Why a strong community is a solid foundation for success

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2023

Community LifestyleRetail Community AffairsCurrent AffairsBanking Security

To achieve sustainable success, it is crucial to prioritize what truly matters.

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Sibahle Alkema, Marketing Manager: Advocacy and Community at Yoco, emphasizes the importance of giving oneself grace and acknowledging that mistakes happen, but learning from them leads to improvement.

Sibahle firmly believes in embracing failure as a stepping stone, whether it be in the office, where she focuses on strengthening Yoco's connection with its community, or in her personal life.

Sibahle's journey to Yoco and her path to motherhood have both taken unexpected turns.

Despite studying law, her passion for the eventing industry developed during her time as a student at the University of Western Cape, participating in promotions. "I'm an extroverted introvert, and events allowed me to connect with people on a comfortable level," recalls Sibahle. Initially, she did not consider pursuing a career in the industry, mainly because her parents expected her to follow the legal path. However, after working part-time as an events coordinator at South African Breweries and gaining marketing experience, Sibahle realized she wanted to enhance her skill set through a marketing qualification.

Shortly after joining Yoco as the events manager, the Covid-19 pandemic struck, bringing a halt to in-person events. This led Sibahle to shift her focus towards nurturing the Yoco community instead. "My role had always been intriguing because it was highly experiential. I wanted to bring our brand and products to the community in a way that resonated with them. However, as my role evolved, it became more about creating experiences that connected them with the brand and with other entrepreneurs."

This shift involved cultivating brand advocates, individuals who have such a deep affinity for the Yoco brand that they naturally become advocates, unintentionally contributing to its marketing efforts.

Sibahle is incredibly passionate about the trajectory of her career, expressing her love for the Yoco community. "I enjoy engaging with them and meeting entrepreneurs at various stages of their business journey." Growing up in a township, like many of Yoco's merchants, she takes pride in the brand's role in providing a platform for these entrepreneurs to develop their businesses and make a positive impact in their communities. Additionally, Sibahle is proud that Yoco has fostered a space where business owners can engage in conversations and support each other on their entrepreneurial paths.

While building the Yoco brand, Sibahle was also building her own family. She got married in 2021, only two years after joining Yoco, and in December 2022, she and her husband adopted her niece.

During this time, Sibahle discovered the value of being part of a community herself. "I am grateful for the support provided by Yoco. Having the flexibility to work from home allows me to do school runs and be there for my daughter when she needs me."

She describes motherhood as the most fulfilling experience she has ever had, but also as a challenging teacher. Becoming a mother to an 11-year-old girl, who possesses strong opinions and the typical mood swings of a tween, can be humbling. That's why Sibahle's top parenting advice is to be authentic. "As a perfectionist, I naturally want to be the best parent I can be. However, things don't always go as planned. I try to give myself some leeway and remember that I am only human. We all make mistakes, but tomorrow gives us another opportunity to try again. There will be times when I fail, but as long as I am failing forward, it's okay."

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