“So, tell us a bit more about yourself.” This is easily my most dreaded question in an interview. Where do I start? What are they really asking? What do they want to know? There then comes a moment where I stop fretting and show them Cindy-Lee La Verne Minnaar in all her glory. What’s meant for me will never escape me so there’s no chance of messing up.
It then goes a little something like this:
I’m Cindy. I’m 36 years old and I’m a mom of a beautiful 8-year-old girl, Layyah.
I’m the youngest of five children and our father passed away on 02 December 20 years ago at the tender age of 51 as a result of alcoholism. He left his entire estate to our mom who made sure we all got our fair share.
Since I was in standard 9 going to matric at the time, I decided to use my share to study something at college. I’ve always enjoyed writing and I wanted to learn more about something that came naturally to me so I went with a Journalism certificate at the Damelin campus. Turned out a lot of our lecturers were fake. (I wonder if they still do that. I digress…)
There are very few times where I get truly angry. Unfairness is up there as a major trigger. Needless to say, I stormed into that Dean’s office to demand my inheritance back. “It is my only chance at success!” I indignantly informed him. “I’m sorry ma’am. We cannot refund you. But what we can do is extend your course by a year and you can complete it at a different campus.” That settled me right down. (lesson: stand up for yourself!).
The following year I completed my diploma with flying colours at Allenby Campus in Bramley, Johannesburg. I met a wonderful lecturer – @Marion Sher – who got me my first job at ITWeb as a trainee IT journalist with @Ranka Jovanovic. One @Georgina Guedes mentored me for the first six months I was there and when she was promoted to editor of Brainstorm, the publisher’s monthly print magazine, she took me with her and created a position for me – Production Coordinator. A big BIG shout out to Georgi – you shaped so much of how I choose to show up in the workplace with everything you taught me and also how you taught me. I always consider myself very lucky to have met you at such a critical juncture in my career.
Four years and about an equal amount of promotions later, I felt I’d reached the ceiling at ITWeb and wanted to see what the world had in store for me. Soon after, I got an interview opportunity with Momentum Health and was subsequently employed as the publications manager in the marketing department, where things got shuffled around a lot. You know how it goes in corporate… forever restructuring.
It was in one of those restructures that they decided/realised (I don’t know which one it is) that publications manager was no longer a thing and that Public Relations Officer was the closest fit. I felt hella uncomfortable putting that title on my signature when I had exactly zero credentials to back it up. So I did a PR course through Unisa, which I aced.
During my 8-year tenure at Momentum Health, I got married, had a baby and got divorced. I like to call it my growing up years. Once the dust had settled on the emotional rollercoaster, I felt I was ready for another challenge and went trawling on the interwebs using a fairly uncommon approach (to me, anyway) to job-hunting. I browsed companies and decided to reach out to the ones that piqued my interest, whether they had available jobs or not.
It was then that I stumbled upon a PR and advertising agency called Idea Engineers. Cool name huh? Was legit the only reason I reached out to them. Okay no, I lie. I also loved seeing the people’s faces on the website. Felt like I was going to be part of a family. It looked like somewhere I wanted to belong.
It took a while before I got an interview there, but once I did, the job was in the bag. I was so excited about my new adventure.
Yoh. I felt like I was punched in the gut and completely out of my depth when I actually got there. I was nauseous every workday for the first year. I realised that whereas a big corporate is like the Titanic on the ocean, an agency is a speedboat.
I have met quite a few incredible people along my career journey. One of the most important was meeting my now business partner, Ashmika.
It was quite soon into our friendship when we decided we wanted to start a business together. We had no clue where to start so we abandoned the idea just as quickly as we got it. Still, the seed was planted.
In February 2020 I started a new job at a boutique agency that shall not be named. Wow. I thought agency life was wild. It paled in comparison to boutique agency life. A few short months later (and well into the Covid-19 pandemic) Ashmika and I both needed to supplement our income and decided we should properly launch a business this time. So we did. And that’s how Indika Communications was born.
For those wondering how the name Indika came about… it was Ash’s brainchild. A combination of my and her first names. CINDY-LEE AND ASHMIKA.
Our fledgling consultancy is growing and we couldn’t be more proud to be female business owners with so many incredible mentors who are just a phone call away. Check out our website to see some of the services we offer. We love what we do and have a heart for service for all types of customers, though I must admit that there is a definite bias towards helping small businesses grow.
So, when I get asked to tell anyone a bit about myself, it’s hard to not go into the story of what makes me, me. And now there you have it.
Answering the question of what drives me would be substantially shorter.
I am driven by being the best mother I can be.
I am driven by living a purpose-driven life, a life of service to others.
I can’t think that I’ve left anything out, but if there’s anything you want to know, drop it in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. I’m not ashamed of any part of my story. It has all played a significant role in shaping me into the IMPACTOR I am and strive to be. To God be the glory. I am so excited to see what the future holds!
Right now Cindy-Lee Minnaar is out manifesting her dream bio: social entrepreneur, angel Investor, property mogul and best-selling author.