St John’s D.S.G Old Girl, Paulette Josiah (Class of 2005) has a real zest for life and a passion for exploring the world that we live in. When not forced to be in lockdown, Paulette enjoys a very active life of being outdoors, exploring, socialising and, of course, travelling. She is a passionate person who loves learning new things and using that knowledge to solve problems to make this world a better place.
Paulette currently lives and works in Johannesburg as a Sales Specialist in Business Development, specialising in Digital Communication. Her employers, Caxton Publishing Group/Hive Digital Media, have played an integral part in helping to fight gender-based violence by introducing a safety app to schools and businesses to empower women to achieve their full potential without being afraid of simple day-to-day tasks.
It was such a pleasure getting in touch with Paulette recently for this month’s edition of Heart to Heart. Take a look at what she says:
What have you done since leaving school?
After school I graduated from UKZN PMB in 2010, with my Honours in Marketing and Media Communication. My highest achievement at University was having my thesis on the 2010 World Cup published as a book! I then started my first job at uShaka Marine World in their marketing department where I was able to have some really fun, not typically ‘jobby’ type experiences like; playing with dolphins, feeding sunbathing baby crocs and partying with the cast of Generations. After two and half years there I decided I needed a bit more of an adventure, so I moved to Shanghai, China in 2014 to teach English with the Walt Disney Company. That first year very quickly turned into five – I managed to earn a few promotions along the way and ended my time with Disney English as the Head of Academics of my own English Centre. I moved back to South Africa in December 2018, and have been living and working in Johannesburg ever since.
What did you love most about St John’s D.S.G?
I think there is a resounding consensus among all Old Girls in acknowledgement for the level of education that we received at St John’s D.S.G. It is only after leaving school that one can really understand the gift received. I cannot speak highly enough of my teachers; they are the reason I continue to be curious and hungry for knowledge. Their passion for the subjects they taught, as well as for the roles they played in their students’ lives, was obvious. I must mention Miss Middlebrook in particular: she really made History come alive for me – I even remember getting into a fight with my father because I was so desperate to take it as a Matric subject. I made a special detour on a trip to Europe to specifically go to Poland to visit Auschwitz.
What does success mean to you and how did St John’s D.S.G equip you for life after school?
For me as a woman, success is freedom. Success is being able to do what you love, while being surrounded by who you love. Aside from the high level of education, St John’s D.S.G equipped me to believe that us women can achieve whatever goals we set for ourselves. I think this can be attributed to an environment where we were surrounded by strong, intelligent women who were authority figures, and who we could look up to. As a result, I always wanted to be one of those women. Another VERY important lesson I learnt while at school was something our Principal at the time, Mrs Champion, always said. She told us to travel! She forever mentioned the importance of seeing other perspectives and not staying within our “bubbles.” I have been lucky enough to travel to 14 countries and live in two. You really miss out on some exciting parts of life if you just stay in your own world and never open yourself up to anything new.
What advice do you have for our current girls and their families?
For those girls who are loving every minute of their time at St Johns D.S.G, you will go on to do great things, find your people and make choices that will bring you happiness. For those girls who may find that they are currently struggling, you too will go on to do great things, find your people and make choices that will bring you happiness. I struggled at times during my five years at St John’s D.S.G. and in hindsight, I wish I had been more involved with school activities. There were great opportunities on offer for me to get out of my comfort zone, however, I didn’t take them. I urge you young ladies to do two things:
- Try something new (when all is back to normal), maybe a new sport. Try out for Inter-house plays (spoiler alert: Connaught is going to win!), or join Interact or any other committee.
- Be kind. It seems simple enough but as you see in the news, the world still struggles with this one.
For families of these young ladies, I will say, these are the women who will be leading our country and the world one day – always support and encourage them.