The Branding Trailblazer – Juanita Khumalo

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Don’t think when you see Juanita Khumalo’s curated and motivating gym selfies on social media, that that is all there is to this smart and ambitious woman –  Juanita comes from humble beginnings.

Juanita’s mother was a sales assistant that single handily managed to make sure Juanita, her siblings and grandmother had what they needed and were provided for.

“At some point in my childhood I used to use candles or lamps to study. I persevered. I didn’t allow my circumstances to define me and influence the outcome I want for my life. This has played a fundamental role in where I am today. It has instilled within me a sense of discipline and perseverance to continue to strive and seek a better life for myself. This has inspired me to want me. To break the ceiling. Redefine what success means for me. The women in my life have played an influential role in the woman I am today. That goes from family, friends to colleagues, you name it,” she says.

Juanita Khumalo is tenacious, fragile, passionate and unassuming, the L’Oréal South Africa brand manager says she has been blessed to achieve many great things in her career such as bringing in the founder of one of her brands to South Africa, which is the first of its kind in her division. “I am continuously learning and growing and becoming sharper at what I do,” she says.

So, how does a woman who has achieved so much in her short life continue to push boundaries?

I always try to remind myself why I started something and where I come from. Your reason for starting will always center you. I come from humble beginnings and that has played a critical factor in my drive, discipline and persevering. I challenge myself by embarking on new tasks however challenging and using the people in my circles as mentors,” Juanita says.

Photo: Provided

As a boss lady, Juanita must use her time very wisely, as time is money especially in this rapidly changing media and creative industry.

“The media and creative industry in South Africa is rapidly evolving.  We have witnessed the increase in embracing and celebrating our history, culture and identity within the industry and becoming unapologetic about it. The media consumption landscape has shifted from consuming content on traditional media platforms to online,” she says.

Many careers which exist today within the creative industry were born because of the change in the media landscape as described above. To name a few, content creators/curators, content marketers, influencers which have become more prevalent over the past few years. The industry will continue to evolve and companies which fail to adapt to the changing environment risk growing behind market trends and becoming extinct,” Juanita adds.

So, where does this barrier breaking Girl Boss see herself in the next year?

“As a fitness and wellness enthusiast and building on the brand, a promotion to senior brand manager and researching options for my MBA for 2020/2021,” she says.

Photo: Provided

Juanita is on the journey of committing her life to achieving an overall state of wellness mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Juanita says she has worked hard to lose 15kg’s in the last year, while making sure she is also looking after her mental health as she embarks on therapy with the quest of overcoming depression, anxiety and insomnia.

Juanita has worked hard in all aspects to get to where she is today. She says the best failure she has ever experienced was failing in university.

“It taught me a lot about perseverance and using your adversities to propel you into achieving your goals. Instead of allowing the experience to define my future, I used the opportunity to do vacation work and internships which provided me with the opportunity to build relationships and gain experience within the corporate environment,” she says.

Through the advice Juanita has been able to progress and learn in her career. Juanita says, make yourself indispensable and don’t be afraid to be vocal in the workplace – voice your opinion. “You gain courage and confidence from doing the things you think cannot do, you can never be over prepared and nice girls don’t get the corner office,” Juanita reminds us.

Photo: Provided

So, what will Juanita Khumalo’s legacy be, I ask the brand building connoisseur?

“Having made an impact and influence in peoples lives through being the best version of myself and fulfilling my God given purpose. I believe that God has blessed me abundantly and I am here to fulfill his purpose by using what he has instilled within me. There are many things I want to accomplish. However, I don’t want what I leave behind materially in the world to be my legacy. It should be how I made people feel and how I touched people’s lives and made them become better human beings,” she says.