Written By: Gillian Rusike

Professional Development Association nowadays exist for every profession. Membership to some of the organisations are mandatory while others are optional but it is very important and beneficial to any professional to  be part of it.

While career networks share similar characteristics with other professional networks, these networks have distinct attributes with members selecting a network to support career advancement.

But some may want to understand the role of a professional association or body. Well, firstly most associations seek to further the importance of a specific profession and their members.

Employers of today are asking for membership to a professional association as a pre-requisite in vacancy advertisements.

Nowadays in vacancy advertisements, membership to a professional body or organisation has become a pre-requisite from would-be employers.

Professional Associations or bodies have a fundamental role to play in the development of their member careers as well as the profession itself. The Foremost among the goals of most Associations is the oversight and regulation of professional standards and practices, with the public interest in mind.

Others take up a more disciplinary role for members in that particular profession for maintaining ethical standards. A major or fundamental role is to control the awarding of professional qualification certificates, and even issuing the license of practice.

There’s no uniform constitution that defines a professional organization. Many associations dedicate themselves to the interest of the members.

A secondary but no less important purpose of any organization is to provide a venue for members to communicate and network with each other, through conventions, meetings, and trade publications. Lastly, a professional organization strives to provide its members with resources for ongoing learning and career advancement.

The Marketers Association of Zimbabwe, is one such professional body. It was established in 2007 after the realisation that the marketing profession was not being given the recognition it deserves. Being given the recognition it deserves.

The Association also represents the broad spectrum of marketing related professionals which include, sales, business development, media, advertising, customer service, public relations, digital marketing amongst others.

Hence membership to the Association is open to those in Public Relations, Sales, Advertising customer service and digital marketing as well as corporates.

And why must one be a member of a professional body?

There are so many benefits that can be reaped from becoming a member of a professional body or association and they worth a small investment in membership fees.

Networking opportunities

Joining a professional can deepen your existing business relationships and forge new contacts regularly. Iron sharpens iron, as a member of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe you network with like-minded professionals, share experiences and challenges and grow.

The networking is usually not restricted to the exchange of business cards, it is through meetings, socials, and conferences, sporting activities, Whatsapp group chats and being a member to sub-committees of the association.

MAZ propagates networking though events such as the Marketers Luncheon, Winter School, Annual Marketers Convention, boot camps, summer school, Annual Marketers Golf among others.

The above mentioned platforms and activities give members of the Association to meet and network, share ideas and even contribute to the growth of the Association in general. WhatsApp chat groups for the Association have been created and have been classified with the Senior Executive members group for the C-suite and middle to top managers. The relationships created through the networks are mostly rich, and an ongoing source of ideas and inspiration.

Professional development

Members usually have access to professional development resources to enhance skills and knowledge and to stay up to date on changes within their field. Professional associations often encourage members to further their education by offering courses or working with accredited institutions linked to their profession .Newsletters and publications published by the association give an opportunity to members to polish their communication skills and learn about the advances in their field. Access to research material and industry information is another reason behind joining professional associations. MAZ has come up with a Training department that offers courses linked to the marketing profession. Some of the courses offered by the MAZ include the ZimChartered Marketer program, Marketing Practitioner Status, certificate in Digital Marketing program, Diploma in Public Relations and Corporate Reputation Management held in conjunction with Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE), Marketing Leadership Development Program, Business Leadership Program, short courses and in-house training programs for businesses.

Of late, MAZ introduced monthly and weekly Whatsapp chats where experts are invited to share their knowledge and expertise with members.

Employment or vacancies

Companies often contact associations when flighting vacancies or posts in their organisations. Membership to a professional association is often an advantage as career opportunities are flighted through for members. It provides an opportunity to connect with prospective employers.  As MAZ we always receive vacancy advertisements from not only corporate members but also other players in the economy and we flight them on our platforms. And these employers often say that preference is MAZ members.

Resume enhancement

Listing membership in a professional organization is an excellent addition to a resume. It is impressive to the prospective employer as it shows that one is dedicated to staying connected in their profession.

Keeping up to date with latest career trends or developments

Most Associations often research further on career trends and developments globally so that their members do log lag behind. This information is often shared to members in regular newsletters or emails .For example in Marketing, Digital Marketing has become a pre-requisite not for only marketing professionals but for all related professions. This information is shared with marketers together with other skills that go hand in hand with the latest technological development such as Big Data Analytics, artificial intelligence and chatbots technology.

Encouraging Industry Competitiveness and Recognising Performance

Annually Associations or professional bodies host awards that seek to recognise their corporate or individual members. These are often held at the end of the year. MAZ does that through its Annual Exceptional Marketing Awards which seek to recognise organisations and individuals who would have achieved outstanding success in their planning and implementation of marketing and related areas strategies, annually.

The overarching goal of the awards is to honour organizations and people who would have exhibited exceptional marketing prowess and at the same time showing professionalism at the highest level.

MAZ also hosts the Superbrand Awards which recognise brand effort and excellence throughout the year. The Superbrand Awards are recognised as the among the top business awards in Zimbabwe.

Joining a professional organisation is beneficial for your own professional development and the future of your company. The connections you will make, the resources available to you and the ideas and advice you will get, represent an outstanding return.  It could turn out to be one of the best things you could do for yourself!”

Gillian Rusike is the founder and Executive Secretary of the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe.

Written By: Tarisai Chimhandamba

Women urged to be united, innovative and enterprising

The Women in Marketing, a platform created by the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe hosted its first physical event, a colourful and well attended High Tea in April.

It was indeed a colourful event as women turned up in their floral outfits as prescribed by the dress theme at the event held at the Venue.

The High Tea held under the theme #Choosetochallenge tackled various topics among them leading a business enterprise, values that propel a woman to the top and a woman and her purse.

In her opening remarks at event, MAZ Head Operations and Marketing Manager ,Enia Zimunya highlighted that WIM, an arm of MAZ was founded in September last year to cater for lady MAZ members.

“The Women in Marketing platform is the MAZ arm formed as a response to the expectations and demands of lady MAZ members who felt that there was a need to create a platform for expression , mentorship , networking and empowerment of the female marketer and its related professions in what level of career development,” said Zimunya.

She said am 8 lady led committee was constituted in January 2021 to push the different initiatives of WIM.

Zimunya added that WIM membership was at 203 with a nationwide representation and is expected to grow.

Guest speaker at the event, MAZ patron and Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon Monica Mutsvangwa highlighted the importance of unity amongst women.

“Ladies unity is key to the success not only of the Women in Marketing but all of us. When we work together as women we do more good.

Unity is a stepping stone to success, when we are united we can groom, mentor, uplift and comfort each other in times of need. I have often seen on social media people talking about pull her down syndrome (PHD), this must be a thing of the past, and we must unite for the betterment not only of ourselves but of our families and the nation at large,” said Hon Mutsvangwa.

Hon Mutsvangwa said this year’s theme of women’s month, aptly speaks to women advancement.

“As women we must not be held down by the glass ceiling, let’s not be content with having a job, a small business or a degree. Let’s strive to move up higher, if you are in business strive to expand your ventures or interests, if you employed as a professional advance your career. Professional career development is very important,” she said.

The chairperson of then of the WIM committee and MAZ board member Roseline Chisveto unpacked what WIM was about, its pillars and key focus areas.

“Among our key focus areas we have the Entrepreneurship and life skills where we seek to equip members with relevant and applicable skills in and beyond formal careers to help them deal with complex environment and prepare them for the future,” said Chisveto.

Other key focus areas are membership and leadership development, welfare and compassion, corporate social responsibility and resource mobilisation.

She also spoke about the importance of building a large network with women from different organizations and to identify programs, entrepreneurship and personal development.

Managing director of DDNS Security Operations Private Limited, Dr Divine Ndhlukula presented on leading a business enterprise.

“Business is about acumen ship and brains not about muscles and excellence is important in building a business,” said Dr Ndhlukula.

She said among the key attributes of good business leadership are integrity, accountability, honesty, selflessness.

Dr Ndhlukula emphasised on the importance of reputation and integrity in business.

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.  Be of high integrity as it is now the new corporate currency,” she said.

She said a leader must have a  clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it.

“My job is to drive the vision and I try to be inclusive. Success comes from creating the necessary value with customers both external and internal,” said Dr Ndhlukula.

Next to take to the podium was Sheree Shereni, the managing director of Mikana Incorporated who shared on the values that propel a woman to the top.

 “Determine your priorities, for areas where priorities are ahead of you, communicate, manage expectations and create balance. If one knows what they are chasing in mind they will never go wrong.” said Shereni.

She encouraged the ladies to enterprise while they are employees. She also gave a powerful presentation on the quality of a belief system and attitude and highlighted the importance of aligning personal values and organisational values

MAZ vice president, Emiliah Mabika gave a presentation on a woman with a purse. Her wealth of knowledge and experience gave the ladies a deep rooted understanding of this area.

 “You cannot think of making money as ladies before you know who you are, why you are created and your purpose in life. Read and understand financial matters it’s very important,” said Mabika.

Guests at the event went away with gifts sponsored by Associated Foods, Beautiful by Nature Beauty and Spa, Gifts and More, Image Magic, Proton and Clean Box Zw.

Bindura University of Science and Technology (BUSE) Vice Chancellor Professor Eddy Mwenje has implored professionals to upgrade their technological skills as they face the risk of being flushed out by lack of digital skills.

He said technology is the way to go and any organisation that does not adapt runs the risk of failure.

Prof Mwenje said this during thegraduation ceremony of Public Relations, Zim-Chartered and Expert Digital Marketing students hosted by the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) on April 9, 2021 at the Marketer Hub in Harare.

He said the world was witnessing the fastest, unprecedented and unpredictable Digital transformation and redundant professionals would be flushed out.

“The issue of professional career development cannot be overemphasised.The world is changing and those that are redundant will be flushed out either by technology or by lack of digital skills,” he said.

“Nowadays, we are talking of Marketing 5.0 as well as exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data analytics, augmented reality, internet of things among others. Failure to grasp these and move with the technologies is a recipe for disaster.”

Prof Mwenje said digital and social media platforms have taken over and everyone needs to be well-versed and alert.

He said, given the increasing importance of the electronics, telecommunications and information communication technology (ICT) industry, the country needs to strengthen its technological base in these areas in order to meet demands of the 21st century.

Prof Mwenje urged marketers to work hard and influence society through marketing acts.

“Coming from a Science Education university, I implore you to also update your technological appreciation which is crucial for today’s business.  We look forward to you rising, inspiring and mentoring other young marketers.  As marketing practitioners, work on influencing the community towards marketing so that it values marketing through your acts,” he said

Prof Mwenje hailed the partnership between Bindura University and MAZ for the Professional Certificate in Public Relations and Corporate Reputation Management (PRCRM)which saw the first intake students graduating on the day.

“Allow me to say that on behalf of the Bindura University of Science Education academic community, we are proud of our collaboration with the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe in the delivery of the programmes whose results have brought us together here today, and we look forward to continued partnership with MAZ, and more partnerships going forward. In particular, we look forward to broadening the curriculum beyond the currently existing Public Relations,” said Prof Mwenje.

MAZ head of academics Mr Godfrey Dube challenged graduating students to live up to 21st century demands.

“Fellow colleagues, I challenge you as marketers to make a mark in your organisations. It is only those that make a mark that can live up to today’s market demands. I implore you to utilise all the knowledge and skills in your day-to-day business and make a difference in your various organisations,” he said.

MAZ Secretary General, Gillian Rusikesaid the Association was delighted to be hosting its first graduation ceremony for the PRCRM.

“This has been a long awaited milestone since the introduction of the program. The PRCRM program was introduced after realising the void of a reputable PR qualification in the country,” he said.

“As the representative body of the Marketing and related professions in the country, we took it upon ourselves to work towards finding a solution to this void. Our efforts ended with us partnering with Bindura University of Science Education, who availed their expertise and experience to come up with a strong program that can impart competent and practical skills in Public Relations and Corporate reputation.

He said the relationship has proved to be worthwhile so far and MAZ is looking forwardto more partnerships.

“It has not been an easy road, as we had to go through a challenging phase of learning and smoothening the program. We give much credit to the students who soldiered on despite some of these challenges and we appreciate their resilience,” he said.

A total of 23 students graduated on the day, with seven students graduating with theProfessional Certificate in Public Relations and Corporate Reputation Management (PRCRM), 14 were accorded the Zim Chartered Marketer status.

This is the highest qualification in marketing in Zimbabwe which seeks to empower students with strategic marketing and mentoring skills. This is a practical course which also enhances participants to develop consultancy skills.

Two students also graduated for the Executive Certificate in Digital Marketing (ECDM) which is an 8 weeks certificate course.

This was designed for senior executives or managers after realising they still need to have an appreciation of what it is all about and its benefits especially in this digital era.

MAZ has over the years become a centre of training excellence offering a number of marketing and industry related courses such as Digital Marketing , ZimChartered Marketing , Business Leadership courses , in-house training programs , workshops and seminars.