An accomplished, creative and influential marketing and communications specialist with two decades of experience, Monica Jooste was promoted to Head of Trade and Partnerships Marketing in August 2021, and is well placed to lead this team to even greater heights.
Born in South Africa, Monica moved to the UK when she was just eight years old, but spent most of her school holidays back in her spiritual home – the African bush. Her love of pristine wild places, wildlife and adventure has seen her travel extensively throughout her life, including a period of 18 months when she donned a backpack and set off alone to explore the world.
Aside from a short spell trading in Foreign Exchange for a bank in the UK, Monica has spent her entire career in the Marketing and Communications space. Her first five years in the profession were spent in Corporate Communication at De Beers Consolidated Mines, developing her communications skills across a broad spectrum of audiences. She then moved to the UK for a few years, enhancing her marketing skills at the investment bank, Barclays Capital, as Brand and Advertising Manager.
On her return to South Africa, Monica joined digital marketing agency Aqua Online as Client Relationship Manager to the Southern Sun group. Here she not only cultivated her experience in digital marketing and media, as well as developed skills in project management, but her time in the agency space was a pivotal moment in her career. Firstly her talent, and love, for copywriting became evident – often finding herself re-writing and improving text received from various copywriters – and secondly, working with a hotel group sparked her interest in the tourism industry. However she also knew that purely commercial tourism was not going to get her out of bed every day and bring purpose to her life.
In 2010, Monica’s life changed when she joined Wilderness Safaris’ Marketing team as a copywriter. She grew into an accomplished, creative and influential writer, and coupled with her previous experience, a strong team member. She excelled in the B2B world, delivering effective collateral and communications to our trade audiences and drove strategic campaigns within this space – as well cemented deep relationships with many of her colleagues in the sales teams. When the exciting new-technology reservations platform itrvl launched, she played a crucial role in helping the team take it to market.
Monica’s love for Wilderness Safaris’ culture, and her positive and inclusive attitude, made her the ideal candidate for the new Internal Communications Manager role that was established in 2019. Prior to this, she had already started supporting the Communications team with various strategic announcements and collateral requirements, and her appointment saw her drive and instil the company’s culture internally, through its values and purpose. Most of her time in this role was spent supporting EXCO and the Human Resources team during the very difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the business and industry, especially staff.
Wilderness Safaris has taught me so much about myself and the world around me. I am humbled every day to work alongside people who place conservation and community impact ahead of personal gain and, as I embark on my next adventure, I’m thrilled that it is still within this remarkable and dynamic company. In my new role I intend to build strong and lasting relationships with the sales team and our partners to grow our brands and businesses together. I believe one way to do this is through our cutting-edge itrvl platform that will help our agent partners generate more sales. It’s exciting to be part of the team that that will help shape and drive the commercial objectives in the business, as this will ultimately help us to continue our vision and purpose to double the tract of conservation land under our influence – Monica.