Meet Zimbabwe’s Young Manager of the Year

Bornwise Mtonzi Features Correspondent
Ruvarashe Matambo’s business aptitude mutes stereotypes about women. At 30, Matambo heads the client services team at Columbus DDB, one of Zimbabwe’s biggest advertising and marketing agencies. She recently boosted her resume with the Megafest Young Manager of the Year award for 2015. In an interview recently, Matambo said she had had an exciting year in her short, seven-year career.

“It has been seven years since I started this profession and it has been the best for me. I had not imagined I would end up here but I am enjoying it and doing extremely well,” she said.

“Growing up an ‘A’ Grade sciences student, I had all hopes of becoming a doctor. Life then took what I term a little turn which resulted in me not going to medical school soon after high school at Arundel in Harare,” she said.

“I had a baby soon after high school and I would want to urge young girls who may have the same experience that sometimes life gives you a second chance, sometimes it doesn’t.

“The trick is to not wait and see which way it will go, get up, do something and do it today!”

Matambo said she took up marketing and started working at an advertising agency as an account executive.

She hailed Parkvoo Mutendera and Barry Mnandi for opening up the path she is following today.

“I was introduced to advertising in 2008 by the two gentlemen and I believe they made me what I am today. I started working as an entry level account executive and learning the ropes of the industry was very interesting with these two,” she said.

Matambo oversees accounts of some of the biggest brands in Zimbabwe.

She attributes her successes to building lasting relationships with clients, prioritising her clients’ needs and commitment to getting her work done.

Among her first big projects included the launch of the First Mutual Medical Savings Fund (now First Mutual Health) in 2009 which she created from scratch.

“These types of jobs are my favourite as they involve covering a lot of fundamental steps prior to the actual launch and allow one to broaden his or her mind,” she said

Matambo said the advertising field involves a lot of long hours.

“There are many days where we watch the sun rise from the office. People never seem to understand how that happens but that is the nature of our business. It’s about meeting deadlines,” she said.

Over the years, Matambo has worked on other brand building campaigns for clients in many sectors including hospitality, banking, telecoms, insurance, motor, retail and fashion.

Some of the brands she has worked on are Edgars and Jet, Tristar Insurance, Nissan, Liquid Telecom, Zimnat Lion, Cresta and TM Pick ‘n’ Pay to name but few.

In her short advertising career, Matambo has spearheaded campaigns that have won awards at the Ngoma Advertising Awards in the “Brand Activation of the Year” category.

Matambo leads the team that was endorsed by TM Pick ‘n’ Pay Africa to be the only advertising team outside of South Africa handling brand management for Pick ‘n’ Pay Zimbabwe independently.

Pick ‘n’ Pay marketing strategies and activities for all its African operations come from Young & Rubicam, a marketing firm in South Africa, except for Zimbabwe.

Matambo enjoys the latitude one has to come up with different ideas and executions that can easily build the brand.

Under her belt is another award winning initiative, Christmas Carnivals for TM Pick ‘n’ Pay supermarkets.

The carnivals were a first and brought over 40 different brands together to co-market under one single retail brand.

Speaking on challenges faced by women in advertising, Matambo believes that although Zimbabwe has progressed encouragingly in offering equal opportunities to men and women, there is a lot more that can be done.

She says women are still inadequately represented in many sectors, advertising being no different.

“One of the things I noticed and was pleased by at the Megafest Awards was that all the nominees in the Young Manager of the Year category were female,” she said.

“At times we only have ourselves to blame as women as we are not always willing or ready to take up positions of influence even where opportunities are opened to us.

“So well done to all the young ladies who are being assertive, fearless and want to be relevant in their respective jobs,” she added.

Matambo is also secretary of the Zimbabwe Association for Accredited Practitioners in Advertising (ZAAPA), the official industry body for the advertising agencies in Zimbabwe.

ZAAPA is made up of all the agencies that are accredited with the ADMA. This position has allowed her to expand her knowledge of the industry.

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