Annabel Govender

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Paving Her Way in the Automotive Industry

In the dynamic world of the automotive industry, where progress is fuelled by innovation and passion, there are trailblazers who shine through with their determination and unique perspectives. One such inspiring individual is Annabel Govender, the General Manager of two of the busiest test stations in KwaZulu-Natal. Her journey in the vehicle testing station industry is a testament to the power of authenticity, resilience, and the pursuit of one’s dreams.

Defying Expectations at 19

At the tender age of 19, Annabel embarked on her professional journey as a reception clerk at Westmead Vehicle Test Station. Armed with only a high school education and a one-year certification in secretarial studies, she fearlessly stepped into the male-dominated industry. From the very beginning, Annabel faced the challenges of breaking gender stereotypes and earning respect in a world where women’s roles were often underestimated. And with no previous work experience and being an only child from a home of overprotective Indian parents, her experience of the world was very limited. She was unprepared for the kind of work environment  she was thrust into at such a young age and felt very much out of her depth.

Acquiring a Diverse Skill Set

As she worked her way up the ranks, initially starting as a reception clerk, Annabel showcased her dedication to personal growth and professional development. Through perseverance and hard work, she acquired a diverse skill set encompassing leadership, communication, project management, administration, finance, and human resources. These skills formed the foundation of her rise to becoming a General Manager, a role that requires a unique blend of grit and EQ.

A Turning Point in Annabel’s Career

Annabel says there were many defining moments in her twenty-year career including diversifying the businesses and growing the new divisions. She says some succeeded and others failed and having to navigate those highs and lows in business prepared her for the Covid Pandemic in 2020. Like many other businesses these also suffered great financial loss and low staff morale but having overcome many hurdles in business previously, they were able to bounce back successfully. Another significant moment that shaped her growth and bolstered her confidence was obtaining her Bachelor of Commerce degree while working her high-pressure job.

This commitment to continuous learning exemplifies her passion for personal and professional growth.

Fitting into a male-dominated industry

The road to success in a male-dominated industry was not without its challenges. At first, Annabel attempted to fit in by emulating her male colleagues, believing she needed to be more assertive and independent and stronger in business to prove her worth. However, she soon realised that true success lies in embracing one’s femininity . Embracing her femininity became a powerful tool for Annabel, allowing her to flourish and show that success is not about conforming to stereotypes but about finding one’s unique path.

Innovating in a Traditional Industry

As a woman in a male-dominated field, Annabel brought a fresh perspective that challenged traditional norms. Her innovative ideas have led to initiatives to streamline processes and enhance customer experiences and service efficiency. By embracing diversity and inclusion, she fostered a positive work environment that encourages collaboration and supports the growth and development of all team members and their families. This holistic approach and management style have made a  huge difference as she cares about individuals and their families, not just their performance on the job.

The True Measure of Success: Nurturing Others to Thrive

Mentoring and empowering others have become an integral part of Annabel’s career journey. She actively seeks out opportunities to guide and inspire aspiring professionals in the automotive industry. For her, the true measure of a leader’s success lies in the achievements of those they have mentored and nurtured along the way. She believes the greatest achievement in a leader’s career is not just their personal success, but the success of those they have helped grow along the way. She is eternally grateful to her mentor, Surray Naidoo, owner of the business who has helped shape who she is as a woman in business – making her strong, yet gentle and giving Annabel the tools to succeed in business through her wisdom and knowledge as a woman in business herself and greatly Inspiring Annabel with her leadership style. To be empathetic towards others whilst still being dynamic in business is one of Annabel’s greatest strengths today and Annabel thanks her partner who further cultivated this in her.  And finally in terms of her life long role models she refers to her wonderful parents who have always encouraged and supported her, and most importantly, taught her the value of God in her life and placing him above all else.

A Future Filled with Enthusiasm

Looking ahead, Annabel’s aspirations for the future are filled with enthusiasm and motivation. With two decades of experience and a solid foundation and wealth of experience, she is committed to continuing her growth and pushing new boundaries in her career and the vehicle testing station industry and her personal life. Her impact goes beyond just the industry; it reaches into her personal life, where her dedication to excellence serves as a model for others.

Inspiring the Next Generation: Advice for Young Professionals

To young professionals, especially women, entering male-dominated industries, Annabel offers profound advice. She encourages them to believe they can achieve any success in their careers through perseverance. Success is not about conforming to stereotypes or trying to be someone you are not, but about finding your unique strengths and leveraging them whilst embracing your authenticity. Embracing femininity can be a powerful asset, empowering women to excel in any field they choose.  She reminds young people to remember to seek out mentors and support systems, as they can provide guidance and inspiration along the way and never to stop learning and growing. One must pursue your goals relentlessly and not be scared to put in the hard work. One of the things Annabel began doing very early in her working career  “Working  above your pay grade”, be enthusiastic about your job functions at whatever level you are within your company and do more than what is just required of you, contribute to the business with innovative ideas, you will stand out from your peers and get noticed which will lead to promotions and the success you aim for.

Annabel believes a woman’s voice and contributions are valuable, and they have the potential to make a significant impact in their industry. Finally, it is important when you are growing that you always turn around and help others, lift as we rise.

Annabel’s journey in the automotive industry is a story of courage, authenticity, and relentless pursuit of excellence. Her unique perspective and innovative ideas have carved a path of success, inspiring others to embrace their true selves and make their mark in male-dominated industries. As she continues to make a lasting impact on the vehicle testing station industry, Annabel’s story serves as a guiding light for women entering this challenging yet rewarding field.

Sibongile Mthembu

Sibongile Mthembu

From Numbers to Impact: An Inspiring Career in Automotive Bookkeeping

Meet Sibongile Mthembu, a passionate bookkeeper with more than a decade of experience in the automotive industry. As we delve into her personal and professional journey, we discover a woman driven by a love for working with figures and a desire to make a positive impact in her field. Let’s embark on an insightful journey alongside Sibongile as she shares her experiences, aspirations, and the lessons she’s learned along the way.

A Favourite Quote that Drives Change

At the heart of Sibongile’s drive for personal growth and transformation lies a powerful quote (her favourite), “You must be the change you wish to see in the world,” paraphrased from Mahatma Gandhi. This quote reminds us all of the importance of self-reflection, taking action, and fostering inner transformation. For Sibongile, this belief is not just a motivational phrase but a guiding principle that propels her forward, both personally and professionally.

An Inspirational Role Model: William Deloitte

In her pursuit of excellence, Sibongile finds inspiration in William Deloitte, a pioneer in the field of accounting. Deloitte’s innovative mindset, leadership skills, and ability to make powerful connections resonates deeply with Sibongile. His ambition and determination to reach new heights align perfectly with her own values, igniting her desire to ascend to leadership positions within the industry.

Growing within RMI

Sibongile’s journey within the Retail Motor Industry organisation (RMI) has been a transformative one. Starting as a creditors controller four years ago, she has since risen to managing RMI’s core membership database. Through dedication, hard work, and the support of her team, she has accomplished significant milestones in her career, proving that perseverance and commitment bear fruit.

Embracing Career Aspirations and Opportunities

Being part of the Succession Plan programme at RMI has allowed Sibongile to uncover her potential as a leader. She envisions herself in a leadership position, guiding and inspiring others on their own career paths. RMI has played a pivotal role in fostering her growth and encouraging her to embrace new challenges fearlessly.

Celebrating Accomplishments: A Bachelor’s Degree

One of Sibongile’s proudest achievements is completing her Bachelor’s degree with unwavering support from her team. This accomplishment not only showcases her dedication but also her commitment to honouring promises and responsibilities, even in the face of adversity.

Words of Wisdom

To young women starting their careers within the RMI, Sibongile offers valuable advice: Embrace the belief that continuous learning, growth, and evolution are possible. Cultivate a growth mindset that welcomes challenges and perceives failures as stepping stones toward success.

Small, Impactful Actions

Sibongile firmly believes that creating meaningful change doesn’t necessarily require grand gestures; it can be achieved through small, impactful actions. In her vision of women empowerment, she seeks to make lasting contributions that inspire other women in leadership roles to create a supportive and nurturing environment for aspiring individuals.

Possibilities Unfold

Sibongile’s journey in the automotive industry serves as a powerful testament to the possibilities that unfold when determination meets passion. Her commitment to growth, leadership, and continuous improvement sets her apart as a remarkable figure within the RMI. Aspiring women can draw inspiration from her story, learning the value of embracing change, seeking opportunities, and forging their paths in a male-dominated industry.

Her experiences highlight the transformative power of believing in oneself and cultivating a spirit of excellence. Her story  is a reminder that we all have the capacity to shape our destinies and make a difference in the world.

In celebrating Sibongile’s accomplishments, we are reminded that each individual’s unique story holds the potential to inspire and empower others. Her inspiring tale enriches the automotive industry, and her determination continues to drive the wheels of change, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts of women seeking to make their own impact in this challenging but rewarding industry.

Teresa Spenser-Higgs

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Paving Her Path in a Male-Dominated Industry


In the bustling world of the automotive industry, Teresa Spenser-Higgs stands tall as a beacon of inspiration, defying stereotypes and carving her unique path. As the co-owner of D&T Servicing and a woman with 23 years of experience in this male-dominated field, she exemplifies the skills, determination, and emotional intelligence necessary to excel. In our interview, Teresa shared her personal and professional journey, shedding light on the challenges she faced, the impact she’s making, and her aspirations for women in the automotive industry.

Embracing Every Role with Grace

Teresa wears many hats in her role at D&T Servicing, taking on responsibilities that range from front-of-house tasks to HR management and bookkeeping. Her journey is a testament to the fact that women can excel in various roles, even in industries traditionally dominated by men. “I’m responsible for everything other than repairing the cars,” she explains with pride.

Her journey in the automotive world began 23 years ago, and since then, Teresa has not only become a respected business owner but has also taken on significant roles in industry associations like RMI and MIWA. Despite lacking tertiary degrees and encouraged by her male counterparts, Teresa discovered that her unique viewpoint and years of experience brought invaluable contributions to the table.

Finding Inspiration in Every Encounter

Teresa has an unconventional approach to learning and growth. She draws inspiration from every person she encounters, believing that there is something to learn from everyone, even in negative experiences. Her humility and open-mindedness have allowed her to continuously evolve as a person and a leader in the industry.

Empowering Women in the Automotive Industry

As a representative of RMI, Teresa is passionate about empowering women within the automotive industry. She advocates for increased soft skill training for support and admin staff, recognising that education is key to fostering inclusivity and diversity. “We develop our technical staff, but we seem to overlook our support staff,” she points out, emphasising the importance of creating opportunities for all.

Driving Change through Women-Centric Workshops

One of the successful initiatives she mentions is MIWA’s women-centric workshops. These workshops aim to equip women with basic ‘first aid’ knowledge for cars, emergency handling tips, and guidance on choosing a workshop. Teresa believes that women should feel just as comfortable in automotive workshops as they do in any other environment. By facilitating these workshops, she witnesses the joy and empowerment that women experience as they gain insights into the mechanics of cars.

A Vision for the Future

Looking ahead, Teresa envisions a brighter future for women in the automotive industry. She recognises women’s innate qualities, like their methodical approach and attention to detail, as assets that make them ideally suited for the technical aspects of the motor industry. But she also believes there are endless opportunities for women to excel in other areas.

Her aspiration is to see more women in the industry pursuing tertiary qualifications and accessing affordable training opportunities. Teresa’s dream is to work towards creating these opportunities if they don’t exist yet, thereby driving a positive transformation in the industry.

In conclusion, Teresa Spenser-Higgs is a remarkable woman whose journey in the automotive industry is nothing short of inspiring. With passion, determination, and a commitment to growth, she challenges norms and creates a supportive space for women in the field. Her story serves as a guiding light for aspiring women in the industry, showing that with courage, hard work, and an open mind, dreams can indeed come true.

Be the Change You Want to See

Teresa leaves us with a powerful message: “Be the change you want to see.” Her journey exemplifies the impact one person can make when they work towards making things better. As she continues to contribute to the industry, Teresa is a living example of how women can thrive, lead, and drive positive change in the automotive world.

Sandra Singh

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Empowering Women in the Automotive Industry

Meet Sandra Singh, a remarkable leader in the automotive industry, whose journey serves as an inspiring tale of determination, compassion, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. As the Group Human Capital Executive at the NMI Group, Chairperson of the RMI in KZN, and Vice Chairperson of MIBCO KZN, Sandra’s influence reaches far beyond her own success. In this article, we delve into her personal and professional experiences, discovering the unique insights she offers to women aspiring to make a mark in this male-dominated industry.

A Source of Inspiration

From the very beginning, Sandra’s role model has been her mother, a true testament to the power of resilience and strength. Despite humble beginnings and the loss of her husband at 37, Sandra’s mother raised five children without any formal education. Today, all five of those children are graduates with successful careers, a reflection of the determination and perseverance instilled by their remarkable mother.

Challenges and Triumphs

Sandra candidly reveals that the automotive industry still struggles to attract the right skills when it comes to women. As a senior executive herself, she has faced numerous challenges in breaking the barriers of gender stereotypes. However, she firmly believes that to bring about change, attitudes must be transformed first. Sandra’s journey stands as a testament to the fact that with self-belief, anything is possible. Her favourite quote, “If you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. It all depends on how much you want it,” beautifully encapsulates her unwavering spirit.

Promoting Inclusivity

When asked about the role companies should play in fostering inclusivity and supporting women in leadership positions, Sandra emphasises the need for understanding and accommodating women’s varied needs. Recognising that women are mothers first and professionals second, she believes that organisations must identify with and support women on their individual paths to success.

Empowering the Next Generation

One of Sandra’s most successful initiatives was the early establishment of a trainee programme tailored to women graduates, well before the YES program came into existence. This programme developed at least 10 women each year into senior roles within the automotive industry. Moreover, Sandra’s commitment to mentorship is unwavering; she champions the philosophy of lifting as we climb, actively driving the development of one woman up the ladder as she progresses.

Aspirations for the Future

Looking ahead, Sandra envisions a future where more women hold top positions as Operations Executives within the automotive industry. Currently, the industry tends to attract women with strong soft skills, and she hopes to see a balance where women also thrive in executive roles that demand strategic and operational expertise. Organisations like NADA and the RMI have a significant role to play in contributing to these aspirations. Through their transformation committee, NADA are already making strides in creating a more inclusive industry.

Sandra Singh’s journey in the automotive industry is a tale of perseverance, empathy, and empowerment. Her mother’s example taught her the value of resilience, and she carries that wisdom into every aspect of her career. By challenging stereotypes and initiating programmes to develop female leaders, Sandra is making a profound impact on the industry’s landscape. Her experiences and insights serve as a guiding light for aspiring women seeking to excel in the automotive world.

As we celebrate Sandra’s accomplishments, let us remember that each woman’s journey is unique and deserves to be nurtured. By encouraging collaboration, mentorship, and an unwavering belief in one’s abilities, we can pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive future in the automotive industry. Sandra Singh’s story reminds us that it all starts with believing in ourselves and supporting one another on this empowering road to success.

Nonhlanhla Tshabalala

Nonhlanhla Tshabalala

A Visionary on a Journey of Empowerment

Meet Nonhlanhla (Noni) Tshabalala, a visionary and optimist at heart, who has been making waves in the automotive industry as the Transformation Director and HR Manager at the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). In this inspiring interview, Noni shares her personal and professional journey, shedding light on the challenges she faced, her passion for empowering women, and her unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the association.

A Mother’s Inspiring Influence

From the outset, it is evident that Noni draws immense strength from her role model, her own mother. Growing up as an orphan, her mother’s determination to build a life from nothing has been the driving force behind Noni’s own journey. As she eloquently puts it, “your circumstances don’t define you,” and indeed, Noni embodies this belief.

Impactful Initiatives at RMI

As the Transformation Director and HR Manager at RMI, Noni has been instrumental in implementing strategies to promote diversity and inclusion within the industry. One of the most impactful initiatives has been the ‘Women Driving Change’ events, where women within the industry are celebrated and inspired to reach greater heights. Through these events, the fire within women is ignited, and they are encouraged to support and empower each other.

Equality at RMI

At RMI, equality is not just a buzzword. Noni ensures that women are given equal opportunities for growth and advancement. The organisation’s processes, policies, and procedures promote fairness, and gender does not determine one’s potential for success. Women are not confined to specific roles; instead, they are encouraged to seize any opportunity they desire.

Noni herself is a testament to the success of RMI’s transformation initiatives. Through the internal training department, she was provided with an opportunity to pursue higher education, transforming her career from possessing only a Matric certificate to earning a B.Com Honours Degree. Her journey serves as an inspiration to other women who have also benefited from RMI’s dedication to empowering its employees.

Paying it Forward

Encouraging women to participate in leadership development programs and take on challenging roles is a passion of Noni. She believes in paying it forward, just as Mrs Renee Coetsee, a leader within RMI, once did for her. Through motivation and empowerment, Noni strives to break the barriers that women face in male-dominated industries. “Lighting someone else’s candle doesn’t dim your light,” she says, exemplifying her belief in uplifting others.

Noni’s Advice for Other Associations

When asked for advice to other associations seeking to create a culture of empowerment and inclusivity for their female staff, Noni highlights the importance of nurturing internal talent. Identifying potential within the organisation and working closely with management to develop and empower staff is the key to building an inclusive legacy. Noni envisions an industry where leadership roles are earned through merit and where gender is no longer a defining factor.


Noni’s journey in the automotive industry is a testament to perseverance, resolve, and the power of empowerment. Her dedication to driving change, promoting diversity, and providing equal opportunities has not only transformed her own life but also touched the lives of countless other women in the industry. As we celebrate her success, let us be inspired by her story and strive to make the automotive industry a place where all can thrive and excel, regardless of gender.

Tenette du Plessis

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Embracing Opportunities in the Automotive Industry


In a male-dominated industry, Tenette du Plessis, the HR Manager at SA Truck Bodies and part of the Route Management Group, is a shining example of a woman excelling in the automotive world. With her two-decade journey in the industry, she has not only overcome challenges but also embraced opportunities for growth and transformation. Let’s dive into the captivating story of Tenette’s personal and professional journey, offering inspiration and insight to women aspiring to make their mark in the automotive sector.

A Journey of Passion and Dedication:

Born and raised in Bloemfontein, Tenette’s passion for the automotive industry led her to study at UOVS and subsequently join SA Truck Bodies in 2005. Her commitment to her craft has been unwavering, as she navigated the challenges and opportunities presented to her with determination and grace.

Strength from Faith:

Tenette draws strength from her faith, and the phrase, “I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God,” has been her guiding light. Whether facing personal or professional challenges, she finds positivity and strength in these words, propelling her forward in the face of adversity.

A Father’s Influence:

When asked about her role model, Tenette’s eyes light up as she speaks of her father. She attributes much of her success to the lessons she learned from him. A man of loyalty and hard work, her father’s compassionate nature and selflessness have had a profound impact on shaping her leadership style.

Venturing Beyond HR:

Though initially focused on the human resources side of the business, Tenette’s involvement with SAVABA introduced her to a whole new world within the automotive industry. This exposure to technical concepts and fresh ideas transformed her perspective, driving her professional growth and development.

Fostering Gender Equality:

As a female leader in the industry, Tenette is passionate about promoting gender equality at all levels of representation. She highlights the strategic objectives of both the RMI and SAVABA, emphasising the importance of leading by example to inspire and encourage other women to pursue leadership roles in the automotive industry.

A Proud Accomplishment:

One of Tenette’s proudest moments was joining the RMI Labour Executive Committee as the SAVABA representative. This achievement not only symbolised her personal growth but also marked a significant milestone for women in the industry.

Encouragement for Aspiring Women:

To young women considering a career in the automotive repair sector, Tenette offers words of encouragement. She emphasises the abundance of job opportunities in the industry, urging them to approach companies for shadowing or internship experiences. Her advice? Work hard and stay determined to achieve your dreams.

Navigating Male-Dominated Spaces:

Like many women in male-dominated workplaces, Tenette faced stereotypes and biases. However, she found that knowledge was the key to breaking barriers and building confidence. With her impeccable attention to detail, she harnessed her strengths to overcome obstacles and shine in her role.

Tenette du Plessis’ journey in the automotive industry is a tale of passion, dedication, and perseverance. From her humble beginnings in Bloemfontein to becoming a respected female leader in the sector, she has conquered challenges and embraced opportunities with unwavering determination. Tenette’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration to women aspiring to make their mark in the automotive industry, proving that with grit and a determined spirit, they can thrive in any professional landscape.

Mika Heeraman

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Carving Her Path in the Automotive Industry with Confidence and Passion

In the male-dominated automotive industry, there are exceptional women who break barriers, challenge norms, and inspire others with their remarkable journeys…  Mika Heeraman, the Director of Unique Auto Panel and Paint, is one of these women – a shining star in the industry who has carved her path with passion and determination.

Inspired by the Past, Building the Future

Mika’s journey in the automotive industry began with a clear objective — to provide for her parents and the local community. As a young girl, she was instilled with the wisdom in a quote from Norman Vincent Peale: “Shoot for the Moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” by her mother, and it became her driving force even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Her grandmothers, who themselves were incredible pioneers, also played a crucial role in shaping Mika’s path. Her one grandmother was widowed young. She was a domestic worker who managed to care for her family and had the ability to make everyone around her feel loved. She was selfless and always saw the good in everyone.

Mika’s other grandmother worked in a clothing factory when she was a teenager and later worked in a car production line for a large OEM. She managed to work her way up from production line seat installations to presenting ideas to the world’s leading engineers in Japan. She also completed her Matric at the age of 50 with maths and science.

Mika says it is impossible for her to  look back at their achievements and not be encouraged to do more and be better.

Empowerment through Association

As a business owner, Mika’s involvement with the South African Motor Body Repairers Association (SAMBRA) has been transformative. SAMBRA’s support and guidance have empowered her journey as a female leader in the automotive industry. With a desire to become an accredited repairer, Mika turned to SAMBRA at the tender age of 26, armed with a dream but unsure of the way forward. The organisation’s wealth of information and industry know-how provided her with the foundation to navigate the complexities of the trade.

Moreover, Mika found a sense of safety and recognition in the industry through her association with SAMBRA. She now stands tall, is more outspoken and confident, bolstered by the knowledge that she has a platform for consultation and support.

Driving Change Beyond the Industry

Mika’s quest for empowerment isn’t limited to the automotive industry. As a former National Volleyball player with a passion for sports, she also aligns herself with KAD, a female club dedicated to promoting women’s leadership and growth. This nonprofit organisation fosters a sisterhood that encourages learning, growth, and solidarity.

Proud Moments in Resilience

In her four years as a business owner, Mika’s most significant source of pride comes from the daily battles she wins, especially as a first-time mum. Navigating the challenges of running a medium-sized business while balancing motherhood is no easy feat. At one point, the lack of support from insurance companies forced her to consider closing down her business. Yet, Mika’s unwavering determination kept her fighting for survival. She remains hopeful for a fair opportunity in the future.

The Future of Women in the Automotive Industry

While one may assume that women in the automotive repair industry enjoy preferential treatment due to historical disadvantages, Mika debunks this notion. As a female business owner, she faces fierce competition with large, well-established companies, and feels hindered by a lack of equal opportunities. The ideal environment would be one of fair play, where quality and service delivery determine market share. Mika emphasises the importance of insurance companies and the government taking significant steps to remove the veil of tokenism and recognise true female-owned and run businesses.

A Message of Encouragement

For women considering a career in the automotive repair sector, Mika’s message is clear – hard work is essential for success. While the industry may subject women to harsher judgment, it’s crucial to remember their own worth. Always remind yourself of the reason you stepped into the motor industry and carry yourself with confidence, because women do belong and are important in the motor industry. With confidence and determination, women can definitely make their mark.

Mika’s story is an inspiring testament to the power of purpose, passion, and perseverance. Her journey as a female leader in the automotive industry serves as a beacon of hope for aspiring women, proving that with dedication and belief in oneself, anything is possible. Let us celebrate her achievements and learn from her story, encouraging all women to embrace their potential and make a difference in the automotive world and beyond.

Marcia Modiba

Marcia Modiba


Going from strength the strength

 In a male-dominated industry like the automotive industry, women continue to break barriers and prove their mettle, and one such woman is Marcia Mathapelo Modiba, the Associational Operations Coordinator at the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA). Marcia shared her inspiring journey in our interview, revealing the determination required to thrive in this challenging field.

An Exciting Ride

From the moment she stepped into the doors of RMI and then MIWA, Marcia knew she was in for an exciting ride. Little did she realise the tremendous personal and professional growth that awaited her. With a commitment to learn and excel, she seized every opportunity that came her way.

Transformative Growth Journey

The journey of growth within RMI and MIWA has been nothing short of transformative for Marcia. The companies’ investment in her personal and professional development has been phenomenal. Numerous trainings and educational opportunities have shaped her into a competent leader. The New Venture Creation programme provided her with invaluable insights, while a bursary helped her pursue a Bachelor’s Degree, bringing her one step closer to her educational goals.

 One of Marcia’s significant achievements came in the form of introducing a Customer Relation Management system (CRM) at MIWA. The program, Portatour, proved to be a game-changer, enhancing efficiency and enabling smooth engagement with members.

 Reflecting on her favourite quote, “Do your best and God will do the rest,” Marcia reveals that faith and hard work have been her guiding principles throughout her journey. She attributes her drive to her role model, her mom, who faced tough challenges but never compromised on her commitment to family. This same dedication fuels Marcia’s desire to be a role model for her own children.

 New Position, New Responsibilities

As the MIWA Associational Operations Coordinator, her responsibilities span coordinating national activities, strategising growth and retention of members, addressing consumer grievances, and overseeing industry events.

 Vision for the Future

As she envisions the future, Marcia sees herself contributing to the spirit of excellence within RMI women. Her commitment to adapting to change, staying relevant to the industry, and imbibing knowledge from experienced mentors will ensure RMI’s continued success for years to come.

 Abundant Opportunities for Growth

To aspiring women entering the automotive industry, Marcia’s message is clear – RMI nurtures its employees and offers abundant opportunities for growth. Understanding the organisation’s culture and continuously learning from various associations within the industry will be the key to success.

 Marcia’s journey in the automotive industry is a testament to the resilience and determination of women in this field. Her inspiring tale serves as a beacon of hope for women, reminding them that they too can carve their path and make a difference in this ever-evolving industry. With faith, perseverance, and the support of organisations like RMI and MIWA, the road to success becomes clear.

 In conclusion, Marcia’s story is a compelling narrative of empowerment, determination, and achievement. With her passion and drive, Marcia continues to make her mark in the automotive world, leaving a trail for others to follow.

Kimberly Wallace

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A Spotlight on Kimberly Wallace’s Journey in the Automotive Arena

In the ever-evolving world of the automotive industry, one woman stands out as a true inspiration and driving force. Meet Kimberly Wallace, the Sales Director at the CRD Group and a valued member of the Automotive Remanufacturers’ Association (ARA). Her journey in this field is a testament to her passion for engines and her unwavering commitment to fostering positive change. Let’s delve deep into Kimberly’s personal and professional experiences, unearthing the qualities and emotional intelligence that have fuelled her success

A Role Model Rooted in Family

Kimberly finds her inspiration from her own family, especially her beloved grandmother. Kimberly’s grandmother took a bold step after her husband’s untimely passing and moved to South Africa, seeking better opportunities for her children. This fearless decision and her subsequent rise as the head buyer for the Durban corporation left an indelible mark on Kimberly. It laid the foundation for her to become the independent and strong woman she is today.

“It’s Not Always Easy, but It’s Worth It”

This quote perfectly embodies Kimberly’s approach to life and her career in the automotive industry. As the Sales Director at CRD Group, she adeptly manages client accounts across multiple regions, tirelessly striving to meet targets while cultivating strong relationships. Her passion for engines, combined with her vivacious spirit and love for music, keeps her energised.

From Passion to Profession

Kimberly’s love for engines was ignited during her formative years, as she spent time with her father in his workshop. She persevered and excelled in the industry, first as a Service Advisor and later transitioning to the diesel fuel injection sector. Now, in her 7th year with the CRD Group, Kimberly embodies the spirit of a dedicated and technically-minded professional.

Empowering Women in the Industry

Recognising the need for change and inclusivity, Kimberly takes it upon herself to empower other women in the automotive industry. She actively encourages women to join the field, offering them opportunities through learnership and apprenticeship programmes. Her commitment to progress is exemplified by her daughter, who is currently part of CRD Group’s learnership programme studying to obtain her N1 and N2 certifications, setting a powerful example for women everywhere that this industry is not exclusive to men.

Overcoming Challenges and Finding Support

As a woman in a predominantly male industry, Kimberly encountered skepticism. However, she overcame these challenges with unwavering support from her boss, who encouraged her to seek knowledge fearlessly. There were many others along the way, customers included, who supported and guided her, fortifying her belief in her abilities and strengthening her resolve.

Words of Wisdom

Kimberly’s advice to aspiring women in the automotive industry is powerful and encouraging. She urges them to believe in their knowledge and abilities and to be strong and confident in their pursuits. Women possess immense potential to excel in this field, and they will find unwavering support and camaraderie from many of their male counterparts who share the vision of seeing them prosper.

A Proud Milestone and Future Goals

Being promoted to Sales Director was a significant achievement for Kimberly. Moreover, her election as a KZN Regional RMI/ARA executive committee member showcases her dedication to fostering change and progress. With her fresh perspective, she aspires to continue making a positive impact in the industry.

Kimberly’s journey in the automotive industry is a tale of passion, tenacity, and empowerment. Her unwavering dedication to her craft, coupled with her supportive spirit, makes her a genuine role model for women aspiring to thrive in any challenging work environment. As she paves the way for future generations, Kimberly’s story stands as a testament to the transformative power of determination and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Jessica Leyds

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Empowering Women and Breaking Barriers in the Automotive Industry

Meet Jessica Leyds, the remarkable Financial and Database Manager at the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). A wife and mother of two, Jessica’s journey in the automotive industry is a testament to resilience, determination, and the pursuit of excellence.

Throughout our candid interview, Jessica shared her favourite quotes, personal role models, and the tremendous support she received from the RMI in her career growth. But it was her remarkable personal and professional journey that truly stood out, making her an inspiration to women in the automotive world and beyond.

From Humble Beginnings to Financial & Database Manager

Jessica’s journey began as a Bookkeeper at the RMI. However, it didn’t take long for her skills and dedication to be recognised, leading to rapid promotions – from Assistant Accountant to Accountant, and eventually to her current position as Financial and Database Manager.

The RMI’s support was instrumental in her success, not only providing financial assistance for her education but also fostering an environment that encouraged continuous growth and recognition for her accomplishments. Regular performance reviews and constructive feedback sessions ensured she could track her progress and actively contribute to the company’s development.

Beyond Academics: The Influence of Jessica’s Mother

But it was Jessica’s mother who had the most profound impact on her life. Regardless of her level of education, her mother’s unwavering love and values became a guiding light in Jessica’s life. She instilled in her daughter the importance of compassion, resilience, and determination – qualities that proved vital in her automotive journey.

Jessica’s mother showed her that education extends far beyond textbooks and classrooms. It is a continuous journey of personal growth, learning from life experiences, and navigating challenges with grace. Through her mother’s example, Jessica learned the true value of knowledge and the importance of believing in oneself.

Supporting Women of Colour: Renee Coetsee’s Impact

In our interview, Jessica shared some personal stories that showcased the positive impact of women in leadership, exemplified by Renee Coetsee, the Financial Director at the RMI. Renee’s transformation and growth mindset inspired many within the organisation, including Jessica herself.

As a Bookkeeper, Jessica was among the first to receive study assistance from Renee. Today, she is in the final year of her MBA having already completed her degree and Honours, a testament to Renee’s unwavering belief in her potential. Jessica also highlighted other women of colour at the RMI, whose careers blossomed under Renee’s mentorship.

Breaking Barriers and Fostering Inclusivity

Through programmes like the Succession Planning Journey, the RMI nurtures an inclusive environment where young females can thrive. Jessica’s own journey is proof of the opportunities available when dedication and hard work are combined with a supportive workplace.

In her message to aspiring female leaders, Jessica encourages belief in oneself, embracing one’s voice, and seeking out mentors. She highlights the importance of resilience and learning from challenges, all while striving for inclusivity and diversity in leadership positions.

A Journey of Inspiration

Jessica’s story is one of determination, growth, and empowerment. Her rise to success in the automotive industry, supported by the RMI and guided by the influence of her mother and her mentor, Renee Coetsee, serves as an inspiring example for women in all walks of life.

As she balances her responsibilities at the RMI with her personal life, Jessica continues to make a difference in the automotive world. Her story resonates with women, demonstrating the grit, character traits, and emotional intelligence needed to succeed in any male-dominated industry.

In conclusion, Jessica Hudson’s journey showcases the potential within every individual to lead and inspire change. Her passion and dedication are not just admirable but transformative, and her impact on women in the automotive industry is nothing short of remarkable.