Ntando Zikalala, 30, is the brand manager at To The Max Brand Management, a 100% black women-owned and managed brand service agency.
She aims to reshape the industry and make the company she founded the epitome of the modern public relations, dedicated to taking a fresh approach to managing media talent brands and nurturing innovative digital content creators.
Ntando’s eagerness to embrace challenges and adapt to an ever-evolving industry is backed by her desire to learn from every experience and the day-to-day operations at To The Max reflect her desire for progress.
Ntando’s vision is not about short-term success but about leaving an indelible mark and creating a legacy. In addition, she is committed to empowering women.
“I have had many great achievements within brand management, over the years, and I have been blessed to be able to break barriers with amazing women and watch them soar to greater and greater heights.
Together we have achieved so much but here are some milestones: Linda Mtoba holding the title of brand ambassador for five multinational brands at the same time. Being the first black Vaseline brand ambassador and being the first brand ambassador for Samsung across Home & Mobile. Zola Nombona being the first ever brand ambassador for Foschini in almost 100 years.”
What she has learned in her career is: “Trust your dopeness. In a world where you can be so many things, always stay true to yourself.”
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Go with God and always put him first in everything that you do.
Our theme this year is Accelerating Equality & Empowerment in Women. How do you empower yourself and women around you?
I am a sharer by nature. I enjoy knowledge sharing so much and embrace learning among my peers. I am the type of woman who believes there are plenty of opportunities for everyone and I will gladly open a door for anyone, if I can. My life’s purpose is service and I take my calling very seriously.
If you could change or achieve one thing for South Africa today, what would it be?
I would give the youth more opportunities. I believe in youth empowerment so much — I believe in contributing as much as we can in youth development as that is literally our future. Let us lead, allow us to fail, give us a voice and a fair chance. There is so much greatness within the South African youth — it needs to be protected and invested in.