Mark Jakins is the newly appointed chief commercial officer of Primedia Broadcasting, tasked with driving its business strategy and strengthening its market position.
I am 40 something in spirit and so far in my career… I have sold FMCG products with Unilever, been a brand manager, group product manager, marketing and sales director, chief operations officer… built and launched hotels and casinos with Sun International and Peermont, run the commercial affairs of the public broadcaster, and met hundreds of celebrities. I’ve travelled the world, met great people and still want more with Primedia now.
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned? You’re never too old to learn new things that can move the needle – in life and throughout the world, the diversity of cultures, personalities, views and opinions help shape society and business. Don’t have one-dimensional ideas that you fixate on, open your RAS (a piece of the brain that drives attention, and goal-achievement), embrace change and always try your best.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had? Probably counting maize meal stock in warehouses working for my late Dad in the Eastern Cape, when I was a ’varsity student – reconciling stock sheets wasn’t deserving of my inflated opinion of myself but hey, it paid for the beer!
The quality I most respect in people is… The ability to listen and interpret subtle innuendo and gauge the temperature in a debate – adding when appropriate, withdrawing when necessary – to build a common picture that ends with honesty and genuineness.
My pet hate is… Disloyalty to fellow team members – breaking ranks by being both devious and disingenuous is the kiss of death for me.
What scares you most? The future of my country – that deserves to be better.
My best qualities are… Building great teams that deliver… and enjoying the ride by leading from the front. A leadership style of being a captain means you have to perform to earn respect and that mantra of being a capable leader.
My worst qualities are… Impatience – doing things yesterday and sometimes I can be a little short with people.
My personal motto is… Esse Quam Videre, a Latin phrase from old school days, To be rather than to seem to be.
A perfect day would be… Sjoe, interesting. A toss-up between watching Federer on Centre Court at Wimbledon with my family vs. travelling the village roads in France, also with family and friends – soaking up the sights, partaking in the finest malts and wines – and absorbing history from the Middle Ages.
If I could have dinner with someone living or dead it would be… I wouldn’t mind being at a dinner party with a table of 10 folk – Bill Gates (he can pay), Elvis (he can sing), Federer (he can tell me why he didn’t win more Grand Slams), Madiba (he can tell us how to fix SA Inc), Tiger Woods (will he recover and how strong is his mind?), Sun Tzu, strategy master in the Art of War – (I could learn more), Steven Spielberg (what’s next for the movie industry?), Hillary Clinton (how did she contrive to lose the US elections), Nic Rabinowitz and John Cleese for a little bit of humour to end the evening. Sarah Graham would be a great choice for chef.
The gadget/s I can’t live without… Probably my Samsung S8, or whatever the latest cellphone contract I have is.
My addiction is… Starbucks or Seattle cappuccinos – have to cut down one of these days.
My death row meal would be… English breakfast, crispy bacon, eggs easy over, sliced avo and freshly squeezed orange juice… followed by a cappuccino!
I think 2018 will be… Tough but interesting – quite a bit depends on positive momentum from a certain elective conference coming up… •
This story was first published in the November 2017 issue of The Media magazine. Click on the cover to read the digital magazine.