Koo Govender is the first female CEO of global brand experience agency, VWV Group. VWV is a global brand experience agency, which specialises in creating and igniting experiences that change perceptions and inspire action. They were the company behind the 2010 Fifa World Cup opening and closing ceremonies and the MTV Africa Video Music Awards. Koo is set to shake up brand experience on the continent and has been actively involved in the broadcasting and media industry for 22 years. Her passion for Women Empowerment and Mentorship has been fulfilled by developing and launching the VWV Group CSI initiative, Phakama Women’s Academy.
Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.
After graduating from Business management in Durban, I moved to Johannesburg for better career opportunities. I have always aspired to be a successful woman in business. I started by career journey with MNet in 1991 until 2013. My last job title was Corporate and Communications Director. My highlights at the Multichoice Group, was a career acceleration to a Director position and learning to be an inspirational leader. Also developing, implementing and marketing various brand channels at the Multichoice Group.
I won various awards with my team for excellent marketing campaigns, which included the Loeries and Promax awards. I was finalist in 2012 for Most Influential Women in Media by the CEO magazine. I was the first Chairwomen for Promax SA. I have various speaker engagements for Marketing , Leadership and Women in Leadership related topics.
I sit on business and NGO boards. I am extremely passionate about Women Empowerment and mentor young women. I am now currently the Group CEO for VWV Group.
You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that.
When I joined VWV Group, I wanted to start a CSI project that has never been done before which will leave a legacy. I developed and implemented the Phakama Women’s Academy.
Please tell us a little more about Phakama Women’s Academy.
The Phakama Women’s Academy is a VWV Group’s CSI project. We equip university students with corporate readiness skills. Every year we go to 3 higher learning institutions, we select on average 30 students to take part in the academy. We select young women with an academic average of 60% and who are passionate about women empowerment and paying it forward.
What is it that you are passionate about?
I am extremely passionate about women, and unveiling the talent that lies within them as well as the youth. They are the future, our future and I believe that investing time in the youth will not just benefit the individual but the country too, because we plant the seeds of tomorrow and the will water and maintain it. If we want a better country tomorrow, we need to start investing in our youth today. Empower our youth and build them to be the future leaders of South Africa.
What has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My spirituality has been my solid rock throughout my life. My family as well as my mentors, have been my source of strength through the years as I was building my career, they have been my encouragement, criticism and celebrating my successes.
What is your personal “motto”?
Life is not only about success but significance as well.
Who or what is your inspiration and why?
I have a few people, but Mother Theresa and Richard Branson, Mother Theresa because of her selfless giving and Richard Branson for his tenacity, adventure and love for entrepreneurship.
What advice would you give your younger self?
WOW, definitely to take more risks and not to be afraid of failure and living someone else’s dreams to get approval. The biggest lessons come from when we thought we will never make it because we lack self belief and confidence and WAAAAALA!!!! We grow, so be still! And watch this space.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
Firstly, being authentic, staying focused on your goals. You will face a lot of challenges and obstacles however, always be resilient and overcome with endurance. You must always learn from your failures, as they are experiences that will assist you with your next challenge or obstacle.
What are your top 3 business tips?
- Be prepared with content; Set yourself apart with consistent delivery and high performance
- Make a tangible difference and add value contribution
- Identify people you should partner with to achieve or accomplish your results.
What advice would you give to women wanting to follow their dreams?
Stay authentic. There can only be ONE YOU! No one will bring your innovative ideas better than you. You are your own and your dreams are as unique as your fingerprint. You cannot follow someone else’s dreams or live in someone else’s shoes. Don’t ever feel like you don’t matter or your dreams don’t matter. We all have a bigger purpose, follow it. Nothing is impossible.
Your favourite daily affirmation:
Jeremiah 29:11, For I Have Plans For You, Says The Lord. Plans To Prosper You And Not To Harm You.
Your favourite quote:
“We are all born for a purpose, live your purpose.” ~Koo Govender
Which book are you reading now?
I am currently enjoying Thrive by Arianna Huffington.
Which book can you read over and over again?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg.
One piece of general advice you would like to share?
As the Chinese proverb says: “Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.”
Is there anything that Xtraordinary Women can do to assist you on your journey?
Get more young women involved and encourage them to be Xtraodinary Women of South Africa with significance.