It takes drive, dedication and sometimes, a dose of madness, to make career dreams come true, says Roxanne Boyes, Managing Director of Vizeum Kenya.
At 27 years old, I am four years into my career and 10 years into my career goals. And I’d like to thank both my millennial mind for that (with its very big ambitions), two very influential and understanding mentors (you know who you are) who knew how to manage and nurture it and DAN, for presenting an endless array of opportunities to anyone who is brave enough to take them.
“If you could achieve your 10-year career goal in one year, what would that look like?”
This is one of the many questions I would ask my boss on a regular basis – to which his response was often along the lines of, “You just need to have a bit more patience, Roxanne”. I would then proceed to list all the people who succeeded in achieving huge goals in a very short amount of time, like Tim Ferriss, declaring that I was going to do the same thing and short-circuit my career in just one year (how millennial of me).
But one year later, my boss and I were enjoying a glass of wine on a balcony in Nairobi, toasting to the fact that I had actually managed to do it!
Feel the fear… and do it anyway
Progressing from junior strategist in 2015 in South Africa, to lead strategist for The Coca-Cola Company across 20 African countries in 2017, to Managing Director of Vizeum in Kenya in 2018 has been a whirlwind of learnings and late nights. And though the journey so far has been very quick, it has most definitely been packed with an unbelievable number of challenges and lessons, both professionally and personally… all of which has made for one riveting adventure that still manages to excite and scare me on a daily basis (which I love)!
I’ve come to realise that one will never really be ready for certain things in life. All you can do is be ready to learn, fail and persevere.
Seize the opportunities
As I write this, I am tackling payment issues, staff revenue ratio calculations, reviewing a pitch document and ordering stationery and beer for the office. No one day is the same. That’s the beauty of the African market – it’s bursting with opportunities to learn about every aspect of a business, big or small.
The exponential learning curve that catapulted my growth is the result of a unique corporate working structure combined with a start-up skill culture that I’ve seen across the DAN offices in the sub-Saharan Africa region. This breeds an electric energy and mindset of “do it all, learn it all, work hard and live hard” and it’s contagious!
If you’re brave enough to take on a task, management is brave enough to give it to you. Is it uncomfortable? Scary? Difficult? Yes. Is it worth the jump? YES.
So for anyone within any organisation wanting to tackle a big challenge/project/pitch/position, I say, jump for it.