Sitting in her office at Barloworld Ford Bruma, one cannot tell that Marcia Mayaba was once a “goafer” who was assigned, under the title of trainee, to jobs ranging from receptionist to driver, wash bay attendant and cabin assistant in a delivery truck.
Today, Marcia is the Franchise Director for Barloworld Motor Trading for Ford and Mazda, but in her work behind the scenes and her time on the showroom floor, which she still treasures daily, you never have to remind her of whence she came.
The recently elected Vice Chair of the National Automobile Dealers Association remembers fondly and with gratitude the many positions she has filled in the automotive industry, valuing them for the business lessons they have provided her with, that now she imparts to young women starting in the industry.
She echoes that: “It is very important that young women entering the automotive space realise that there are so many more opportunities within the industry than the default choice of being a Receptionist, Administrative Assistant or Salesperson”.
Marcia further says: “The young ladies entering the industry must look beyond their specialist areas, be open to learning in order to understand the entire value chain of this important sector which contributes between 6 and 7% of South Africa’s GDP.”
This outlook comes from her own experience as she made a point to learn from every person she came across and seized the opportunities. Her colleagues and clients credit Marcia with the trait of being a sponge, being endowed with a learning and teaching attitude.
This is evident from her first role at Avis Truck Rental, a position she was afforded after the untimely death of her mother Portia. She needed the job desperately because she had to care for her younger siblings. Marcia’s humility of embracing her circumstances and maximising on the opportunities presented to her – speaks to her strong work ethic, honesty and integrity which has culminated in her being referred to as the “Iron Lady” and dynamo of the automotive sector.
When Marcia was head hunted for a Dealer Principal role, she first declined it as she did not feel comfortable to assume this role as she had no Dealership experience. When asked what it would take for her to join the Organisation at the time – she replied: “If you teach me, I promise I’ll make you proud.” After embarking on a 24-month Dealer Principal Training Programme – In 2011 Marcia was appointed as the first black female Dealer Principal for Volkswagen SA and Audi SA. Marcia led the team to victory, winning the Lindsay Saker Dealership of the Year Award – two years in a row as well as the highest accolade of Volkswagen’s Club of Excellence.
In 2019 Marcia made headlines again as the first black female Franchise Director for Barloworld Motor Retail. In 2020 she was appointed the Vice Chair of NADA, the first ever female appointment for the Association. With this appointment Marcia will also chair the NADA Transformation Committee – a focus area which Marcia is passionate about for the South African automotive industry.
“Transformation is a business imperative and must be championed from the top. Diversity and inclusion are elements of transformation which needs to be embraced. We are all on this journey together and a blended team allows for multi-dimensional thinking and is well suited to operate and service a diverse customer base and community. Furthermore, we, as the leadership must be held accountable and drive the transformation process with credibility and integrity.” say Marcia.
To this end Marcia has become known as a champion for women in the automotive sector, moving the spotlight from simply offering women a job to helping women see how wide the scope of opportunity in this industry is, whilst mentoring and coaching women to rightfully take their seat at the management table.
My mother had a saying “You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last.” Kamala Harris.
Marcia lives by this statement: “My legacy will be – I made it better than when I found it."
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