Lebo Lion is someone who is not afraid to use her voice to create a world she believes needs to exist in the ecosystem of creativity and commerce.
“The thing about me is that I have always been someone who thinks differently and for a long time I was afraid to share my thoughts because other people weren’t saying the things that I was thinking, believing or seeing. My life really changed when I decided to own my thoughts and my voice. There is room for what I see in this world.”
Lion, 30, is a graduate of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and has been making a name for herself as a force to be reckoned with.
“I am a mind-set shifter. I want to use that title because I do so much. The things I do are rooted in encouraging other people to interrogate their own mind-sets and see how they can harness it to make the world a better place.”
Through her successful podcast, The Lebo Lion Podcast, an iTunes Top 100 podcast, she shares information, tools and techniques that people can use in their businesses to improve their marketing strategy and to improve their overall mind-set about entrepreneurship and professionalism.
She also has a marketing agency where she works with different brands, small agencies and emerging African brands to help them create globally competitive companies.
“I am rooted in the idea that because we are living in the digital era where technology penetrates through everything we do, there is no way anyone who is creating anything valuable is not a global player.”
Lebo also serves in the role of an influencer, with brands paying her to communicate their own messaging. As a speaker, she talks about strategies, innovation and marketing.
“Unlike other speakers, when brands book me they do it because they want to see how they can do things differently to how they were doing them. I am a speaker who disrupts the room that she impacts.”
While she was still in high school, she did not know that Marketing would be her ultimate career. As a child who liked to experiment, Lebo found it overwhelming to decide on her career path. She tried different things including signing up to be a journalist at the school paper and shadowing people at their jobs.
“The thread in everything I was doing was I would thrive when I was speaking on a stage or connecting with people and coming up with new ideas to create something different. My career hasn’t been a set path because I wanted to find a way to make all of those things into one thing.”
4IR in action
As a 4IR ambassador for UJ, Lebo is part of a team of people who are pushing the narrative of technology and its benefits to society.
“With technology in our strategies and lives and the advantages that it provides, you have the power to create the world that you want to see. There are going to be so many new careers that people can design in their minds and make it a reality.”
Her university choice started with Accounting Science before changing to Bcom Marketing.
“I tried for two years and it didn’t work for me. It just didn’t fit my natural talents and skills. I knew I wanted to do marketing and when I got into it I was a little disappointed in the curriculum because it was not the way I thought it would be. It wasn’t encompassing enough.
She changed from the tertiary school she was at and moved to UJ.
“UJ is so good at adding elements of practicality in what they share. I went to my lecturer with the things I didn’t agree with in the course and he was so open to debating and making sense of things. He allowed me to enjoy my journey of studying marketing and make it more practical for me.”
Advice to students – No one can make you certain about your future
“That is a decision you have to make for yourself. The riskier the decision, the harder it will be to achieve success in that decision so you have to live with the consequences of choosing something that is different and unconventional.”
She still has days where she questions her entrepreneurship journey because of how other qualifications are seen as better than or have more access to opportunities.
“The degree you choose will determine how hard you have to work to build the life of your dreams. There needs to be respect for different careers and I want to change the culture of what Marketing is seen as so that there is more respect for it.”
In August, Lebo launched her podcast as a vlogcast on YouTube as a visual extension of what they have been doing on the podcast. She is also looking at taking her brand international, becoming an author and expanding her brand to other traditional formats.