Women In Marketing Interview | Selaelo Matlala from Sun International Time Square

Selaelo manages PR and Communication for Time Square which is owned by the Sun International Group. The travel and hospitality sector suffered significantly due to the lockdown, Selaelo shares the challenges brought by the pandemic on this segment of Women In Marketing


Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career in marketing? How’d you end up at Sun International?

My name is Lebogang Selaelo Matlala, my preferred name is Selaelo.

Several studies reveal that women account for the majority of purchase decisions including traditional male products such as automobiles, consumer electronics as well as home improvement products. Despite this, surveys show that advertisers still do not understand women. Why do you think this is the case and what should change?

Any human behaviour is difficult to understand, that is why there will always be studies to try and understand why consumers, male or female behave in a particular manner when purchasing. I think the crux of it is not having enough females employed in the industry to advise on how women behave and provide that viewpoint to help reach the wider female audience.

What have you learned at Sun International that you had not learned at previous companies?

Well considering it’s the only company I have really worked for, I have learned the below:

What does the word feminist mean to you?

Equality for all genders

Who are some of your female heroes?

My Mother and Grandmother

What steps can companies take to make their businesses more equal in terms of pay and employees with regards to gender?

They need to first acknowledge that there is inequality in this regard, you can’t want to transform if we don’t even understand why this is necessary and that there are inequalities. Have an open dialogue about this.

What made you fall in love with the world of marketing? What particular moment in time pushed you to pursue this as a career? After all, we all wanted to be Doctor’s growing up, right?

It was the creativity that came with it and when I understood that I could impact people by a tagline, messaging, sound etc, to persuade them to buy a product. I fell in love.


What does your typical day of work look like? How does your calendar look and are you a coffee or tea kind of person?

My typical day at work could change from being relaxed and high speed in a second. Always meetings to attend about the hotel, future shows and activations for the casino. Strategy and planning are important in my everyday life. I’m a coffee person..

COVID-19 has been a disruption to a number of organisations. So much that several businesses, small and big alike either having to cut down on staff or being forced to close down. On the same token, however, several organisations have used this time to regroup and use this as an opportunity for change in structure and processes. How has your organisation and specifically, your department, countered against the impact brought by the pandemic?

We were already planning on how we will proceed after COVID-19 before we had gone into lockdown.

Remote work and video conferencing have become proverbial overnight celebrities. Some say that it has been long overdue whilst others are struggling to adjust this new normal. What is your take on this and how have you structured your work accordingly?

I’m one of those who feel it’s well overdue, I am however used to working unusual hours, it’s a norm for us in the industry. What it has done now is make visible that we don’t all need to be in the office at all times, we can in the new way evolve in working when we are at our optimum.

What are the most unique challenges you face in your industry and at the workplace? How do you tackle these?

We deal with people’s last disposable income, this is challenging and also rewarding. Means we need to provide a service to customers that they need to remember and would give them timeless memories. This is how we deal with it, provide every person with an experience that they can remember, that they tell their families about and spread word of mouth.

As a mother, how has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the way you work? Furthermore, should organisations be cognisant of mothers? Is enough being done to cater to new parents, specifically mothers?

I am not a Mother, however I would like to answer.


What have been some of Sun International biggest successes in marketing over the past 12 to 18 months?

Organising partnership with Viacom (MTV & MTV Base) for our New Year’s Eve Block Party (this was a 2-year deal I managed to close).

What makes something innovative? How do you define innovation at Sun International?

Any idea that changes how we have fundamentally done things.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Google Analytics and Instagram.

What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?

Don’t think it’s even a hack, but a to-do list always helps.

What are your thoughts on Marketing and Sales alignment? How do you align your Marketing and Sales team at Sun International?

The most underrated decision is aligning these two.


What are you currently reading? (What do you read, and how do you consume information? Physical book vs eReader?)

I’m reading The Alchemist again.

A unique message for all young professionals in the marketing industry

Be loyal to yourself first and believe in yourself. Be authentic.

What haven’t you solved? What challenge is on your plate?


Any bucket list items (professional as well as personal)?

Professional — setup my own company.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Always be loyal to yourself and remember your goals

Something you do better than others — the secret of your success?

I see ideas and concepts that normally people don’t see.



The Women In Marketing series is our attempt of profiling female marketing executives from across the world and provide them with a platform to tell their story as they navigate issues related to gender equality especially in the modern workplace.

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