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THE PASSION FOR MARKETING




SHE FELL INTO THE MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS WORLD UNEXPECTEDLY. NOT ONLY DID SHE LOVE IT AND MAKE IT HER NEW CAREER, BUT SHE ALSO SOUGHT TO CARVE OUT A PLACE FOR HERSELF ON THE FORBES COMMUNICATION COUNCIL - A SUCCESSFUL GAMBLE FOR SUNEETA MOTALA, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER OF STEWARDS INVESTMENT CAPITAL.


Suneeta Motala used to manage commercial development and sales at a banking institution in 2003, when her CEO asked her to oversee the marketing department, a mission she thought was temporary. But things changed. The more she explored this new field, the more she discovered her creative abilities, even if it meant developing something existing. Marketing is constantly evolving and propels you to constant learning. It's also why I've never found my job boring, because no two days are alike," says the woman who took up the position of Head of Marketing shortly afterwards. Having discovered her interest in marketing five years after her introduction to the subject, Suneeta Motala began distance learning at Salford University in England, with a view to obtaining her Master's degree in Marketing. This was in addition to the qualifications she already held, namely the Pre-Associateship from the Chartered Institute of Bankers and an International Certificate for Financial Advisers from the Chartered Insurance Institute. Suneeta Motala's banking certification was obtained when she began her career with the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) in 1994. She started out at the counter and gained experience in various departments dealing with credit, risk, banking and sales, working her way up through the ranks. By the time she had completed her rich ten-year career at HSBC, Suneeta Motala was a Manager. These years spent working closely with customers have served me well for the rest of my career, i.e. marketing and strategic communications. That's why I always say: trust the process. Everything happens for a reason. Understanding customer needs and behavior is fundamental for a marketer and anyone involved in communications," she declares. Afterwards, she worked for three years at the now-defunct Mauritius Post and Cooperative Bank, where she discovered the world of marketing.


NEW JOB TWO MONTHS AFTER GIVING BIRTH


Suneeta Motala's career took a major turn in 2007 when she joined AfrAsia four months before its launch, to implement all branding, positioning, marketing and communication strategies. "I was one of the first ten members of staff to work towards the bank's foundation. When I joined the team in July 2007, I had a two-month-old daughter whom I was breast-feeding. Of course, it was a choice I made, but it wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't had a supportive ecosystem. I've always had the support of my husband, my parents and my parents-in-law," she recounts. According to this mother of two, behind every successful woman, there's a father who gave his daughter wings, enabling her to take flight, a supportive husband and an ecosystem that includes parents and in-laws.

Over the next few years, the professional moved from Head of Marketing to Chief Marketing Officer, taking care of communications, marketing and brand visibility at both local and international levels. The initiatives she undertook during her sixteen years at AfrAsia earned her several international awards. Last year, Suneeta Motala spent a short six-month stint at SBM, marked by stimulating, exciting projects. At the beginning of 2024, she joined Stewards Investment Capital, where she is responsible for communications and strategic initiatives in Mauritius, South Africa and the United States. Evolving in an organization with an international footprint opens the door to a range of opportunities to do things differently on the world stage, she adds.


THE FORBES ADVENTURE


Last March, Suneeta Motala became the first Mauritian member of the Forbes Communications Council, following her selection by an evaluation committee based on her experience, business development impacts, professional and personal achievements and awards.

 

EACH INTERVENTION IS A UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO STRENGTHEN A BRAND, FOR EXAMPLE. IT'S JUST A MATTER OF IDENTIFYING THAT OPPORTUNITY AND TURNING IT INTO AN OPPORTUNITY


This acceptance into the Board is, for her, a dream come true, but also an accomplishment for a communication expert. The good news comes with a surprise: Forbes will also be telling her that she is the very first Mauritian woman among the Communication Council's 1,000 members.


I'm a keen learner and wanted to join the Forbes Communications Council for my own personal development and learning. I relish this experience, which gives me the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with people from all over the world", she emphasizes. Suneeta Motala continues: "Some of them know Mauritius and have come for a vacation, while others have never heard of it. She took the opportunity to introduce the latter to the country as a tourist destination, even suggesting hotels where they could stay during their visits. And she didn't fail to mention Mauritius' international financial center and our island's status as a prime destination for investment and business opportunities.


INTERACTIONS WITH THE FORBES COMMUNICATIONS COUNCIL


Meetings with other communications professionals took place on a virtual platform that enables members of the Forbes Communications Council to interact with each other by sharing experiences, ideas and best practices, taking part in debates and writing articles that are published on the Forbes website. To date, Suneeta Motala has contributed four articles, namely, “Expanding to A Global Audience? 10 Tips for Getting It Right", "14 Marketing Mistakes Startups Often Make (And How To Fix Them)", "13 Hiring Challenges Facing Marketers Today (And How To Overcome Them)" and "16 Essential Tips For Improving Your Copywriting Skills”. I didn't expect my entry to be selected by the jury members so quickly. Especially since each article has over a hundred v members participating. I thought maybe my contribution would be included once a year," confides the strategic communications expert. She confides that she was asked to write an article on her own. On what subject? She won't say for the moment.


At Forbes," says Suneeta Motala, "it doesn't matter where the member comes from. What counts is the expertise and contribution of the members, their authenticity and individuality. "We don't judge you by your point of view. On the contrary, we always tell you that there are paths that others won't take and that are sometimes scary, but that offer you enormous opportunities. Personally, I'm addicted to this platform, which I visit absolutely every night to learn new things and share with my peers around the world. You inspire others and others inspire you," she observes.


THE SUBTLETIES OF COMMUNICATION


Suneeta Motala emphasizes that communication is at the very heart of any company's strategy. Effective communication is essential to establishing a solid relationship with all stakeholders. Every intervention is a unique opportunity to reinforce a brand, for example. It's just a matter of identifying that opportunity and turning it into an opportunity. But communication isn't limited to the outside world. It's also important to communicate with employees to promote transparency, a sense of belonging and collaboration. And all this while preserving our originality in a world where artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly important." she points out.


For her part, Suneeta Motala looks forward to learning more about communication through her membership of the Forbes Communication Council. And she looks forward to meeting - in person - her peers at upcoming events in the USA. She also encourages others to keep learning and growing. You can't stay in your comfort zone if you want to succeed. Test your limits and be brave to make bold decisions when necessary. Become the best version of yourself.

 

 

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