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Alumni Feature: Sumayya Davenhill, Head: Marketing & Retail Client Services at Prudential Investment Managers

Sumayya graduated in 2000 with a Diploma in Marketing and Advertising Communications. After graduating she’s had an impressive career, joining Nedbank as the Marketing Manager in 2004, then joined Ogilvy as the Business Director and Director of Training in 2005, later on moving to Old Mutual Investment Group as their Head of Marketing and has been the Head of Marketing and Retail Client Services at Prudential Investment Management for the last 7 years.

Despite having a very busy schedule, we’ve managed to catch up with her to find out more about what her journey was like as a student at Red & Yellow.

  • How has Red & Yellow contributed to shaping your career success?
    I stumbled on Red & Yellow completely by chance whilst on holiday with my sister in Cape Town. I had no idea that it was to be the start of my journey to really understanding my sweet spot. The year I spent at Red & Yellow was the best foundation for my career in advertising and marketing. The course content, as well as the environment, ignited such curiosity and creativity and was the start of my never-ending passion to understanding what the customer truly wants and the simplest way to execute on that.
  • What is the first thing that stands out from your time with us?
    The friends I made there are still friends today and our paths still cross from time to time in the industry. The late nights and the craziness of projects were some of my best memories.
  • What do you believe is critical for career success in the 21st Century?
    I firmly believe in trusting your gut, being open to learning and being curious. I think that if you have these two skills, you are halfway there. The other half is sheer hard work – nothing comes easy.You have to put in the hard work.In my own career, I am not afraid to listen to my intuition, not everything requires solid data, sometimes you need a bit of magic in all the logic – I learned that at Red & Yellow and it is something that I say to my teams all the time. Trust your gut and make a decision – the worst thing you can do in the 21st century has analysis paralysis – you will never get out of the starting blocks that way. I am not saying that you should just go out and do crazy things, but most times; we are conditioned, as human beings not to take any chances and I believe that sometimes you need to take a chance to be successful and to have an impact.
  • What is your superpower?
    My sons will tell you it’s my supersonic hearing when they meant to be asleep and are still having fat chats. At work, I think my teams will tell you I have a real skill in being able to see the big picture, then being able to distill it into its components and then sticking my nose in where it doesn’t always belong – this often results in them having more work….:)
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