurship course, with a focus on lean startups.
Tell us something about yourself not generally known?
I started school when I was three years old and completed matric when I was 15, because I could read and write from when I was about two years old. I have been a bookworm almost my entire life. If studying alone could pay my bills, I would leave my job anytime!
SOURCE: Jessica Tenant