By Charndré Emma Kippie
Having been with African Bank for almost 8 years, Eloise Biggs has been elevated from National Head: Capability, to the Head of Communications. Priding herself on transparency and commitment, Eloise is responsible for controlling the flow of information between African Bank and the public, as well as managing the communications team, contributing to successful marketing strategies, and directing public relations campaigns for the financial institution.
We sat down for an exclusive interview with Eloise in celebration of Women’s Month and all the phenomenal leading women in the financial sector.
What got you into the field you’re currently in?
A courageous decision to step off the beaten track, to see what was possible! And here I am.
What excites you the most about your role?
The ability to engage and empower people in a creative and meaningful way. Our objective with every piece of information shared, is to leave at least one person better off. More positive, more confident, more empowered. The Communication team here at African Bank have a mantra, which we stand by, we live by. It is ‘Create. Grow. Bloom’. These three words describe so eloquently what we envision through the work we do.
In what ways do you think your bank is enhancing the South African economy?
African Bank’s purpose is ‘Advancing lives through financial and related services’. Financial health and wellness are cornerstones of leading a fulfilled and rewarding life. Every single African Banker is committed and dedicated to this purpose. In fact, benchmarked across industries, African Bank has one of the highest People Engagement scores in the country. This score measures the percentage of people employed by an organisation who are prepared to go over and beyond what is expected. We are those people. The people who are prepared to give personally and professionally towards advancing the lives of South Africans.
Do you think your field is diverse in terms of gender equality?
The communications industry tends to be mostly dominated by women – I work mostly, with women. Communication, in whatever format, through any channel, requires deep empathy. Empathy captures hearts and minds. And this is what truly sets women apart. Their ability to walk in another’s shoes, to feel, to listen, to understand. To engage an audience, the most important tool is empathy. This is not to say men don’t have it. Some of the most expressive, sensitive and meaningful stories are written by men. The ability to combine diversity in gender, skills and effort is the elixir to creating captivating stories that spark imagination and potential in others.
What are your top 3 tips for ensuring the success of women in your field?
- You need to have a passion for people
- You must be passionate about learning
- Embracing change should be in your forte
What have been some major obstacles in your career, as a woman, and how did you overcome them?
I have been blessed with supportive male leaders, who have believed in me. However, building relationships with men is definitely tougher than with women and this has often proved challenging. The flow of energy into this endeavour often feels one-sided. Men seldom demonstrate the same level of energy into building relationships as women do. I feel if these efforts were more balanced results could be more deeply felt, with greater impact to the people we jointly serve. How do I overcome challenges? I very rarely give up! I will only give way if my efforts are fruitless, which leads to an intentional decision to utilise my energy elsewhere.
What are your goals for the future?
To always ensure that through my work, my life, my interactions, I touch just one person and leave them feeling better about themselves. Every person is special and unique and what a gift to be able to contribute to helping someone else reach their full potential.
What life-changing books have you read?
Unconventional though it may seem, authenticity is required here! Modoc by Ralph Helfer is the true story of the greatest elephant that ever lived. It is a captivating tale spanning seven decades and three continents. It is a true story of love, loyalty and friendship. Three of the most beautiful characteristics that flow through our world.
What advice do you have for young women entrepreneurs who aspire to work in your field?
Know your craft, love what you do, and set out to make a difference – not just a living.
Do you have a special message for women across South Africa as we celebrate Women’s Month?
Know your strengths. Keep building on them and set out to change the world with them. Know that the difference is in you.
*Check out the latest edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication here.
For enquiries, regarding being profiled or showcased in the next edition of the Public Sector Leaders publication, please contact National Project Manager, Emlyn Dunn:
Telephone: 086 000 9590 | Mobile: 072 126 3962 | e-Mail: [email protected]