Q5: We know you’re not a fan of the term “diversity”. What would a truly inclusive workplace look like to you?
Khanyi Mpumlwana: The ECD grew up in Khayelitsha and met her wife erhontshini. The creative director used the ramp to get into the building. The creative team both don’t really speak English. And all of them are in the room because they’re brilliant at their jobs. A somewhat reductive demonstration, but you get the point.
Q5: There’s a lot of talk about the need for conversations to effect change in the advertising and marketing industry. What can we do to ensure those conversations are effective, and lead to actual change?
KM: A culture of mentorship. Accountability. A well-written to-do list. An industry project manager who takes minutes at public forums and follows up with an email to check if the promises were actioned. I don’t know. Even a list of things the individual can do to turn the conversation about inclusion into a tangible experience.
Q5: You’ve risen through the ranks at FCB. What advice would you give to young women who are just starting their careers in adland?
KM: Your EQ will get you everywhere. The industry needs intuitive, empathetic people with strong minds and warm hearts. You have it. You’re already a better leader.
Q5: What has been the biggest challenge for you personally, over the course of your career?
KM: Honestly? Trying to find the time to feed my insatiable need to make purpose-driven work.
Q5: What’s happening with Find New Words? Where are you going to take it in 2020?
KM: I was going to reply to this with “refer to previous response,” haha. Things slowed down quite a bit, but we’re working on picking right back up again. We’ve had a couple of conversations with some really excited people — we’re hoping to start with the education part of our plan in 2020.
- Connect with Mpumlwana on LinkedIn
Carey Finn (@carey_finn) is a writer and editor with over decade and a half of industry experience, having covered everything from ethical sushi in Japan to the technicalities of roofing, agriculture, medical stuff and more. She’s also taught English and journalism, and dabbled in various other communications ventures along the way, including risk reporting. As a contributing writer to MarkLives.com, her regular column “Q5” hones in on strategic insights, analysis and data through punchy interviews with inspiring professionals in diversive fields.