Boniswa Pezisa loves influencing culture

Boniswa Pezisa, group CEO of Net#work BBDO.
Boniswa Pezisa, group CEO of Net#work BBDO.
Image: Supplied

Giving brands a social currency is what Boniswa Pezisa does.

The 56-year-old from Zola, in Soweto, is the group chief executive of Net#work BBDO, which is one of South Africa's most well known and leading advertising agencies.

"I enjoy marketing a lot as I get to do the work that influences culture," the bubbly Pezisa said.

"We are the face of the brand's market and an extension of our client's departments. We should always give out our best. I love that we are able to influence how things can be done to benefit our clients. If I was not into marketing, I am sure I would be a preacher."

She said she will forever be grateful to her parents who worked two or more jobs to educate her and her four siblings.

"Our parents sent us to various boarding schools to give us the best education. However, it's not about how hard they worked but the values they instilled in us. My mom always told us that 'you don't sit at the back of the bus, because nothing will come out of it'. She taught us to work hard and push for what we believe in."

Pezisa was the brains behind the turnaround of Metro FM, the refocusing of 5FM as well as the nation-building Brand South Africa campaign, 'Today I woke up in a country...'.

"Our agency was born in the same month as the new South Africa. Over the years we have had the opportunity to transform the businesses of our clients and uplift communities.

"My role is to create a more inspiring creative environment to attract the most visionary clients and to ensure Net#work BBDO remains the agency of choice for top talent. I love it when I do campaigns that get people talking," she said.

However, she said it can be challenging trying to encourage clients to take risks.

"There are times when you feel like you are pushing water uphill because someone has no vision," she said.

Pezisa is the chairwoman of the Association for Communication and Advertising board and a past chair of the Loeries Board. She was also one of the founding directors of the Dreamfields Project, which uplifts poor communities through soccer.

When she is not busy changing people's lives through marketing, Pezisa loves spending time with her family. The mother of two also shared that she loves reading and spending time in the gym.

"I do yoga a lot so that I could keep this energy of a 25-year-old within me. After all, I need to look after myself."

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