Mitsubishi celebrating women in the industry

During women’s month, Mitsubishi Motors South Africa celebrated the many women who form part of their critical staff complement.

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“At Mitsubishi Motors South Africa we pride ourselves on the fact that we continuously create a working environment that fosters inclusivity and allows people of all genders, and from all walks of life, an equal opportunity to follow a successful career in the automotive industry.

Through these testimonials, we hope that we can inspire other women to pursue a career in the automotive industry,” says Thato Magasa, Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors South Africa (MMSA).

  • Felicia Sono - Customer Care Manager:

Felicia Sono has vast experience in customer service and training in the automotive industry that spans 16 years.

“In my current role, I support and mentor the customer care team, which includes training and mentoring staff to enhance productivity. We really need to support the younger generation in achieving their goals.

“Working in a male dominated industry, I have seen that certain male customers tend to believe that women don't know much about the motor industry and can be very reluctant to accept the feedback that you give them.

They will prefer to speak to a male co-worker, who gives them the same feedback, which is then accepted as the truth. I expect to be treated with respect and fairness just like anyone else in the organisation,” Felicia says.

  • Thabiso Ramatla – Distribution Manager:

Thabiso now has more than 10 years’ experience in the automotive industry. She started out as a graduate and worked her way through the ranks to her current position where she is responsible for inbound and outbound logistics.

“Working in a male dominated industry has been a beautiful journey because the men who I have worked with have pushed me to do my best, they are passionate and help me to improve my skills. This has helped me to become more confident in making decisions and delivering on behalf of the brand,” says Thabiso.

  • Carmen van Dyk – Financial Director:

Carmen believes that anything is possible, but that the numbers never lie.

“I love life and all its beautiful things. I think it’s important to have a critical understanding of the numbers and their impact on the organisation.

“What matters most to me is how you show up and land on a daily basis. I want to be a positive influence; an instrument of change, and I believe that I have a sharp eye for identifying and developing talent. I believe in people and in people being treated fairly. When given the platform, those people will grow and excel,” she says.

  • Dalene Bekker – General Manager, Parts:

Dalene explains that mentorship and support are crucial for women in male dominated industries. “During my 34-year career, I sought out the specialists in various areas and learnt from them by shadowing them and learning from the way they do things. Engage with stakeholders, do your research and develop your processes in that way,” says Dalene.

“Women tend to be more analytical, pay more attention to detail, ask more questions and get to the bottom of issues, which make it easier to establish new processes. These unique strengths and skills that women bring to the parts and distribution industry can be harnessed for greater success,” she adds.

  • Lebogang Maepa – Warehouse Administrator:

Lebogang always wanted to be the lady who breaks barriers and changes the whole concept of male domination. This was possible thanks to her passion and determination to learn new things, which has been key to her success to date.

“Women looking to enter the industry shouldn't be afraid to put themselves out there as women, open their minds and learn everything they can. Be like a sponge and learn as much as possible from the people around you. Go above and beyond and you will get wherever you want to be,” she says.

  • Mathabo Mapea – Management Accountant:

Mathabo believes that it is important to foster a culture of collaboration and teamwork among employees, regardless of gender in order to achieve the organisation’s goals.

“We need to encourage a culture and an environment that is supportive and safe for all employees. We need to create an environment where we know we can express ourselves and our opinions without fear or favour. We are all part of one team, so it is important to create an environment where we are all equal and where we all feel safe and comfortable to do our job and take risks, when necessary,” says Mathabo.

  • Melissa Lombard – Admin Manager:

Melissa Lombard believes that gender diversity has many benefits that relate to the company’s bottom line. “By embracing gender diversity, companies can foster a more innovative and productive work environment. Having both males and females in your team means you benefit by having different points of view and approaches from different life experiences,” says Melissa.

She notes that her biggest career achievement to date was when she completed her BBA at the same time as caring for a new-born baby. “Having to complete assignments, study and write exams while on maternity leave is a big achievement in my opinion. That just goes to show how strong and amazing women really are, if we put our minds to it, we can accomplish anything,” she adds.

  • Molly Prakesh – Parts Distribution Manager, Motus:

Molly Prakash is the Manager of the Parts Distribution Centre for Motus emerging brands, and for her the journey of breaking barriers and entering the parts distribution industry, which is traditionally male dominated, has been fruitful.

“Eighteen years ago, I started out in a very male dominated industry but over the years we have seen change. Women are now valued and recognised for their contribution. My focus has always been to do the job. Don't get distracted by gender or any other form of discrimination,” she explains.

“My belief is that finance is there to support the business for it to achieve its targets and goals, which motivated me to learn and understand all aspects of business. When I was offered my current position in the parts distribution centre, I saw it as an opportunity to further my career,” she adds.

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