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Meet the Team | Kayla Pickbourn

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There is a right time for the right thing – always. A philosophy I live by and am so close to. I used to joke and say, “you couldn’t squeeze life’s lemons between us even if you tried.” Disappointments are painful if we believe that we’re robbed of the things we want most, but believing that the right thing has the right time limits the pain of disappointment because it enforces the view of the best is yet to come.

It wasn’t until 2020 (Cue another pandemic real-life account) that life managed to shove a lemon between me and my beloved philosophy. Nothing had the right time, place or thing for me last year.  At the time the pandemic was unfolding before our eyes I was flying all over the world as one of the “elite” Middle eastern Cabin Crew for a 5-star airline. Seeing the world – breakfast in New York, lunch over the Atlantic and dinner in Paris. It’s not half as glamorous as it sounds, but I like that it sounds glamorous so let’s go with that.

Then… lockdowns. As the world started to shut its borders without warning I was in London – getting engaged to the man of my dreams with a fabulous British accent. Only to have the joy of my engagement clouded by uncertainty. Overnight I made the decision to take unpaid leave to go to my home in South Africa. I landed from London in Qatar, stopped at my company accommodation, chucked a bag that held more or less 30 days of clothes and my valuables in it, locked my door and took the last flight out to South Africa. 36 hours later I landed in Johannesburg a complete mess. This was only for 30 days, right? Because surely after a global 3-week lockdown, the pandemic would end and then we all go about our normal lives again?

Little did I know that 10 months later I would still be in South Africa, retrenched, with all my belongings still in company accommodation in Qatar, a Fiancé in the UK that I hadn’t seen since our engagement, continuous travel bans, a planned and then cancelled wedding and a visa application that hung on the strings of facing another UK lockdown.

Where is this right thing at the right time now?

Whilst I sat with the lemons life had shoved squarely between me and my optimistic philosophy, I made lemonade. I happened to find myself at home with nothing to do – something that people close to me will tell you isn’t going to last long. So I got involved in the family business. A business that hadn’t seen a drop of work pour in for 8 months and then got slammed by lockdowns. The business relied on word-of-mouth and had no means of adapting to the digital market. Enter – Me, with nothing but time on my hands. I set out to put together a full-scale plan to give this local business its first Digital Footprint. I learnt how to put together branding, build a website, run social channels, check data and optimize performance. Not overnight but one week at a time as lockdowns continued to be extended around me. Before I knew it I had literally stumbled into digital marketing and communications! Words like analytics, content schedules and creatives replaced my daily vocabulary of flight schedules, safety checks and “fasten seatbelts for turbulence.”

In the midst of all the wrong things at the wrong time, I made a meaningful difference in my family’s life. The business raked in new projects within three months of the first digital newsletter and closed the financial year with a 1,000,000ZAR turnover despite Covid’s best efforts.  I had developed valuable new skills, found an interest in digital marketing I may never have found and on top of that – I had more time with my family than I’d had in over two years.

Kayla WeddingIn December, travel bans had a brief gap and my fiancé arrived in SA for Christmas. My visa was approved and on the 16th of January we arrived in the UK, together! We married in the registrar office on the 1st of April (The only date available because my philosophy has a sense of humour and thought April fool’s day would be the perfect irony to the last year). In May I received my right to work and immediately went on the job hunt. You already know how that ends because here I am telling you I landed an incredible opportunity with Creed which I started just three weeks ago now.

I’ve joined the Digital team, working alongside Client Services. I monitor our digital performance and constantly work at how we can improve the campaigns we deliver. I’m in a position where I can make a real impact not only in my role but by the work we do as a team, getting thousands of candidates with the right talent into their perfect roles. Win-win for both our clients and job seekers!  We’re growing our digital service at Creed and as aptly as ever with digital marketing, every day is a school day! We’ll never be done learning and I’m excited to be part of planning for the future.

Looking back, I learnt everything I needed to learn in the last year for the future that was meant for me, spent valuable time with my family before moving to the UK and was perfectly positioned to join a thriving team. For many, the fight isn’t over yet, but I’m grateful to say that mine is, and I’ll be aiming every campaign I work on with the hope of bringing someone else to the victory in their battle!

The right thing, at the right time. Even when you only see it in hindsight.

Kayla Pickbourn