I have had the amazing privilege of fulfilling many rewarding positions in a vast sphere of different industries over the past 25 years. It’s even more amazing, looking back, at how invaluable my law degree has been on my journey – without ever practicing as an attorney!
I studied with a bursary from Media 24 and completed a BProc degree at the University of Johannesburg in 1996. I immediately started working at Beeld newspaper as a journalist. At Beeld I covered many “beats” and eventually ended up on the sports desk where I discovered my early passion in the “business” of sport and publishing.
I travelled extensively all over the country and abroad and during this time I was being exposed to many sports management companies as well as different publishing houses and professional commercial sporting outfits. My legal background not only guided me on responsible reporting and ensured that we steer clear of defamation suits, but it also helped me identify business opportunities in publishing, eventing and sponsorship procurement and management. I joined a start-up in publishing in-house rugby publications for the various rugby unions in South Africa, and while successfully getting this venture off the ground, I also started a cycling magazine, which we published for fourteen years.
I eventually decided to focus on cycling as a business and identified the mass participation sporting industry as something which I wanted to pursue.
During this time, I started numerous mass participation cycling events. Contracts, engagement with government institutions as well as legal requirements and compliance formed a large part of the operations in this business, and I referred to my legal education on an almost daily basis. I later sold this business and became part of the executive management at a larger sports import and eventing company. Operating on boardroom level again brought my legal background into play to ensure proper adherence to my fiduciary duties.
I again moved on after selling my shares in this company, and decided to follow yet another passion which was born out of the significant marketing platforms that had to be created for sporting events as well as managing high level sponsors return on investment expectations. I realised that providing sponsorship value and ensuring event growth, was very similar to optimising the marketing platforms for commercial entities, and it was then that I started consulting on creating and managing highly engaging marketing campaigns for major corporations.
Again, my legal background made me feel very comfortable in the new corporate engagement environment into which I thrust myself. Earlier this year, I was privileged to be appointed as marketing head of Southern Business School and now I’ve been transformed into the marketing head for the STADIO Faculty of Commerce Administration and Management and the Faculty of Law. Both these faculties resonate well with my skillset and career path up to now as I have implemented almost all the principles which are taught within them at some point in my career.
While I had to rely on workplace experience to learn about commerce, management and administration, my legal degree gave me access to this wonderful journey. I have never regretted my study choice.