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Hard work is the only secret

29 July 2013 –

REPUTATION has no down time, and the client always comes first. These are two of the guidelines that have helped Farhana Bee Ismail break into the tough field of media relations.

She shares her story with Fin24:

We often have people ask about the name FBI Communications. We are not linked to a secret agency.

Our media agency’s mission is to provide support to the public and private sectors in accelerating broad-based black economic empowerment in South Africa, helping to bridge the gap between the country’s diverse economies.

The company is a 100% black-owned and female black-managed service provider, with full BBBEE compliancy.

I have over two decades’ experience as a journalist, but I like to think of myself as a “novice” in the media field. I have worked in London and my company has succeeded in breaking into Africa, Europe and Asia.

But success never comes easy. Sheer hard work was the key.

Whether we like it or not, we come from a previously disadvantaged space. Not many people knew us or had the confidence in a black company and one led by a woman. So we had to work 300% harder to be recognised.

My advice to others is to be open to new ideas. FBI Communications moves easily between cultures and worlds, because of this. We have worked in deep rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal, plush conference centres like the Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre or on London Bridge and on board cold ships doing publicity.

Another tip to get to the top is not to compromise on bringing the right people on board for a project. Attention to detail is important – our company’s success is primarily attributable to its research capability and highly skilled staff.

A broader view also helps: We look at issues with a wider lens, from different perspectives and we bring extensive experience in the latest interactive technology equipment.

What we have further learnt is that you do not switch off to your client. We understand the meaning of pressure, of deadlines and the unwarranted stress of unreliability.

Emergencies are a fact of life…. We have learnt through many challenges that the client always comes first. Click here to view Fin 24 article.

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