Do what makes your heart sing – Tumi Sebopa

Tumi Sebopa is the powerhouse brand manager behind one of the continents leading food brands under the famous brand’s umbrella.

Having worked extensively in the FMCG industry, Tumi continues to lead in her chosen field and is an inspiration to marketers across the continent.

She is also leading the culture of reading on the continent through founding Inception Book Club which has the vision of bringing women and men from all walks of life together in celebration of words through books 

Tell us about your professional journey 

I studied marketing and started my career as an intern, after my internship I moved to the FMCG industry where I worked in client services as a Franchise Specialist for a couple of years before moving to a branding role.

After a few years in the FMCG industry, I moved to a position as an Assistant brand manager for a global fast-food brand. I later moved to my current role, where I am a Brand Manager at Famous Brands.

What lesson guided you through your career professional path?

The 2 biggest lessons I learned along the way were:

• To always be open to learning: 

When I started out in the FMCG industry I wanted to be a marketer but my director at the time told me that in order for me to be a great marketer one day I would need to understand the field/in-store environment.

I had to promise him that I’d work with clients and in an in-store environment for at least 2 years before moving on to a marketing role. At the time, I made the promise even though at times it felt like I was delaying my career progress in marketing.

I kept my promise and ended up staying longer than 2years. Today I am super grateful for his advice because the experience taught me so much about the in-store environment, understanding the end consumer, learning to work with different people on the ground and understanding different consumers segments and their needs.

I eventually moved on to a branding role and to this day when I work on any marketing campaign I always consider the implementation on the ground because I understand the challenges and opportunities in a store environment.

Every bit of experience will be beneficial in your career - Tumi Sebopa Click To Tweet

• Invest in yourself

When you first start working and getting a salary it’s so tempting to want to buy all the nice things money can buy but I would advise any young person to invest in their skills because that is what will help you grow in the long run.

Tell us how you started your book club – Inception book club, and your long-term expectations for it?

A few years ago I’d often post the events I’d attend and the books I was reading. I noticed that a lot of women would ask me about the books or events so I started thinking of ways to bring women together to network on a monthly basis without breaking the bank.

I wanted to create a platform that anyone could come to whether you are a student, unemployed or a Director. That is where the idea of Inception Book Club came from.

I simply wanted to create a platform that allows women to continually learn and network, regardless of your background or life stage. The first book club was in Feb 2017, we read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In and there were 11 ladies who attended.

What I originally created as a platform for other women has taught me more about myself and has become one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.

I have loved seeing the networking that has happened between the ladies, new friendships have developed, some of the ladies have gained new clients and we get to read so many different books that teach us about ourselves and other people as every month brings an opportunity for a new topic.

What has been your top book club read so far and why?

That’s a tough one because we have read over 20 books. If I had to choose I’d go with Equal But Different by Dr. Judy Dlamini.

The book covers the stories of 14 women who have succeeded in their careers and they share stories of their career journeys. I am very passionate about the empowerment of women and that book spoke to that.

What I loved is the fact that it covered the stories of different women to show that there is no one way to success, everyone’s journey is different and that is something that I truly believe in.

The cherry on top at the book review was having Dr. Judy Dlamini join us, she is such an authentic and inspirational woman. Discussing the book with her made an already great book even better because she shared her journey and life lessons with us in an intimate setting.

Who are some of the dream authors you’d like to read at your book club?

We have read most of my favorite authors so I can’t think of any more authors I’d like to read, however, there are still many books I’d love to read.

One thing I love is having inspirational guests or authors join us. We have been joined by the amazing Khanyi Dhlomo to review Marianne Williamson’s – A Return To Love.

That was a breathtaking experience and very different because most times when you read about Khanyi Dhlomo or watch her interviews you get to know about her career journey and she got to share some pearls of wisdom about spirituality and self-awareness with us. I would still like to be joined by Redi Tlabi, Dikgang Moseneke, Wendy Luhabe, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and Phuti Mahanyele.

It’s always amazing being joined by people who bring different perspectives to the book club and the people mentioned above would allow us to discuss politics, business, women’s issues and the justice system in SA, which are topics we often discuss at the book club.

In 2019 what doors are you breaking open personally and professionally?

“When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets” that’s a line from I Was Here by Beyoncé.

I love that song because as each year goes by one realizes how fast time flies. In 2019 I definitely want to take more risks and do the things I have always wanted to do. I want to complete my Ph.D., grow my career, travel and touch the lives of more young women in Africa.

In 2019 I definitely want to take more risks and do the things I have always wanted to do - Tumi Sebopa Click To Tweet

Any advice for our motherland moguls as we begin the new year?

I would advise all the motherland moguls out there to follow their hearts and do what makes their hearts sing.

We often focus on what the world defines as “success” but I think there is no better success than doing what you truly love. Once you find it give it your all, the universe will sort out the rest…

Wishing everyone a fulfilling 2019!

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