Mary Mzumara bringing focus to business!

"If you don’t deliver – you won’t get the opportunity to innovate."
 
Where are you currently located on the planet: Johannesburg South Africa
 
You currently work at Quirk what does Quirk do and what is your role at the company? I’m the Managing Director of Quirk in Johannesburg. My role at Quirk is varied from managing the business which covers financial and HR responsibilities to working with clients on strategies and managing teams. Quirk offers a complete range of digital services from strategy and creative production through to analytics and social media. The Quirk team is made up of 100-plus digital natives (26 in Johannesburg) who deliver results through fresh insights driven by empirical data analysis. (FirstStep.me says that's hectically super cool!)

Where did you kick-start your career and how did you progress to get to where you are now? I started my career in London as an Account Executive when I was a mere 21 years old after I’d completed my Masters degree. It’s tough at the bottom of the agency – you’re the worker – I had to spend late nights making sure pitch teams were fed and watered, binding, filing and all sorted out. As this is a ‘new’ space, I’ve had to teach myself lots and also learned and worked with some really great people along the way. Working with a broad range of clients has allowed me to get lots of exposure. I’m very lucky to work in this space.
 
Do you believe that your daily working career should be ignited with a cup of coffee in the morning?...(FirstStep.me is inspired by coffee!!) YES coffee is critical – but an army marches on its stomach – I believe in keeping the troops fed – they often think I’m fattening them up for something ;-)
 
Any corporate career is a challenging one, is there one challenge that is tougher than the rest? A challenge one day could be a breeze the next day. Every time I’m presented with a challenge I take a deep breath and dive in – I know that I’ll come out the other side having learned something from the experience whatever the outcome.
 
Where do you see your career in next 5 to 10 years developing into? I am focussing on building Quirk into the biggest and best agency in Africa!
 
In terms of the working world do you feel that innovation is the key to sustainability or is it the good old “work hard and sleep when you dead” ideology that is better? A little bit of both. If you don’t deliver – you won’t get the opportunity to innovate. If you don’t innovate then you can’t deliver. So, I’d say it’s that old chicken and egg adage.
 
What has been the most insane experience that has happened in your career? Too many to count! There have been highs and lows. The thing that keeps me going is it’s always interesting and I’m very lucky to work in a space that inspires me.
 
Are there any people in business that inspire you? Too many to say and in too many different ways. Inspiring people are everywhere – I read voraciously so that I can learn from those that have walked the same road.
 
What words of advice do you have for the youth of the world who want to take on a career with the sort of ambition that you have shown? Believe in yourself. Do what you say you are going to do (for yourself and importantly others) so that others believe in you.
 
Finally if you could name your own planet what would you call it? LOL a whole planet – I don’t need one – a Caribbean beach, a laptop, good friends and colleagues – I think that’s all I’d really need. (FirstStep.me says we like your thinking!)