Mbali Ndandani (Corporate Communications Consultant to Brand Manager)
Dynamites come in small packages and that rings true when meeting McDonald’s Brand Manager, Mbali Ndandani. The academically focused and organised lady from Mdantsane, East London, grew up to be a vibrant business-savvy individual.
Her journey with McDonalds started in 2012. She stepped into the role of Corporate Communications Consultant and has since climbed the corporate ladder to be a Brand Manager. She has realised since working for a global brand like McDonald’s that there is more available then what is in front of her.
There is a world of opportunity that she is surrounded with. Her biggest achievement in her previous role was her prominent involvement in the launching of iStories, a platform to showcase inspiring good news stories about real people at McDonald’s.
“For me it was personally and professionally rewarding to tell the good news of McDonald’s employees and seeing how it was so well recognised on a global scale from international conventions and case studies to digital viral exposure,” Mbali shares.
Grateful for the character-building exercises her father would challenge her during her high school career; Mbali developed a strong opinion and character. “This resonated into everything I did in my life and I can say it helped me to become the solid person I am today.” She was inspired by her high school play director to study corporate communications and has not looked back since. Mbali is a graduate of The Rand Afrikaans University, known today as University of Johannesburg.
She has always been her own cheerleader and don’t often need people to tell her how well she is doing. Learning on the job, adding value to the band and bringing out the best in those that work with her is how she measures her small success every day.
“If I contributed by thinking differently, bringing a different idea to the table as well as bring energy to the team I feel that I have succeeded. Life happens in moments and realise that we don’t wake up successful, it happens with time,” she says.
McDonald’s enabling environment and the ongoing evolution of the business is what she thrives on and what brings out the best in her because she often prospers when faced with an obstacle. Her journey from Corporate Communications Consultant to Brand Manager started when she felt the urge to learn more. She is faced with new challenges in her new role that are very rewarding.
“It is fast-paced but it allows me to see the fruit of what I do,” Mbali says. Leading a work-life balanced life is something that she doesn’t have a problem with. “I had to become stringent with regards to my boundaries after working hours. I still have a life after work and I like to make sure that there is harmony between the two,” she says.
Mbali owes her self confidence in her role to the Corporate Affairs Director of McDonald’s South Africa, Sechaba Motsieloa. He informally mentored her in the first few months in her previous role. The biggest value he offered was allowing her to be herself and assured her that it was ok.
“It meant a lot to me that a senior level person would avail himself to listen to what my thoughts were and take me seriously. He saw my unique strengths and advised me to focus on them and that I would be fine,” she shares.
Being a young woman in the South African work pool, Mbali encourages the graduate who is trying to find their path in the communications sector to remember that it is normal to go through the emotional rollercoaster of trying to find their big break. She believes that self-confidence should mean unrestrictedly being you and believe in your unique contributions and strengths.
“Differentiate yourself from your peers, make it a deliberate strategy and you won’t go wrong,” she concludes.
For more inspiring stories please visit: http://www.mcdonalds.co.za/istories