Co-owner and director of integrated outdoor solutions company, MMAP, and a member of the SABC Board, O’Neil has been a mover and shaker in the industry for the past 30 years.
After spending several years with M-Net where she rose through the ranks to become GM of marketing at Oracle Airtime Sales, O’Neil further entrenched her name in the TV arena when she joined the Midi Consortium and its bid for a free-to-air TV broadcasting licence in 1997. As commercial sales director of e.tv, O’Neil was one of the eight people who set up the country’s first private free-to-air channel.
She went on to become MD of media agency, Initiative Media, before joining the SABC as GM: television sales and marketing, in 2001.
Upon her departure from the SABC in 2005, O’Neil consulted in the media and broadcasting sector, including at the two satellite TV licensees, Telkom Media and ODM.
In January 2010, O’Neil was appointed by President Jacob Zuma to serve as a non-executive director on the SABC Board, essentially representing the advertising and marketing industries. She is also chairperson of the SABC Board’s public commercial services sub-committee, and gives direct oversight to the SABC’s commercial enterprises division (advertising sales).
Asked about how she envisages her new role at SAARF, O’Neil says she hopes her term as chairperson will be a time of “future-proofing the Foundation”.
“As the guardian of one of the industry’s most valuable resources, the SAARF board must do more than simply rubber-stamp decisions made by the various media and product councils under it,” she says. “Made up as it is of representatives of every constituent within the media, marketing and advertising industries, the SAARF board is uniquely placed to play a hands-on role in identifying future challenges and trends in the industry which will have an impact on SAARF and its work, and to then make plans accordingly.”
O’Neil has proposed the creation of a future-proofing sub-committee on the SAARF board which will tackle such issues as funding, changes in the various media, and tenders for SAARF’s research products – anything which could have an impact on the future stability and security of the industry’s media currencies.
O’Neil is supported at the helm by another top name in the industry, Virginia Hollis.
A renowned media strategist and the outgoing MD of The MediaShop Sandton, Hollisbegins her second year as vice-chairperson of SAARF’s Board.
Involved in the world of media strategy and buying since the eighties, Hollis started FCB’s media independent, FCB Global Media, in 1992. She became involved with the company with which her name is surely synonymous – The MediaShop – in 1997.
She was chairperson of AMASA from 1997 to 2000, and is currently a member of the AMF and sits on the Loeries board.
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