#WiMMeets Sharon Keith - Marketing Director for HEINEKEN SA

21 April 2022

#WiMMeets Sharon Keith - Marketing Director for HEINEKEN SA
Welcome to #WiMMeets - a series of short interviews with marketing leaders from across Africa and around the world. The series will present a different side to senior professionals with the aim to share the things that matter to them and inspire others. 
In this interview, we sat down with Sharon Keith, Marketing Director for Heineken SA.
Keith is a seasoned marketer, with more than 30 years of global experience in the FMCG and B2B industries. She has held senior marketing leadership roles at The Coca-Cola Company (as Marketing Director for Southern and East Africa), Diageo (as a Global Brand Director for Bailey’s) brandhouse (Marketing Director), Unilever, and most recently at Standard Bank as Head of Brand / Marketing for their Corporate and Investment division.

Her broad array of personal interests and her innate curiosity ensures her a creative platform from which to lead. From sports to wildlife, to travel, philanthropy and social issues. She is passionate about ensuring representation at a senior level and within marketing roles. Keith has worked with a broad array of creative agencies on well-loved brand campaigns in the past.

Keith holds an MBA from the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town as well as a B. Comm degree from the University of KwaZulu Natal with majors in Economics, Business Administration and Psychology.


WiM Africa: What gives you energy and drives you forward when you are not feeling at the top of your game?

SK: I remind myself of my personal purpose – my “why”. That helps me to persevere despite the short term challenges and setbacks.

Also I have a daily gratitude practice – naming five things I’m grateful for (that are different to the five I named yesterday!)

Lastly I know that it’s ok to have an off day every now and then – as long as my momentum is positive I will make up for the dip on my stronger days.


WiM Africa: Which advertising campaign, from any brand, has been the most memorable for you and why?

SK: Gosh – difficult to pick just one – as there have been so many. I think Dove has been really consistent with their “campaign for real beauty” stripping back all of the filters, make-up and air brushing that we see in social media that makes ordinary people feel inadequate. Similarly I loved the P&G Always “like a girl” work from 2014. It really made people think about the casual gender stereotyping language people use and how instead we can use positive language to empower.


WiM Africa: What three pieces of advice would you give to a woman marketer aspiring to a senior position about getting to and staying at the top of their profession?

SK: 1. Never miss an opportunity to learn from the people you encounter – listen twice as much as you speak.

2. Career progression is more like a climbing wall than a ladder – you can progress faster and higher if you move sideways or even downwards in order to go up. And no experience is ever wasted.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others – there will always be people better or worse off than you. Instead ask yourself if you are making progress – are you better today than you were yesterday?


WiM Africa: Which one person, dead or alive, would you say inspires you the most and why?

SK: There are many people who inspire me for their courage, their values, their intellect, their leadership ability and their ability to change the world for the better. One such person is Wendy Clark, global CEO of Dentsu International. Her EQ and her IQ are equally high, she balances a demanding job operating across multiple time zones and locations with being a great wife and mother to her family, and her values drive her actions.


WiM Africa: If you were stuck on a desert island what three things, excluding electronics, could you not do without?

SK: 1. Bear Grylls. Or someone with similar survival expertise. I’m drawing the line at eating creepy crawlies though!

2. A seaworthy boat – so we could reach civilisation if we wanted to.

3. Sunblock.


Discover more #WiMMeets interviews here!


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