RISING STAR: Banele Christopher – Entrepreneur, Social media influencer
Every month I select someone out there who is still a bit too young to be concerned about building and leaving a legacy, but who is nevertheless absolutely ‘crushing’ it and Banele Christopher is my pick for this month’s RISING STAR. With a background in strategic communications, he is a Jozi-based entrepreneur and social media influencer, doing massive things, particularly in the fashion, style and lifestyle space and last year was voted in the Top 100 Most Influential Young South Africans. I was desperate to interview him to get a bit more depth and insight into what it is that he feels is the secret to his current success.
My Definition Of Success | Success for me is doing what you love and doing it well, doing it so well that it positively impacts other lives. I always thought that success was only measured in material things, but it has so many different meanings for different people.
I Am Driven By | Everyone who has contributed to where I am in life, people who sacrificed something for me to be where I am. My mother, my school teachers and my siblings. They prayed and they went out of their way for me to go to university, they were there when I needed them. I don’t want to disappoint them and that’s what drives me.
I think my ‘MAGIC’ comes from | Honestly….. from God.
A Key Talent | I would say it’s a strength, being a good listener. My mom always says, listen to understand and not to answer. You need to be a good listener in the industry I am in and really understand people, the client or co-worker. People interpret things in a different way and if you can’t listen and understand where they coming from, you will always have a hard time working with people. Another talent is my ability to be able to be calm in a crisis situation. When everyone is panicking, when everything is going wrong, I am always the calm one, I think that helps me think and I can then come up with solutions quicker.
Principles I Live By | That there is a higher power greater than me, that humbles me. Always be positive, and try see a positive in bad situations in life. Always find a lesson, that will help you seen things positively. Also do what do you want to be remembered for, if you were to die now, what would you like people to say about you.
Critical Skills I Develop | Communication skills, both verbally and written. Sometimes you need to learn when to send an email and when to go speak to someone face to face. I think a lot of office or work conflict starts via email and someone misinterpreting what the other person is trying to say. Learning that people are different, that they come from different background and so that will determine how they make certain decision.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Treat everyone with the same level of respect, don’t say anything to the cleaning lady that you wouldn’t say to your CEO. Always make people feel great about themselves, they will always remember you. Respect your work, you are not doing it for your boss but you are putting your very own stamp there. Especially now in the digital age, it’s easy to find people’s role and their responsibilities on platforms like LinkedIn.
Performing At My Peak | Always prepare. If it’s a meeting, look at the agenda and make sure you’re ready. Also, always read up on your industry news. Try to always know what’s happening, and changes or upgrades. The best way for me to do this, is to follow digital and marketing blogs on my social media, that’s where I spend a lot of time. This helps me find or come up with better ways to go about my work so I feel like I’m always ready and that’s why sometimes, in times of crisis, I am able to think on my feet. All because I read.
On Motivating others | Always respect people, trust them and always tell them that you have faith and trust them. Respect their time, and sometimes understand that ‘life’ happens to everyone.