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Thebe bids Limkokwing farewell

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Thebe bids Limkokwing farewell
Thebe bids Limkokwing farewell

For the past 11 years she has been the face and director of corporate and media relations for Malaysian born university, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT). She has arguably set herself up as a corporate PR expert, a brand strategist, a digital media influencer and events management specialist; tittles which have not come easy for the mother of two.

Mercy Rebaone Thebe last week announced that she has finally bowed out and expects to spread her wings elsewhere.

Thebe who also commands a lot of social media following caught up with SHARON MATHALA this past Tuesday when she officially handed over office.

In this candid interview Thebe shares her thoughts on the corporate public relations industry and her next move.

Who is Mercy Thebe

I am a corporate PR expert, a brand strategist, and an events management specialist.

I see myself as a pusher, a dreamer, a force, a vibrantly driven and focused, hardworking young Motswana woman, who without a doubt, will be modest to say she is a lifestyle.

I hold Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication (Film & TV Major and Public Relations Minor) from Curtin University in Australia, and a Diploma in Multimedia, Advertising and Broadcasting from Limkokwing University in Malaysia.

What drives you in life?

I am driven by life and myself. I also don’t look for a reason to wake up every morning, but instead I strive to be the reason others wake up every morning, I keep my excitement about life on fullblast.

I am inspired by the multitudes of people who keep telling me I inspire them through what I do professionally and how I live my life.

When did you realise your passion for public relations and brand management?

I was always passionate about Mass Communication in general as a child, which is why I choose to study a course that embodied all aspects of communicating with the masses, and media was part and parcel of that.

I always knew the profession I wanted, and I was blessed to find a university (LUCT) that provided me with the platform to study for my dream career.

I realised my passion for Public Relations and Brand Management while I was serving my internship at the Public Relations Institute of Malaysia and I got to experience the difference between the real practice versus what we learnt in class.

You recently announced that you parted ways with Limkokwing University, a brand that most people admired your PR expertise and knew you through, why did you decide to leave?

I have been with the University for the past 11years and I believe that I have run my race very well and my contribution to the brand development is evident to many.

It is worth noting that it gives me so much joy to leave the brand as one of Botswana’s private tertiary institution giants it is today.

I am also extremely grateful for the opportunities that I have been afforded by the University to practice my career and the support I was given during my tenure.

Limkokwing will always have a special place in my heart for obvious reasons.

There is talk that there was fall out between yourself and the university management, is this true?

No, I decided to part ways with the University after my contract ended.

I am looking forward to exploring new opportunities that are available within the communications sector.

What is your opinion regarding the Public Relations sector in Botswana?

I believe the PR sector has really grown in the last 10 years although we still have a long way to go to reach the international level.

I have also observed that a lot of individuals within the public relations industry in Botswana lack the proper training for the profession and really do not know what it really entails thereby failing to really service the brands they are representing.

Botswana also needs an effective public relations body e.g #Botswana Institute of Public Relations (BIPR) which will advise, provide information and create opportunities for discussions on all aspects of public relations activities, promote the understanding, development and recognition of public relations and establish and prescribe standards of professional and ethical conduct and ensure the observance of those standards by also encouraging the attainment of professional academic qualification.

When you started back in 2009, your position was previously held by seasoned men in a male dominated field how were you able to keep up?

I believe that when it comes down to it capabilities and qualities of an individual matter more than gender and age.

A great leader inspires, listens, comforts, persuades and motivates those around them.

I personally embrace the teams I work with because together everyone achieves more.

My strategy has always been about recognizing what I know and leveraging on others for the things I don’t know.

What traits would you say you have that has made you stand out?

I am self driven, positive thinker, go-getter, and have the ability to influence those who look up to me in a positive way.

I strive to be the reason why those I interact closely with wake up every morning by inspiring and empowering them to be their very best, both personally and professionally, If you pursue a career that you are passionate about, it is highly likely that you will rise to the top, lead and inspire others.

You need passion and drive to succeed, what really drives me is that I absolutely love what I do.

Has being a woman ever disadvantaged you in any way during your job?

Not at all, if anything I would say that when I first started, most people thought that I was not suitable for the post because of my age, and I worked hard to prove to them that age is just a number and at times age does not guarantee maturity and competency in a job.

Thebe bids Limkokwing farewell
AMBITIOUS: Mercy Thebe

What do you do besides corporate branding?

Event management, social media management, content creation for print, broadcast as well as web is what I do besides corporate branding.

What word of encouragement can you give to youth out there who look up to you and desire to be in the same field as you?

You have to believe in yourself before anyone can believe in you, you also have to be focussed on what you want to achieve, but most importantly you have to be passionate about your job and aim to be the best among the rest in everything you do, never settle for second best.

If you pursue a career that you are passionate about, it is highly likely that you will rise to the top, lead and inspire others.

You need passion and drive to succeed, what really drives me is that I absolutely love what I do.

How do you deal with low moments in your life?

Unfortunately I do not have any life lows as I embrace everything that gets thrown on my path and look at all the challenges that I go through as free learning opportunities in my self-growth journey.

I like the saying that goes; throw me to the wolves and I will come leading the pack as it resonates so much with my life.

I know you are a doting and very hands- on mother, What challenges did you face as a professional working mother?

Not having enough hours in day to fulfill all my responsibilities.

All mothers share in the common task of parenting their children and inherent responsibilities of nurturing, teaching, guiding and loving them, I have to be fully present in my children’s lives, perform my duties at work to my best ability, put in loads of hours into the development of my company, which at times becomes overwhelming.

Mostly not spending as much time as I wish I could with my kids and missing on their little milestones, like recitals, and swimming competitions is frustrating.

What are your future endeavours?

As I’m still trying to figure out what to do next I look forward to any new opportunities that may be available and relevant to my skills and experience.

I believe I have a lot to offer to the corporate industry in terms of communications and strategic brand management outside the education sector.

TGIF, what will you be up to this Friday?

I lost a close family member this week, so I will be in Tonota, my home village, with my family for the funeral arrangements.