There’s a Chinese proverb that says “women hold up half the sky”, but, at Flow, women hold up 71.8% of the sky – and those women, indeed everybody who calls Flow their professional home (male and female alike), are held up by two people.
Tara and Tiffany Turkington, our dynamic leaders, are often affectionately called the dynamite sisters inside Flow, because TNT is also the shorthand for trinitrotoluene, the explosive chemical compound in dynamite.
And boy, have they been dynamite this year. First, they won a joint award from the US-based International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC) Foundation. Then, the company that they so ably head up won no fewer than 10 New Generation Social and Digital Media Awards.
But the sisters are not known to rest on their laurels – or indeed, to rest. And every height that is scaled is just an invitation to climb higher. So, this month, we are pleased and proud to be able to say that Tara and Tiffany are two of the formidable women featured in the Mail & Guardian’s 2017 Book of South African Women.
The sub-title of the publication is On the Shoulders of Giants – and it’s great to see these two remarkable leaders of Flow take their place among other women trailblazers. While neither sister is particularly tall, they stand high in the South African landscape, and in the hearts of the team they lead.
It’s often easy (and tempting) to consider only the awards and successes of leadership, and to overlook the enormous sacrifices and hard work that go into making a leader. So it is with Tara and Tiffany, who started Flow nearly 13 years ago in Tara’s spare bedroom and built the company up – person by person and client by client – to what it is today: one of the country’s foremost full-service communication consulting agencies.
Tara has a clear message about the journey and experience. “I cannot remember once being motivated by money,” she says. “For us, it’s always been about working with people and businesses to make the world a better place. Communication lies at the very heart of what makes people human. It’s such a cool privilege to work with our colleagues alongside our clients to help the world understand them better. This is the real reward, and award, for the work we do.”
Tiffany says: “I feel so honoured and grateful to be included in such an impressive line-up of strong women. It’s lovely to see a reflection of so many industries and professions.”
In fact, adds Tara: “It’s almost a bit embarrassing – these women are so amazing, and I am not sure that I can live up to their amazingness.”
But Flow’s team members don’t agree that the sisters don’t belong. Young Flowstar Kerry Robertson says: “What’s amazing about Tara and Tiffany is that, even though they’re being recognised for being at the top of the class, they still remain completely grounded and real, and are the first to roll up their sleeves when work is needed.”
And Qiniso Makopo, who works on Flow’s public-relations team, says: “My job just got easier – who doesn’t want a client that reels in award after award?”
Flow Communications chairman Bheki Shongwe says he couldn’t have asked for a better team in Tara and Tiffany to build and lead what he believes is a communications giant of the future.
The agency’s clients are also impressed. Natalie Zimmelman, CEO of the South African Society of Anaesthesiologists, says: “Congratulations! We have been working with Flow since 2015, and they have really helped us achieve our communications goals. Well done to Tara and Tiffany.”
“While we are grateful for this recognition, really we have to thank the amazing people at Flow, who back us every inch of the way, and the culture we have developed and nurtured together that makes it possible to come to work every day and love what we do, enjoy the people we do it with and make a difference everywhere we can,” concludes Tara.