#10Q: Janine Hills on the need for authentic leadership

We speak to Vuma Reputation Management founder Janine Hills, on the launch of her new venture, Janine Hills Authentic Leadership.

Reputation management communications specialist and founder of Vuma Reputation Management, Janine Hills, launched her new venture, Janine Hills Authentic Leadership, in May in the midst of South Africa’s lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hills remains a shareholder in Vuma, which was acquired by the company’s executive team in a BEE deal, giving them 51% of the company. Hills will now focus on advising leadership at executive and board level both locally and globally, on how to become authentic leaders with integrity – and of course, in these disruptive times, crisis management; and building businesses from the inside out.

1. Tell us about your new leadership brand?

It’s been a natural progression, having experience in this area for 38 years. Working with the C-Suite level for the past 15 years has enabled me to be at the side of some of our well known leaders. Whether its been the good times, or the trying times, during crises.

2. What is your launch strategy?

If ever there was a time to evolve ourselves, its now. So, enhancing existing leaders, and allowing them to work at their peak, whilst maintaining balance, is a near impossibility. Hence having a trusted experienced leader at their side in building their personal reputation, guidance during a crisis or personal development within their career journey; that is what I am here for. Word of mouth, speaker platforms and social media are the chosen platforms for launch of the company.

3. How has the current crisis changed your strategy?

The current global crisis has highlighted the demand for more leaders to be courageous, to position themselves and engage strategically. We, as Africa, have a very engaging way of communicating, so building relationships over a period of time builds trust, and once you have that trust, you can harness business opportunities. Maximising on cross pollination of opportunities across your networks; that can benefit a lot more people than in the past.

4. What impact do you hope to have?

I’m fairly used to being a disruptor in the African market, having been a founder at Vodacom, eBucks and Vuma Reputation Management. I truly believe we have excellent programmes available to leaders. Harnessing one’s own reputation, preventing crisis situations and leading by example, has its own dimensions that can be taught.=

5. What are the most important leadership skills needed now?

Honesty, Integrity, consistency, transparency and reliability.

6. How will business and organisations transform post-COVID?

The new way of doing business will definitely require more care, charm, sensitivity and understanding.

7. What has been your key learning during lockdown?

This has been a traumatic couple of months for many. We will need to listen; and have a deeper EQ understanding of what’s happening at community level to run a business effectively. It’s shown that our essential employees are not entry level, but a vital force of our country’s engine. Whether they are suppliers, our call centre teams, our waste collectors, etc, they make a positive impact on society; so we as leaders need to reach out and embrace these jobs, lift them up, and show we care. We can do this via training or CSI. I truly valued the downtime after leaving Vuma, which allowed for a quieter time during lockdown. Daily routine is key, self-discipline really helps, cleanliness, healthy diet, exercise, morning or evening mediation, has rounded my balanced routine.

8. What has been your biggest challenge?

Not being able to get things done, but that has taught me patience. And the concern for our people who have no savings and food. The last nine years has hurt our South Africans; we were already on the edge, so it’s really broken many people throughout our society.

9. How do you keep yourself motivated?

Morning mediation and prayers, with being deeply grateful for every small gift from the air I breathe, to the skills I have to share.

10. What is your superpower?

Unpacking complex situations very easily. And providing effective solutions swiftly.


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