Flow has had another year of multiple successes, doing what we do best and pulling out all the stops for old and new clients – all while learning and having fun. Here are some of our fabulous Flowstars’ highlights of 2018.
“Two of my high points were seeing books I’d edited go to the printers – one a history of the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists, and the other of St David’s Marist Inanda,” says senior writer and editor Willem Steenkamp, adding that both jobs were “labours of love for the clients involved, which took much time and effort to complete”.
One of Willem’s best moments was at the end-of-August staff meeting, “when a video was played to mark the work anniversaries of several of us, myself included – and it was brought home to me just how wonderful the company is that I keep every day at Flow, and the cool stuff we get up to”.
Head of social media Melanie Feris’s highlight of the year was the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, with former US president Barack Obama delivering the speech. “It was a great team effort – hard work, but loads of fun. It was also an amazing speech at a time when we as society needed some encouragement in uncertain political times.”
Another highlight for Melanie was being part of the team that did training at MalaMala Game Reserve. “We got to meet the amazing MalaMala team and saw loads of wildlife and my absolute favourite, all the elephants.”
PR account director Allison MacDonald found the universe conspiring to focus her attention on the arts this year. She loved working with Business and Arts South Africa (Basa), and especially delivering PR for the annual Basa Awards.
“It was fab to work with both artists and corporates who are fully committed to giving the creative sector full access to the mainstream South African economy, and absolutely great that the awards trended on Twitter on that day in September!”
Ally also enjoyed working with the Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria, and working across Flow departments to bring the Wonders of Rock Art: Lascaux and Africa exhibition to Joburg audiences. “What an absolute privilege to be part of this exhibition at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre. Here’s hoping 2019 is full of at least as much fun and awe as 2018 was!”
Head of content Edwina van der Burg had two high points this year. The first was being part of the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture team, and the second was being invited to sit on Flow’s board of directors. “The board has shown a great deal of trust in me and I’m equally honoured and scared witless by the appointment.”
Content producer Selinah Seipei’s highlight has been all the travelling she has done for work this year: “I decided at the beginning of the year that I’d make travel a priority and, so far, I’ve managed to see five new provinces and get my first passport stamp for Botswana.
“I got on a plane for the first time in my life in May when we went to Durban for Africa’s Travel Indaba – it was a blast. Not long after, I went to Knysna to cover the Pink Loerie Mardi Gras and Arts Festival and Mr Gay World. I also went to Mpumalanga for the first time, where we interviewed the world-renowned artist Esther Mahlangu. It’s been great.”
The Lascaux exhibition was a 2018 highlight for PR senior account executive Edwin Reichel, who says, “Once again, Flow proved not only its diverse capabilities, but we also managed to secure coverage in diverse media, such as Business Day, The Star, Creative Feel magazine, the Sunday Times, City Press, Kaya FM and Channel Africa.”
Watching Obama deliver this year’s Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture from the commentators’ box at the Wanderers Stadium was a “definite highlight” for senior writer Sue Blaine. “It felt really good to be part of something bigger than any one person, on two levels: the lecture itself and its global impact, and the Flow team.”
Covering Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s funeral for the Nelson Mandela Foundation also stands out for Sue. “I got a sense of watching history unfold before my eyes. It was also quite poignant: I will never forget how the rain came down just as the gun salute started, like the universe was mourning.”
CEO Tara Turkington has too many highlights to list all of them, but they include old clients continuing to support Flow, and winning exciting new work – not only public-sector clients, but also smaller businesses and organisations – across tourism, education, financial services, information technology, human resources and agriculture.
“Flow has thrived in quite difficult times and that speaks to the strength of our culture and our people. The best part of Flow has always been the people who work here,” she stresses.
Visiting Ghana “with its really friendly, warm people and painful history of slavery” for the first time was amazing, says Tara, and her 2018 highlights also included “some great speeches”, including the one by Obama, and one by disabled inspirational speaker Masingita Masunga at Flow in Joburg.
More outstanding moments included winning six New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards and a first-ever PRISM Award (gold).
“My highlight for this year just has to be winning the PRISM,” says Caroline Smith, head of PR. “Even though I was on holiday on the night of the award ceremony, the amazing joy I felt at the recognition of Flow’s awesome work by peers in the PR industry was just totally motivating and uplifting.”
Strategist Janet Berger’s highlight was “working with Sue and Elmarie [Nel, graphic design manager] developing the Villa Arcadia book, a really great collaborative effort”. The publication tells the story of the villa, from being built for one of Johannesburg’s original Randlords to standing “in pride of place” on the Hollard campus.
“Besides helping to come up with the concept for the book, finding out some hidden histories and celebrating Johannesburg’s often forgotten heritage, it has also provided an opportunity for me to do some drawings, something I always delight in,” says Janet.
In conclusion, content developer Tumelo Buthelezi states, “My biggest 2018 highlight was joining Flow, as it represented a significant change in industry from consultancy to communications. Flow has my heartfelt thanks – the company afforded me an opportunity to be so much more than just a writer; I’ve been exposed to roles and technologies that have expanded my skill set.”