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.
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.