MEET: Mmane Boikanyo, Head of Marketing and Communications, Faculty of Health

Posted on April 24, 2020

At 28 years old, former UP student Mmane Boikanyo now heads up Marketing and Communications at the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences. She tells us about her daily duties, why she loves her job, and about a few of her favourite things.

What does your day-to-day role entail?

The days are never the same. But usually I implement the Faculty of Health Sciences marketing and communications initiatives, including overseeing the use of the brand, events with the marketing coordinator, and content management for the faculty’s digital media and website. I am also involved with stakeholder relations on a daily basis with the Dean’s office, head of departments, UP DIA and the media. Administratively, my role entails a lot of writing, collating information, and assisting various with marketing and communications needs both from a strategic or tactical level.

The Faculty of Health Sciences is a key player in the national response to COVID-19, and is involved in almost 30 projects aimed at fighting this pandemic. What has been the most difficult part of managing communications for the faculty in such a rapidly changing environment?

Having to be extremely cautious about what and how we respond to certain aspects pertaining to the pandemic. At the end of the day, you do not want to contribute to any mass hysteria or panic. The Faculty of Health Sciences has been very proactive in terms of sharing information from our experts and putting together content to educate the public.

What do you enjoy most about your job and why?

I enjoy how unpredictable the days are and that there is always an opportunity to improve some aspect of our department. Most importantly, I get to be inspired everyday by the amazing work that my colleagues do in the Health Sciences space. There is always something new and cutting edge that the #LifeChangers are always working on, and being able to add value from a marketing and communications aspect is a joyous experience.

What is your least favourite part of the job?

Having to deal with colleagues who do not adhere to the brand guidelines of the University.

Do you have any suggestions for making UP an even better place to work?

There is always room for improvement in any organisation. I think we should encourage a stronger sense of synergy between the different departments, and have a more customer-centric approach to our engagements with both internal and external stakeholders.

Which project or task do you consider your most significant accomplishment in your career to date?

There are quite a few things but my most significant accomplishment is being where I am in my career at 28. If someone had told me that I’d be head of Marketing and Communications at one of the biggest faculties in South Africa, I would not have believed them. From having to sell sweets at primary and high school in order to afford the bare necessities to reaching this point really is a blessing.

What attracted you to UP?

When I was a student, we used to refer to UP as the University of Pressure because you had to work really hard to get your degree! UP offers employees the opportunity to grow in many aspects. Henry Kissinger once said, “A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure.” We come in as a chunk of coal and the UP system puts us under significant pressure to become diamonds.

What do you do in your free time?

Away from work, I am less feisty and more relaxed! I am pro-self-development and I live in the moment; I am definitely less calculated in my personal space. I spend my free time with friends and family – all work and no play makes me dull!

What are your personal likes and dislikes?

I like good food, and travelling, and I love growing plants. I cannot tolerate any form of disrespect. I am also not a fan of laziness and pessimists.

Is there a piece of advice that you have received that you would like to share with colleagues?

“No one owes you anything. If you want something out of life, go out and get it. Once you accept that, life becomes easier to live.”

Mmane’s favourites:

Sport: Netball and football

Food: Dombolo with lamb stew.

Dream destinations: Once we clear of this pandemic I am going to Morocco, the Maldives, Santorini and Rwanda.

Movies: Set It Off

Sitcom: My Wife and Kids is a definite favourite and Family Guy.

Actors: Viola Davis and Michelle Rodriguez

Musician: Sade, TLC and The Script

All-time hero: Maya Angelou

- Author Tukkievaria

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