WIM Newsletter June 2015
by Andrew Ngozo
Destined for Greatness
Mabel Mabaso, the Chief Executive Officer of Planet Image Productions, had to dabble in at least seven jobs before she found her true calling in the media-production industry. In under a decade since making her debut at Planet Image, Mabel has not only risen to the top at a very young age, but also professes that there is little that she cannot do with regard to media production.
The first thing that one immediately notices when one is in the same room with Mabel is the positivity, confidence and motivation which she exudes. “I am a Christian who believes that I am not in a religion but in a relationship. I am absolute perfection and made in the image of the one who created me. In that respect, I am destined for greatness. I shall achieve whatever it is I set out to achieve,” she enthuses.
Producing Africa’s Biggest Breakfast Show
Mabel has the mandate to steer an organisation that produces Africa’s biggest breakfast show, into the future – and she is well prepared for the task. “My job is by no means an easy one, as I am the first point of contact with external stakeholders, which includes heads of state in Africa. I am ‘the pretty face’ of Planet Image who answers all the questions and runs the business,” Mabel shares. Her daily activities include, but are not limited to, meetings with Planet Image’s departmental heads and salespeople, liaising with suppliers from around the continent, and, believe or not, in the actual production of the breakfast show for Planet Image Productions, being well known for Good Morning Africa. The programme is broadcast on the DStv platform on the Africa Magic Channel 154.
For an individual who many thought would amount to nothing while growing up, Mabel has done well for herself, although the path has been paved with many challenges. “I have had to deal with a lot of personal issues that would make any person stumble. But I have stayed rooted in my faith, as I believe that everything that happens does so for my own good,” she states. “Even the bad things that have happened in my life have only been the ingredients for making me into the better person that I am today. So, whoever rejected me or offended me did so for a good reason.” To a large extent, Mabel owes her success to her insatiable hunger and thirst for knowledge. In part, she says she owes it to her parents, who instilled in her from a very young age the culture that the only way to a better future in this life is for one to have a good education. “I strive to learn to be better all the time, if only to prove to myself that I can do it,” she says.
Mabel admits that, by chance, she can add that her good people management and conflict-resolution skills and letting actions speak for themselves have brought her to where she is in her career and life. “Aside from knowing that I had to sharpen my knowledge and skills academically, I knew I had to learn something new from every piece of literature that I laid my hands on,” Mabel reveals. She adds that, when she started studying law, her mother wanted her to stop her studies, but that she followed her heart – something that she continues to do in all her dealings.
Words of Advice for Leaders
Being in her 20s, one would assume that Mabel has a lot to learn about the art of leadership. Yet, as it turns out, she has a lot of wise words to dispense. “I believe that a good and successful leader is one who is accessible to their employees. I humble myself before all those who work under me and talk to them about anything that is important to them. In that way, we create a camaraderie that makes employees feel that they are not just working for a company, but for a human being who shares in their experiences. If something means so much to your employee, then it’s worth the trouble of you paying some attention to it.”
Mabel further believes that, if a leader leads with purity of heart and honesty and values loyalty, then there is no room for failure. Above all, Mabel is a firm believer that one burns bridges at one’s own peril. “If an employee is going to leave us, they should do so in such a manner that they do not burn bridges. One never knows when one might need to fall back on a previous employer,” she notes. When you are young, dynamic, ambitious, driven and determined to succeed against all odds, the path will be paved with thorns, particularly in the proverbial ‘man’s world’, observes Mabel. “It’s not always easy for the male colleagues to value you for what you are worth. However, I have realised that professional men always respect and appreciate a woman who can sow something or add value to their business or their lives.”
Mabel also has a few words to share with young women who aspire to reaching the point where she is right now. “Be hungry for success and always open yourself up to doing things that you don’t think you are capable of doing,” she says. Mabel continues: “Always remember that the world is full of possibilities and that respect for everyone is paramount. At the same time, one has to be mindful of the fact that even some of the world’s greatest brands have fallen.” She shares that, on a personal note, even when she is in a room full of complete strangers; she maintains her being all the time. “If you are given an opportunity, make the most of it. Milk it until it’s completely dry. Try not to listen so much to what other people say about you, because, if you are going to go about trying to please people, it will get you nowhere,” she advises.
Mabel concludes: As a young woman, there is one thing that you should take with you every waking day. This is that everyone is destined for greatness, but very few people actually achieve it because it is only the few who are willing to take the risks. “Make use of the opportunities, take risks, and make sacrifices – and you will be amazed at the greatness that you will achieve!”