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Riding The Airwaves With 5FM Station Manager Justine Cullinan

Content creation, revenue and programming are all in a day’s work for 5FM Station Manager Justine Cullinan, winner of the Corporate Category in the 2017 Veuve Clicquot ELLE Boss Award.

As 5FM’s Station Manager, one of Justine Cullinan’s objectives includes developing the vision and the strategy of the brand while managing a team of 15 permanent staff members and 58 freelancers who deliver top-quality multimedia content to a youthful market. ‘I make sure that the 5FM purpose is lived, that we bring together youthful South Africans every day,’ she says.

The ELLE Boss experience

My first memory of the experience was pushing
a trolley around the supermarket and getting a
message from 5FM’s Rob Forbes of the Forbes and Fix Show, sending me a screenshot of his ELLE Boss nomination of me. I had a little cry right then and there, which left me humbled. Another memory was being interviewed by the powerful women on the judging panel.

Why other women should enter ELLE Boss

Thuli Madonsela once said to me: ‘It is by the grace and help of others that we rise,’ and that’s always rung true for me. ELLE Boss is an initiative that pro les women who succeed and who are valued by their teams. That inspires other women who then see value in striving for their goals. ELLE Boss helps you lift others as you rise.

Message to the next generation of women
Luck is a matter of opportunity meeting preparation. You really need to use your time effectively and single-mindedly to accumulate as much preparation as possible, so that when the opportunity arises, you are at the front of the line.
Biggest challenges faced

With digital media and marketing and the speed at which that supports changing consumer behaviour, staying up to date and keeping ahead of the curve to future-proof the business is hard. Millennials and Gen-Zs make up the majority of my 5FM family, and my people are not just working, they literally are what they do. This means that the quality of their work is an intimate and direct reflection of who they are and their characters. That makes criticism very hard to accept and it makes work emotional.

Best advice received

Keep kicking the ball in the direction it’s going. Eventually, you will find the net.

Greatest achievement

Obtaining my Master’s with distinction while working full- time and lecturing part-time.

More about Justine…

City of birth: Sidcup, England

City of residence: Johannesburg

Education: Bachelor
of Journalism (Rhodes University) and Master’s
in Management: Strategic Marketing (Wits Business School and the University of Bocconi in Milan)

Mantra: Decide what you want, write it down, make a plan, then do the hard work every single day