Q&A with the Queen of Communications | Dineo Selebalo
We sat down with Dineo, possibly the most high-spirited, bubbly personality that you’ll ever meet, and we were in stitches. Find out why Dineo went from studying the sciences to a postgraduate degree in Business Management in Communications, and discover why she’s so passionate about her current freelancer position.
Scouta: Tell us a little bit about you!
Dineo: A pretty tough question for anyone to give an answer to, but off the top of my head, I’d say I am bubbly, outgoing, and have a great sense of humour – and that’s something that helps me make life more interesting.
I’m willing to help anyone in need and when I’m in, I’m all in. I have good leadership qualities, and I am confident in myself. I’m able to keep a calm and level head whenever I am in situations of stress. I would like to consider myself someone who can relate to anyone, and any culture and background. It allows me to make very personal connections with everyone I meet.
Scouta: Let’s start off serious. Are you a coffee or hot chocolate kind of person, and why?
Dineo: I’m a tea person, really, but between the two, I’d have to say hot chocolate. Coffee is addictive, and I’d rather not be addicted to something. Haha.
Scouta: What are you currently studying?
Dineo: I’m currently studying my post-graduate degree in Business Management in Communication at the University of Cape Town (UCT). My most interesting majors are in marketing, finance, and corporate communication. Essentially, it’s all about communications in a working environment.
Scouta: What made you decide to study your postgrad in Business Management?
Dineo: I had a background in science, and I guess you could say that I had a young midlife crisis. To be honest, having to decide in matric what I was going to study was horrible for me (and for most people at that age).
So, when I finished my undergraduate degree, I wanted to move on to something outside of the science field, and I knew that wanted to go into communications. I’m a personality who really enjoys interacting with others, and so it just made sense. I also had lots of friends doing commerce, and it was always more interesting to me than science.
I’m a big believer in – rather fail and try than have ‘should have, would have, could have’ in the back of your mind. For me, it was worth the risk. I really love what I’m studying.
Scouta: So, it’s safe to say that you feel like you made the right choice in switching to communications fields of study?
Dineo: Yes, I’m really happy with my decision. No regrets. It’s stressful but I enjoy what I do. It is very project-based, interactive and hands-on, and not theory-based, and in science, it was theory until it came out of your ears and eyes. I’m not a person who wants to be in the lab, I need to be out exploring, and meeting new people.
Scouta: You’re a freelancer at Petit Love, a luxury baby store in Cape Town. What does a day in the brand typically look like for you?
Dineo: Well, it’s always early morning, so you’ve got to have the right attitude. We use Slack as a team communication tool, so every day starts with keeping yourself updated, and making sure that you know what’s in the store that can help you meet your personal sales target.
As a team, we’re also pretty good at amping each other up for the day ahead and making sure that our energy is high. If you’re bleak, you’re going to have a bleak day. We always get excited anticipating which customers could drop in to visit us in the day, and it’s always an awesome challenge to help them find what they’re looking for.
Scouta: What’s your favourite thing about being a freelancer?
Dineo: It’s great – it really is. I like listening to customers’ stories and ideas, and their reasoning behind why they’re looking for a certain item or gift. You feel so amazing when you find your customer something that makes them happy. The best bit for me is when the customer leaves the store smiling and laughing because that makes you smile and laugh. Afterwards, the whole team get together and talk about the experience – and then you’re in a good space for the rest of the day. We’ll say, “aww I want my baby daddy to be like that.” Haha.
Scouta: For other students who are looking to find the perfect position, Scouta is there to assist. But pre-Scouta, how did you find your position at Petit Love?
Dineo: I used another platform to find the position at Petit Love, and I then recommended a friend of mine as well. She joined the team a few months later.
Scouta: What’s your vision for yourself in the next 3 -5 years?
Dineo: I’ll start my career properly in 2019, but in the next 3-5 years I’d like to see myself in a comfortable, positive space where I’ve grown, and I’m stable. It’s important to me to work with a team who value each other’s opinions, and even if what you’ve suggested isn’t the best solution – you’re still listened to and feel like you contribute. That freedom is important. And, feedback is essential! If you don’t have insight on yourself, you’re never going to learn.
Scouta: Do you think your role as a freelancer at Petit Love has shaped this vision?
Dineo: Petit Love works differently and embraces principles like Design Thinking – and I’m learning that in my modules right now. All my friends laugh because I’m like, “yeah, I already know this” and, they’re like, “where do you work?”
Scouta: Would you say that you’re more suited to a corporate or startup environment, and why?
Dineo: I’d want to explore both. Until you actually get in, you have no idea. I had friends who worked in retail, and before I worked at Petit Love I thought I knew what it entailed, but I didn’t. Not until I started to work in retail myself.
As an example, I used to work in a science lab in the holidays, and it’s where I realised that it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed what I studied, but I couldn’t see myself in a lab all day, every day, and I wouldn’t have known that without the work experience.