Gill Attwood, 42, is very clear about what drives her. “I like making shiny people shine,” she says. As talent manager and influencer marketer she is the imitable force behind some of SA’s best-loved personalities in the entertainment industry.
She’s also sponsorship manager for the likes of extreme swimmer Ryan Stramrood. “Under my creative media consultancy Gillstrawberry I manage a tight portfolio of high-level influencers in the broadcast and public speaking space,” she explains.
Strive to thrive
Problem solving is Gill’s superpower. “I like seeing people thrive and I love helping them navigate their way from A to B,” she says. Coaching is a big part of what she does, but until recently she’d never studied it, she admits.
To strengthen her instinct for psychology Gill enrolled in SACAP’s Coaching Skills for Managers (formally Coaching in the Workplace). It’s an experience that’s really fortified her business offering, she says.
We’re keen to discover how SACAP’s online short course is impacting Gill’s commercial goals, so we sat down with her and asked. Here’s what she has to say…
Queen of connection
Gill is a dynamo in her industry. She cut her teeth as an art director in advertising and spent a decade in radio before starting her own consultancy. Over the years she’s honed her sponsorship, ambassadorship and brand campaign skills – arguably she’s one of the best in the business.
She hasn’t always been in marketing, though. Gill spent two years in Europe (between advertising and radio) participating in open-water swimming challenges. She chaperoned guests between Mediterranean Islands as a swim guide for Swimtrek Holiday Adventures in summer, and helped people traverse the Austrian ski slopes in winter.
Building trustworthy relationships is Gill’s calling.
“I’ve explored multiple career paths and I’ve got an arsenal of all kinds of tools. I wanted to develop and expand my coaching skills more formally so I got in touch with SACAP,” Gill recalls.
The coaching short course she studied through SACAP’s Online Campus is proving to be very valuable, she says. “I wanted to improve my psychological knowledge so that I could be of greater service to my clients.”
“SACAP opened my eyes to a diverse range of coaching competencies. It’s also made me aware of psychology avenues I hadn’t really considered before,” she adds.
“Can’t” doesn’t exist in Gill’s lexicon. She’ll go to great lengths to ensure people don’t fail. “In the past I would resolutely take away obstacles in order to cushion people’s fall,” she says. “Through SACAP’s coaching course I’ve learned how to facilitate growth rather than remove uncomfortable opportunities for expansion.”
“Previously I think I was guilty of bulldozing too hard too fast. The online short course has taught me to be more sensitive and listen. I’ve discovered how asking the right questions can solve all kinds of issues,” she adds. “Now I recognise when I’m too quick to offer advice and should rather put the proverbial ball back in someone else’s court.”
We asked Gill if it was easy to juggle SACAP’s coaching short course with her demanding work and family responsibilities? “Between home schooling because of Covid, intermittent electricity because of Eskom, running a business and studying, it wasn’t always easy,” she concedes. “Luckily I was able to get into a pretty good routine. My husband would take care of the kids while I holed up in my office for two to three hours every week.”
Gill found the course quite reading heavy, she notes. “The content is so interesting, though, I didn’t struggle getting through it all.”
Her favourite part of the programme? “I really liked the case studies, particularly watching others being coached,” she says. “I’ve learned so much about enticing people to find their own solutions to problems. Instead of feeling overwhelmed they can feel incredibly empowered.”
Chatting to Gill it’s hard not to be infected by her positive can-do attitude. “I’ve started some projects with the blind faith that I’ll figure it out as I go along,” she says. “SACAP’s online short course has really boosted my self confidence because now I also have the psychological tools to get the job done.”
What does her future hold? “I’d like to continue helping shiny people shine,” she says. “PR coaching in reputation management is an avenue I’d like to explore further. I also like the idea of running workshops with inspirational people where I step in as facilitator and ask thought-provoking questions.”
Realise your potential
Career paths aren’t always straight lines. In fact, the wigglier they are the fuller they can become. There’s a richness to Gill’s current role. Apart from being a goal-orientated go-getter she’s the successful business owner she is today because of the tributaries she’s explored.
Mighty rivers are informed by lots of squiggly lines.
Want to boost your potential so that you can be a formidable river, too? SACAP’s Coaching Skills for Managers has relevance for people in all walks of life.
If, like Gill, you have a passion for nurturing long-lasting, trustworthy relationships, then signing up is a no-brainer. SACAP’s short course in coaching is a 12-week programme run completely online, which means it’s convenient to knit into your work-life schedule.