Nadine Pillay | Brand and Business Strategist

Nadine has been known as a key success element in major projects she has worked on.  She is a senior executive with 24 year professional experience in the advertising, branding and design industries. Representing her companies at an international level she has managing high caliber national and international clients, projects and brands.  Nadine a brand and operational strategist who has held senior positions in various agencies gaining her experience across multiply industry sectors from FMCG, financial, telecoms and government leading major accounts for clients in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Morocco,  Nigeria Singapore and the Gulf. Nadine now heads up the Client Service Division of one of Oman’s most reputable award winning integrated agency.  She is a proud member of the Black Management forum, Shanduka black umbrella as a mentor, as well as the Cherie Blair foundation as a mentee and now a mentor.

Nadine Pillay | Brand and Business Strategist

What does success mean to you? Has your definition of it changed over the years and if so, why | I have to be honest and say that I never had a skewed idea about success. A majority of people look at success in two ways; wealth and recognition. However, even when I was younger I always knew, these things will only get you so far in. I had a very definitive idea of what success was and when I took on leadership roles, I was exposed to success.

To be successful one must ensure that each contribution should always have a positive impact. Growth as a person, maturity as a leader and being in control of one’s emotions are all elements that drive success.  I don’t only evaluate success based on my own growth, but also the growth of my teams I have led and people I have mentored. Personally, my success is gauged on the impact I have had with all the people I have met.

What drives you | I thrive under pressure and driven by results. I like it when I have a concrete goal to meet and enough time to figure out a strong strategy to accomplish it. I used to initially believe that this was an unusual way to go about. However, I came across a study published in the European Psychologist, which claims that there are certain inherent qualities of people who are able to flourish, despite being exposed to pressure. It outlines vital qualities that enable people to achieve fulfillment in challenging circumstances, such as:

  • Having a positive perspective (optimism)
  • Being spiritual or religious
  • Being motivated and interested
  • Always proactive
  • Keen to keep learning
  • Mentally flexible and psychologically resilient to change
  • Being socially proficient

I do not just know this, I live by these qualities.

What is your LIFE-MISSION in one sentence | To positively impact, encourage and leave a mark in the lives of every person I meet.

What do you think is often the difference between people who are good at what they do and people who are great at what they do | Good people do what is required of them in the given set time. In short, they follow a pre-set plan and get their work done.  However, greatness is achieved by challenging the norm, standing up for one’s beliefs, and most importantly recognising and acknowledging other people. Bob Marley, a timeless influential figure and music legend said, “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”.  I have learnt that the best way to achieve greatness is through humility and not in the ostentatious display of our talents, honours and worldly achievements.

On a psychological or mind-set level, how do you use your mind and how do you think in a specific way to help you achieve your goals and realize your ambitions | I have a very complex personality, which is my greatest asset and simultaneously my greatest enemy.  My mind-set can be paralleled with that of a warrior.  Not being reckless, never naïve, astute enough to not let fear drive me, precise and maybe even calculating.  I observe, assess and wait for the right time, taking into consideration all possible outcomes.  Once I figure out what needs to be done, I work towards accomplishing it.  This may come across as an unusual technique, but experience has taught me that the best way to come up with a solution is to first relax the mind, observe and then implement. 

What resources (people, books, environments, movies, music etc) do you use to keep yourself inspired, informed and growing| The world is incredibly dynamic in this current era. Given the fast-paced culture, people, in general, are inspired by mediums with 30-second intervals. However, I am still drawn to books, audios and videos. I, personally find holistic inspiration from the writing and talks of Iyanla Vanzant, who said, “You have set standards for how you want to be treated and what you expect from yourself and for yourself”. Furthermore, I am also inspired by the words of Bishop TD Jakes, “If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” My all-time favourite is the quote by Dr Caroline Leaf, which says, “If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”  In addition to these kinds of teachings, I am also very much drawn to the Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, who wrote, “You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength”

What is the best advice you have ever received | I have received a lot of advice through my life.  Especially because I gravitate towards people that are older, stronger, wiser, more spiritual and by default conversation become mentorship sessions and as such, the most amazing insights get exchanged.  However, the one piece of advice that stood out to me was “When we are offered terms that do not meet what we want, or when you are treated less than what we deserve; you have to be able to walk away and mean it.” …. life is too short to wait for people to act right!

What’s one deeply honest thing that most people don’t know about you| I am a very spiritual person. I went through a very dark period in my life, which lasted about 15 years.  During that period, I spent time soul searching, seeking knowledge and answers, and striving to find a purpose.  I realized that I faced an internal conflict because I was trying to draw a line between my spiritual life and my professional life.  Eventually, it dawned on me that I could have both co-exist in harmony and it was truly a spiritual awakening on a professional level. I believe that spirituality encompasses the challenge to seek out one’s ultimate purpose in life, and when it comes to business, it involves developing a firm connection with oneself and one’s co-workers and staying true to one’s ideal beliefs and spiritual values.  

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