Press Room

Govender adds 'BrightSpark' to new Communications Company - June 2012

Michelle Govender"It starts with a dream and if you are determined enough and stick it out through the tough times you will reap the rewards and realize your dreams are in your own hands," said Durban Business woman, Michelle Govender, proud new owner of her own communications company, BrightSpark Communications in Durban, Westville.

Being successful requires working hard, dedication, lots of long hours and determination to succeed and such qualities are what drove the dynamic young entrepreneur, Durban businesswoman, Michelle Govender, to start her own communications company, doing publicity and event management in the sunny ‘Funsunzi’. Govender had been a partner at acompany called Activate Communications for about five years and although her time there had been immensely wonderful, it was time forher to grow and branch out on her own. She believes that everything happens for a reason and is now the new helm of BrightSpark Communications from this year.

With exceptional writing and editing skills honed over the past 15 years in public relations and corporate communications, from press releases to newsletters, she realised the need to break into such amarket in Durban and become her own boss. Her 12 of years of experience gained at the eThekwini Municipality iswhat shaped her to the path of leadership with her skills gained in networking, negotiating and collaborating with various companies and using her expertise to brand those companies at her time at the council. "I have an established network within the city of Durban. This network is made up of political, business, media and city officials and has proven to be a useful asset to my clients as it broadens the scope to negotiate within the city more easily," said Govender.

Her dream of being the owner of BrightSpark Communications, started from the age of 16 when her classmates were deciding to become teachers and going to University." I thought about doing something different that I would enjoy doing for the rest of my life. So I did some research on public relations and it felt like the perfect fit, studied towards a Btech degree in PR and I haven't looked back since. No two days are the same, it’s stressful but also very rewarding," she added.

However her road to being a successful and savvy business woman has been a difficult journey, and not without its ups and downs to reach this point. She came from a well paying job at the eThekwini Municipality’s Communications unit to a business without a single client. Nevertheless, she persevered since she knew she had what it took to make her dream come true.

"I gave myself five years and thought well if it doesn't work out atleast I tried. But it’s been phenomenal and we've grown handling major clients like Unilever, the East Coast Radio House & Garden Show and we also have an American client on our books with a retainer. The Durban Beach Festival has also been an event we worked on for 2007/2008 and 2011. I also was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to work on the World Cup 2010, handling the publicity for all the transport arrangements around World Cup," beamed Govender proudly.

A typical day begins with her arriving at the office around 8:30am and diving into her many emails."There is no typical day for me, it can range from doing boring admin work for the business to catching a flight to Cape Town to co-ordinate and oversee an event to attending a social event," she said. Her company also handles a wide range of creative services, collaborating with creative services peers, producing marketing and other print communications in public relations and corporate communications, from writing press releases, newsletters as well as identifying and maximising PR opportunities to give clients as much ‘free’ coverage aspossible. I also develop and implement communication strategies toreach internal employees and other stakeholders," she said.

Being a business woman in the 21st century means you have to constantly evolve with technology and in terms of being a success means making use of the social media tools to make business deals and create awareness of my business. "Social media has changed the way we communicate and since we are in the communication business, I have found that you need to keep ahead or be left behind. All news seems to break on Twitter these days and therefore I need to become more proactive about publicity and use the very same social networks to my advantage," she said.

Juggling a family and her career requires balance and her inspiration comes from her loving and supportive husband, Clinton and gorgeous daughter, Isabella Grace."Having a three-year old was not what I had bargained for. Being focused on our careers, my husband and I put that on the back burner for 12 years of our marriage and then the day arrived when I really wanted a child and within a blink of an eye I was pregnant. It’s been an amazing journey with Isabella, balancing a business and a family but I'm every woman," she laughed.

Michelle predicts that after growing her company and building up her clientele in KZN, she will hand over the reigns to someone else."In five years time, I want to be able to hand over the reigns tosomebody capable enough to run the daily activities whilst I oversee and bring in the client base. Our client base can only grow and I'mpassionate about helping NGOs with publicity and would love to run training workshops for them to maximize their spend. “Although my business right now is enriching me as an individual, that isn’t the ultimate goal, I’m in business to empower other young up and coming entrepreneurs and financially assist them when the time is right.” added Michelle.

Right now, I do everything with the help of my Communications Officer, Candice Pigden, and in time I would not mind growing my staff base as the business grows.

Michelle, not one to shy away from work, also needs time to unwind. She enjoys going to comedy shows with home-based talent since local is always lekker."I also love photography and travel. I get bored easily so my mind needs to be stimulated all the time, therefore a good book goes a long way. I also enjoy my circle of friends and love planning parties and get togethers," she said. Govender also believes that KZN is a great business hub and has no plans to expand beyond her birth province, which she believes hasexcellent business potential in years to come. "I will not leave KZN. This is home and we have the potential to become front-runners in the business world. We work hard and play evenharder," reiterated Govender.

Govender believes that there has always been a higher power watching over her and therefore my company is going to grow in leaps and bounds, so watch this space for BrightSpark Communications it's here to stay and leave an indelible mark in the communications industry.