Ondela Mlandu speaks passion, learning and thriving

Ondela Mlandu is the head of media at Positive Dialogue. She originally comes from a journalistic and creative background, but her career path has launched her into the other side of this world: PR and content creation.
Ondela Mlandu, head of media at Positive Dialogue
Ondela Mlandu, head of media at Positive Dialogue

Passionate about the world she works in, Ondela Mlandu has worked hard to climb up the ladder to where she is now. After working in writing and media creation for a while, she decided to take time to see what happens on the other side of it in PR.

Here, she tells us more about her work, who she is, and what her plans are for the future…

Bizcommunity What does your role entail, and what does your average day at work look like?

My role entails creating captivating copy, podcasts and video content that will set companies apart from their competition by using digital media tools.

Bizcommunity What do you love most about your work?

I love the digital age because it comes with a plethora of ways to address communication challenges. The PR industry is embracing digital tools such as video content, podcast creation and social media to engage with their client’s audiences. I love that video and podcast content creation brings the subject matter to life and can make some of the most complex subjects simplified so that a wider audience can understand.

Bizcommunity Could you tell us a bit more about your career path prior to your current role?

I come from a journalistic background with experience in journalism, digital marketing and radio broadcasting. I’ve been fortunate enough to contribute to print publications such as Mail and Guardian, Women’s Health Magazine, True Love, Modern Wellness and Getaway Magazine. I’ve also contributed travel content to national radio stations such as Power FM and Metro FM.

In addition to that, I have hosted podcasts and video interviews for entrepreneurship platforms such as Go Hustle, Heavy Chef and the Stream where I’ve had the opportunity to sit with influential business owners and entrepreneurs in South Africa. I’m now in the PR space at Positive Dialogue and it’s been interesting to get a glimpse of both worlds and how they work simultaneously.

Bizcommunity Tell us a bit more about projects you have worked on which have shown success.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be led by amazing women who have entrusted me with great responsibility. During my time at Women’s Health, editor-in-chief Dan Weakley encouraged me to start a podcast for Media24’s women empowerment career platform Go Hustle and that’s how the podcast bug has bitten me. The podcast has been a great success.

Bizcommunity Describe your creative process when it comes to coming up with new ideas.

I don’t have a specific creative process that I stick to, however I’m a very visual person who believes in the power of the pen, so I write things down before I start any project. I use the old-school method of creating mind maps to establish how a project can unfold. Sometimes, I work backwards and imagine the success of the project before tracing back to the steps of conception. Those are the perks of being a dreamer, you believe anything is possible even before it happens.

The PR industry that I currently find myself in is evolving faster than we think. People’s attention spans keep getting shorter and one only has a short time to ‘wow’ an audience and media. I enjoy the creative process that comes with making sure an audience and media are engaged especially through the usage of writing, podcasting and video content creation.

Bizcommunity What are your long term career goals?

My long-term career goals include promoting a gender-equal society, where women can utilize their skills and experience to drive women empowerment initiatives across the continent. My biggest dream is to leave an imprint of impact, where leadership, skills, self-confidence, knowledge and understanding of human rights and the impacts of gender discrimination are instilled in young girls and women across the continent. My wish is to do meaningful work through organisations such as the UN Women, Global Fund for Women, Human Rights Watch, International Alliance of Women (IAW) and Equality Now.

Bizcommunity What do you like to do in your spare time?

You'll often find me hiking in the mountains, submerging in water or going for a lovely walk. I'm also an avid traveller who enjoys exploring all that South Africa has to offer. When I'm not being adventurous, you'll often find me in a coffee shop, with a pen in hand - writing (storytelling is my first and greatest love).

I also do work with the Global Shapers Cape Town Hub (an initiative under the World Economic Forum)- a lovely group of passionate youth who have a common goal to improve the city of Cape Town through various community projects.

Bizcommunity Do you have any advice for young people looking to enter your field?

Interpret self-doubt as a positive emotion or a motivating force. Nerves are a reminder that you’ll grow - something I’m trying to embrace for myself.

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