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As we celebrate International Women’s Month globally, we should be aware of the need to continuously invest in women’s empowerment on personal and professional levels as there is an incredible amount of evidence to support the positive ramifications.
This year’s International Women’s Day campaign theme is #EachforEqual, which promotes the concept that an equal world is an enabled world and individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.
Diversity in the workplace
A study by McKinsey indicates gender diversity in management positions increases profitability. In previous studies, companies which were in the top 25th percentile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 15% more likely to experience higher-than-average profits, but the recent study shows that likelihood has increased to 21%.
Nissan understands the importance of empowering and advancing women. This is evident in the company’s initiatives towards gender equality in their workforce, particularly at the manufacturing plant in Rosslyn, where they have achieved a 50/50 gender split with the engineering trainees who participate in their skills development programme.
Nissan recently made an announcement of its R3billion investment into the Rosslyn plant to build the Nissan Navara locally. At the helm of this project is Nissan’s women who all play a critical role in ensuring that the Nissan Navara is delivered at the right time and exceptional standards that the organisation holds.
Women breaking the auto industry’s glass ceiling with skills
The automobile industry has a reputation for being a male-dominated sector. Nissan South Africa’s top women are proving that gender is not a barrier to success.
Chantelle Mashego, a Senior Manager responsible for delivering the locally produced Nissan Navara has been at Nissan for 11 years and understands the complexities of building a vehicle. “I’ve worked hard to grow through the ranks from a contracted engineer to holding roles in vehicle quality, parts quality and more. In that time, I’ve also held international roles including a stint at Nissan Spain, returning to South Africa with new skills and experience,” says Mashego.
Melicia Bala who is Nissan South Africa’s acting Human Resources Lead, ensures that only the best talent is recruited to build the latest version of the Nissan Navara. “At Nissan South Africa, we strive to be an employer of choice in the automotive industry and attract and retain the best talent in the industry.”
Nissan South Africa provides training to ensure that top candidates are equipped with the necessary skills to grow and develop within the organisation. Support is provided through on the job training where employees are exposed to simulations, best practice and benchmarking.
A partnership with the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC) and Nissan South Africa was launched. An incubation and training centre at the Rosslyn manufacturing facility has been built that offers a five-year training and mentorship programme. Nissan is not only focused on building their own talent but is committed to the growth of the automotive sector. By investing in their employees, Nissan South Africa contributes to tomorrow’s leaders. “When we grow, the sector grows,” adds Bala.
“As successful female executives, there is a responsibility to empower other women, to mentor, encourage and engage with them regarding our learnings over years, “ says Liz Gorbunov, General Manager: Chief Marketing Manager, Light Commercial Vehicles and Sporty Utility Vehicles at Nissan South Africa.
Nissan has the best and widest LCV range offering in South Africa and leading this portfolio is a female executive with in-depth expertise of the automotive industry.
Nissan is a pioneer of Africa
With Nissan’s growth strategy strongly focused on increasing market share within the Sub-Saharan Africa markets, it is crucial that they have right people to drive this plan.
The Nissan leadership team have a proven track record to ensure return on investment and one of the ways that this is being achieved is to empower and provide dealers with the necessary training.
Lizette Crause is the General Manager of Customer Quality and Dealer Network Development at Nissan South Africa.
Lizette is responsible for the dealer network, including ensuring profitability, returns, customer quality and people development at the dealerships. To ensure that Nissan fulfils its mandate to enhancing their presence in the SSA markets, Crause oversees the partner and network strategy to deliver exciting and diverse customer experience to secure Nissan’s sustainable growth in Africa.
A commitment to gender equality
Gender parity in the auto industry still has room for growth and Nissan is committed to investing in the empowerment of women in the workplace at all levels of the business.