Prudential People - Sumayya Davenhill, Head of Marketing
Tell us what your role at Prudential is and why you enjoy it.
As Head of Marketing, I am responsible for the Prudential brand and what it stands for. I have always been passionate about the customer and I am proud to work in a business that genuinely puts the customer first.
What is the first job you ever did?
I worked in my Dad’s supermarket in one of the townships in Port Elizabeth after school and on weekends. It was my first introduction to smiley’s and walkie-talkies. All I wanted at the time was to go out to the movies and malls like my friends, but looking back it was the best foundation to business and money that I could have wished for.
Your most vivid memory of school...
Waiting for the home-time bell... I was never one for rules and conformity.
What is your favourite time of day and why?
Dinner time. We all sit around the table and talk about our day. I love the stories I hear from my 8- and 4-year-old boys. Their perspectives on how things should be make me laugh and also make me think about how in adulthood we complicate things way too much.
Where did you spend your last holiday?
In Port Elizabeth, visiting my folks. I slept in my old room and my Mom did everything like she did when I was younger. Total bliss.
What do you do to relax?
I cook and cook and cook. I am Indian after all; it’s in my DNA.
What is your number-one bucket list activity?
To visit India. When I was 10, I traced our family tree, so it would be great to go and find out where my great grandparents lived – and I really love saris!
Where do you usually spend Saturday afternoons?
On my bed, reading and trying to nap between shouts of happiness or despair from the boys in the lounge watching English Premier League soccer.
If you didn’t work in financial services, what would you do?
I can’t imagine not working in financial services; I absolutely love it. Maybe baking cakes for kiddies’ parties; I really enjoy doing that and have made some really good ones – or so my sons tell me.
Money makes the world…
...go ‘round, but marketing makes it spin.
Who is your hero and why?
My husband, without a shadow of doubt. Even with all the noise in our daily lives, I know that he would do anything for me and our boys. He deserves a medal: he married me and my whole family. He puts up with all of them. On any given Sunday, all of my siblings are around for lunch, and Tuesday dinner and even Thursday dinner. I don’t think he bargained on a package deal, but he deals with it superbly.
If you were a superhero, what powers would you have?
My son asked me this very question the other day. I told him that I am already a superhero – I am a working mom. He laughed and said that he wished he was a superhero who could control me and make me disappear, especially when I ask him to tidy up his toys.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life?
It would have to be someone with curves in all the wrong places, someone who is a little impatient, and definitely someone who has passion and guts, and wants to do it all. Oh, and they would need to know how to cook a mean butter chicken, or else it just wouldn’t be authentic!