This year's Women's Month is themed "Women's Socio-Economic Rights and Empowerment: Building Back Better for Women's Improved Resilience" which is a call to action to all South Africans and the private and public sector to take tangible steps in responding to the challenges affecting the lives of women today.
Nissan South Africa continues to emphasize the importance of organizational activism through positive impact. As a business, Nissan has set employment equity targets with a goal of increasing overall female representation in top management roles to 25% by 2025. Nissan has also ensured a 50/50 gender balance in its training programs to make this a reality and foster an environment that will allow the company's young talent to thrive.
In commemoration of #WomensMonth, we get to know the women whose lives have been impacted by Nissan's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Meet Zama Luwanda Ndlovu, Sales Executive at Motus Nissan Zululand
How did you get your start in the motoring industry and what drew you to it?
I was first exposed to the automotive business when I completed my internship at another automotive organisation in Durban. I immediately fell in love with engaging with consumers and interacting with them as part of positively influencing the purchasing decision. It was then that I became inspired and motivated to explore a career in the sales part of the automotive industry.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about women working in the motoring industry?
People routinely picture a male mechanic hauling heavy machinery and lifting tyres. This perception may be influenced by the physical demands of the job as well as the historical gender preponderance in the sector. Over time, it's been established that women can pick up new skills and adapt to any field of employment. Because I'm a woman, male car buyers first tend to doubt my knowledge, but when I engage further with them, they soon realize that I'm empowered and knowledgeable to carry out my duties.
What are some ways the auto-manufacturing sector can encourage more women to pursue careers in your industry?
Fundamentally, the sector should afford women equal prospects. More women working in the sector means more representation, which encourages diversity through more women entering the sector. Recognition and career development plans also motivate individuals to be trailblazers. This opens up more career opportunities for them.
Whilst it's important to consider one's own progress, it's also important to explore ways of paying it forward for future generations. By mentoring younger co-workers, you'd equip the young professionals with exposure on the many opportunities our vibrant sector has.
Are you personally involved in any initiatives or programs to overcome these challenges? Can you provide more details?
I believe in nurturing a diverse, inclusive, and supportive environment. I do this through engaging with other female colleagues, across the motoring sector, to create a supportive network where the exchange of ideas can take place.
What skills do you feel are the most critical to succeeding in the motoring industry today?
Adaptability, car salespersons deal with people from all walks of life. These customers will have different personalities, different views, different budgets, and different requirements. By focusing on customer satisfaction, one would be able to better understand the lifestyle requirements of the potential. Once again, bringing the human interest into everything we do in the sales space, leads to trust and confidence in the brand and product. And of course, negotiation skills are key.
What is the best thing about being a woman working at Nissan?
The recognition for one's work and this leads to opportunities for growth within the organization. There are systems and processes that support diversity, equity, and inclusion across the business.
Personal best achievement:
Awarded the `Nissan South Africa's Private Champs' accolade in recognition of exceptional sales in 2021, `Nissan South Africa Exceptional Sales Award 2022' as well as second runner up for the `Navara Double Cab Sales 2022' in South Africa.
Person you would most like to meet:
Would definitely be the powerhouse – Ms Oprah Winfrey
Philosophy of life:
I believe that you should strive to give 100% in everything you do, and in that process, don't forget God.
Message for other women leaders in the South African business community:
We are the flag carriers for young women looking to build a career in this sector. It's for this reason that we should remain steadfast in our work and keep doing what we do best in each of our specialized fields.
# # #