ABN Group Head of Corporate Communications, Nola Mashaba is part of the team that is spearheading a fundraising drive to build a home of safety for children at the Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre, Alexandra.
The ABN Education Trust is hosting a high tea of gateau and games to raise funds for the initiative on 13 March at Emoyeni in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Run by Lizzy Monyela, the home houses infants and toddlers who have been orphaned, abused or abandoned. Presently the children live in two makeshift bedrooms in a section of a warehouse.
We chat to Mashaba about her work.
What does your job as Head of Corporate Communications for the ABN Group entail?
As a member of the executive committee at ABN, I serve as a spokesperson for the group and oversee communication and stakeholder relation strategies on the African continent. I ensure that the group's mission is well-understood by the public, government and other key stakeholders in the private sector and highlight the contribution ABN is making in presenting a more balanced view of Africa to the world.
I also liaise with senior management, the board of a company and maintain regular dialogue with members of Parliament and officials, and also devise the group’s positioning.
I provide research and analysis support and monitor any policy developments that may affect the organisation.
I am also responsible for conceptualising and implementing ABN360's communication and stakeholder relation strategies throughout the company's operations in Africa.
I strive to improve the company's relationships with regulators, legislators and other government representatives. I create value and empower people by accurately and passionately growing the communities we operate in. I also manage corporate reputations and the overall assessment of the organisation by our stakeholders, to protect and defend the organisation when it is facing a challenge to its reputation.
What part of your job do you find most exciting?
Giving meaning to those whose lives may seem to have a hopeless future. I enjoy the corporate social investment (CSI) part of my job, which aims to address a major deficit in education, job creation and building a sustainable foundation for children of Africa.
In 2011, we launched the ABN Education Trust - a two-pronged capacity building programme, whose aim is to first develop the communities we operate in and to support other non-governmental organisations; and secondly to empower children with the necessary skills to become responsible community members.
The ABN Education Trust also awards students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds bursaries to study financial journalism at tertiary institutions.
This is our commitment to education, social and community development, as part of our corporate culture, to reinforce "giving back", add value and grow the communities we operate in. The intention is to build a sustainable and supportive foundation to grant children an equal opportunity and chance to grow and become functional adults who will in the future benefit society.
What did you study at tertiary level?
I hold a Bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Cape Town and an Honours degree from the University of South Africa, majoring in Organisational and Consumer Psychology.
Are there specific personality traits that a person in your position should possess?
Common traits of a corporate communication professionals include strong communication skills, ability to speak and write well, be able to engage people at all levels, confidence, team leaders and quick learners.
Social responsibility forms part of your job – please detail some of the projects your company is involved in?
* Each year the ABN Group hosts a Christmas party for approximately 50 children at the Thuthuzela Aid Community Centre. ABN is currently in the process of acquiring a new home for the children and will hopefully be able to do so this year.
* We are media partner for Rage in the fight against rhino poaching.
To book a place at the high tea, contact Gilly Ramalekana on 010 590 9609 or email Gilly.Ramalekana@ABN360.com