As part of the Jambo Africa Online’s celebration of women trailblazers this Women’s Month in South Africa (immediately after the African Women’s Day on 31 July), this week we feature Zipporah Maubane, the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Africa and Middle East at Zutari (formerly Aurecon), a leading pan African engineering design and advisory firm. 

Zipporah Maubane is an executive who takes accountability for delivering commercial contribution in organizations through marketing communications with a successful track record in the technology, FMCG, oil and logistics sectors. She’s armed with flying academic and vocational credentials achieved both locally and abroad. A Global MBA candidate with Berlin’s Institute of International Business Relations, she has already garnered a BA degree majoring in English from the University of Limpopo and Public Relations (PR) Certificatefrom the Damelin College (SA). While living and working in the UK, she further he studies by obtaining the coveted Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Advanced Marketing Communications Diploma  through the Cambridge Marketing College. To tap into the UK work ethic, in 2016 she did an Executive Leadership Programme at Bain & Company.

A global marketing architect, Zipporah has risen through the ranks of the marketing and communications profession into senior strategic roles in Rest of Africa, Middle East and the UK repositioning brands in B2B and B2C markets. She has over time seen the importance played by technology in marketing and the critical nature of digital marketing in providing insights and analytics that help brands understand customer behaviour and experiences. For both the B2B and B2C, she has implemented digital marketing campaigns that delivered results attributable to revenue generation by connecting with customers, managing crisis communications, driving internal communications for a winning culture, building reputation and relationships with stakeholders in governments and the investor community.

Having spent many years working in senior roles in marketing, Zipporah has honed a skill in working with chief executives and Executive Committee members in integrating company messaging into a narrative that could be communicated across multiple platforms to customers and different stakeholders to build a consistent and coherent overall brand experience.  

An unblemished professional track record 

Before joining Zutari, Zipporah spent the past few years being part of a South African corporate success story as a key player in the Executive team that led the turnaround of the JSE-listed technology company, Altron. She is credited with leading teams in delivering a brand and communications strategy that clarified the company’s new purpose and value proposition to all stakeholders. She implemented the marketing operating model and established a team of marketing professional across the Altron Group. 

Before this, she spent six years at The Coca-Cola Company, working in the South and Eastern Africa markets leading communications to consumers, stakeholders, and the bottling partners of the beverage giant. She was an integral team member of several award-winning consumer campaigns to drive brand love, consumption, and volume. She also played a key role in building and delivering the Coca-Cola narrative through engagement with media, the health government regulators, and detractors on the sugar tax legislation. She is highly experienced in delivering complex marketing projects in many geographies while keeping the team focused and energized.

Zipporah also spent a year as a Marketing Consultant assisting both CMOs and Marketing Agencies in accelerating implementation of projects requiring intense collaboration and engagement inside organizations. She has worked on projects for Gilbarco, MTN and Net1.

Conquering unchartered territories

Zipporah’s passionate advocacy to get more women entering the world of ICT and engineering is unparalleled: “In the post-COVID-19 world, the need for skills in technology and engineering has never been so stark. The need for female professionals and entrepreneurs in these fields is even starker,” Zipporah said matter-of-factly.

“I came into contact with technology early on in my career, almost 21 years ago, when working for a logistics and parcels distribution company in the UK, DPD, which was the first one in Europe to launch the track and trace technology enabling customers to track their parcels through the website. It was transformative for customers and the company saving costs and time. Customers didn’t need to stay the whole day at home or forever alert at the office waiting for their parcels to be delivered, they were able to schedule their daily activities around delivery time without any disruptions. At the time the company was led by a female chief executive and I saw first hand how capable women are in driving innovation and implement digital transformation that was core to operations.

“Today digital transformation has become a priority for many businesses, data needs to be secured and protected in the cloud and executives require sophisticated data analytics tools to enable them to make informed decisions. Engineering design companies are also introducing technologies that can digitally give virtual view of infrastructure projects prior to construction. Young female engineers are confidently stepping into their roles as corporates intentionally seek to create environment for them to thrive and contribute meaningfully while developing their careers. However as society and business we should endeavour to support young female students studying STEM subjects at high school level to ensure that they can be admitted into these fields at institutions of higher learning therefore creating a pipeline of professionals for both public and private sectors.

“Technology has opened the world of business and reduced barriers to entry. Many women were able to start businesses on digital platforms such as Instagram and Facebook including websites, during the covid-19 pandemic,  without overheard costs associated with bricks and mortar retail spaces. This trend indicates what is possible through technology and the need to make it accessible in township and rural areas as well in line with the UN 2030 Agenda of ‘leaving no one behind’ in a digital context means leaving no one offline.

“I believe women are great leaders in all spheres of life and can enhance their leadership by equipping themselves with understanding technology and improving their digital savviness. As they become advocates of technology they will automatically increase new technology adoption in the workplace and society due to their natural influence.”

She mentors aspiring young – particularly women – marketers, writes Op-eds and is a speaker at marketing and communications international conferences. She has recently been listed as one of the top influential executives in Africa by West and East African business publication, Tropics magazine, in 2021.

The following are some of the multiple awards the industry had bestowed upon her:

  • Loeries Awards – Altron Television runner in best television award category
  • Creative Circle – Altron Television Commercial 3rd Place
  • Coca-Cola Global Excellence Award (Consumer communications campaign) – 2014
  • Internal Marketing Services Award – Sasol Oil 2010
  • MD Award for Innovation in Internal Communications – Sasol Oil 2008
  • Coca-Cola Values Champion Nominee – Coca-Cola South Africa 2013
  • Coca-Cola Values Champion nominee – 2016.

A consummate reader and a vociferous thought leader, here is a sample of some of her Opinion Editorials: