Alumni Profile: Mia Sedres
I am a communications manager at Santam, the leading short-term insuring in South Africa. I graduated from UCT in 2013, I did my Honours Degree in Media Theory and practice over two years. My research focus was on looking at the branding journey that Santam was on, incorporating storytelling and really looking at narrative and incorporating social media and taking the brand from being an archaic old-school brand to a new brand for a host of audiences across South Africa.
At the moment I have enrolled for the Masters in Media Theory and Practice but will have to figure out a way to juggle it between work and family responsibilities as well. I met with the H.O.D. and it was quite different because I was a much older student and the first thing the Prof. said to me was ‘”You do know you are going to be in class with a group of highly opinionated 20 year olds” and I laughed. So it was quite a long journey for me. But it was one of the best decisions I could have made.
Because I was an older student, I came with a life experience. But I also learnt so much from the younger students in the class so for me. It was one of the best things that I’ve done. It exposed me. To critical thinking and it enabled me. To approach my work with renewed vigour and really coming to make a difference within the corporate space in terms of communication. So for me. It was really empowering to study and just the self awareness that I got from the process and realising the potential I could make in my career.
I am a story teller by nature and initially that’s why I went into journalism and even though my job now is corporate, I’m able to design and communicate well in stories what Santam is doing as a reputable insurer in South Africa. Looking at the projects we have to make a difference in communities and to meet the sustainable goals and increase the resilience of communities, we have a shield risk management partnerships where we work with a wide range of stakeholders and these include businesses, land owners and local government. And those are the stories that me, being from communications, we report on, and those are the stories we tell through our PR approach. So for me. In a nutshell it’s the ability to still be able to incorporate the journalism, my love for storytelling and unearthing these stories through my work as an insurer and getting them out into the media space.
I can say I am now doing corporate journalism, getting information from the business and packaging it and getting the media involved in it. Essentially for me. You always fall back on your training and you tell your story to the world.
The degree gave me. The confidence to tackle my tasks and take control. The research method where you find yourself and what you learn from peers in class allows you to apply that wherever you find yourself. For me. It was also encouraging and heartwarming the way the staff take interest in your work, in your research and are there to walk with you every step of the way. They are there to guide you, motivate you and encourage you with expertise. It was an amazing program for me. And it encouraged me to do a lifelong learning.