Having been part of the Advertising Media Association of South Africa (AMASA) committee for just over a year now, I’ve come to realise that “transformation” is not a noun but a verb. If you believe in transformation and want to achieve it, you have to act upon it, not just talk about it.
The problem with constantly talking about transformation is that it seems that nothing ever happens. Yet, while most of the industry heavyweights and bodies talk about transformation and achieving diversity, AMASA executes on it. What attracted me to wanting to be part of AMASA, as opposed to other organisations, is the purpose behind its existence. Education may be the pillar but, at the core, it is to change lives. I’ve seen this happen: we are literally changing people’s lives and, through that, positively and consciously achieving transformation in the industry.
Transformation through our learnerships
We recently renamed our learnership programme from the Amasa Learnership Programme (ALP) to the Gordon Patterson ALP. This is particularly significant for not just AMASA but the industry as a whole. Patterson epitomised and personified our vision, and we hope that, by renaming the programme after him, his legacy will live on forever. He was passionate about the youth; he was passionate about diversity and mentored young black industry entrants. In life, he’d touched the lives of many young professionals, and we want to extent his golden laugh to those who’ll never meet him. May he rest in peace.
The GP ALP identifies deserving candidates from within and outside the industry and empowers them with a media management course. Having lectured one of the modules, I am proud to say that the course is of value and provides relevant knowledge that helps propel candidates.
Executing on transformation
I’ve also had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing deserving candidates —an enlightening experience. It’s highlighted two key important things about AMASA:
- What we are doing is not just important but necessary. I came face-to-face with the hardships that many youths face, and therefore our work is invaluable.
- There’s still a lot of work required in order to achieve our vision, and the implication is that we need the support of the industry in order to achieve our goal. It’s not about AMASA vs other industry bodies; we are all on the same side. It’s therefore imperative that we work together to achieve this feat.
The interview process has also shown me that there are a lot of people in need of formal education in order to upskill and accelerate their careers. Not limited to new entrants into the industry, the GP ALP also helps enhance the careers of those already employed.
In my personal capacity, I do a lot of mentorship and help people wherever I can. Being part of the committee has exposed me to likeminded people and this has given me more energy to continue with what I do best, which is to help others. This year’s committee members are impeccable, a group of individuals who’re just as passionate as I am, if not more. They are professional and are working extremely hard to bring about the necessary and desired change.
Playing hard to achieve transformation
AMASA hosts the following fundraising events: golf day, workshop, AMASA Awards and AMASA party. While these are predicated on entertainment, the purpose behind them is to ensure that we achieve our goal. All of these help raise the necessary funds to help identify more talents and access the deepest parts of our country, thereby finding deserving candidates.
Not only do we host fundraising events, we also add value to the industry by hosting monthly forums which aim to bring trends in the industry to the fore. These also provide an excellent networking platform.
I personally have been tasked with establishing new fundraising projects, such as the new inter-agency five-aside football tournament for agencies (ATL, BTL, media, PR, etc) and clients. The money raised will be used to pay for the education of identified candidates.
AMASA has also recently engaged with the Advertising Media Forum (AMF) and will be collaborating on a transformation mentorship programme to launch later this year.
All of this is fulfilling for me personally, and I know that it is fulfilling for the rest of the committee, too. Transformation is not a nice to have; it’s the right thing to do. It has tangible benefits but should be preceded by the desire, not to necessarily gain or profit from it, rather to create a positive impact.
I encourage industry heavyweights and other bodies to join us in all our efforts — true transformation is in collective action.