Testing, verification and certification multinational company Bureau Veritas Southern Africa continues to spark interest in the Southern Africa professional working environment.
The company – renowned for services and innovative solutions to ensure client products, infrastructure and processes meet standards and regulations in terms of quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility – has notched up a few more points on the women’s empowerment and social responsibility agendas.
The company has, in recent months, under the direction of Bureau Veritas Southern Africa VP Sal Govender, increased its female leadership gender dynamic considerably.
“Increasing the number of women in female leadership roles has been high on the Bureau Veritas agenda globally and in Southern Africa. We are taking great strides to allow more women to show their mettle both inside and out of the boardroom.”
She adds that the company has an engaging team of men and women on its executive that complement each other to ensure that the company is run “like a well-oiled machine”.
“Everyone brings their uniqueness to the table, thereby super-powering the outcome.”
Accredited testing laboratory M&L Laboratory Services MD Joanne Barton, a chemist by profession, advises that technical people are often not sociable networkers and need courage to get “out there”.
She believes in setting the goals high and manages to keep the work/life balance despite being on call most of the time.
The secret, she believes, lies in being passionate about her job.
“Make sure you are always true to yourself, honest in your role and be clear about your goals, never let anyone make you do what your gut says is wrong – be bold and say ‘no’. Self-respect is of utmost importance,” she says.
Bureau Veritas industry and certification director Neda Taghadosi is a strong supporter of keeping employees motivated and ensuring the correct people are recruited for their respective roles.
“Always thank your employees for going the extra mile, care about them because you cannot be successful without their support.
“Get a mentor, you can learn so much from them and don’t ever feel embarrassed to apologise for a mistake made,” she says.
Bureau Veritas government services and international trade manager Grace Mabasa believes that encouraging diverse teams to work together motivates them to recognise the strengths of their combined talents, which, in turn, enhances the success of the organisation.
Time management and setting of priorities helps her maintain an effective work/life balance.
“Work hard, strive for what you believe in and don’t give up on your dreams. Leave a legacy for tomorrow as you are writing it daily,” she says.
Bureau Veritas Southern Africa FD Emilie Bigot’s biggest challenge is to ensure open communication channels between the various employees across the countries within her leadership ambit.
“Hard work is always rewarded so believe in yourself. Too many women lack self-confidence but have excellent skills, so I encourage you, make it happen,” she says.
Bureau Veritas Southern Africa district human resources manager Beatrice Scharneck’s goal is to ensure employees are inspired, collaborative and engaged, thereby ensuring the company’s sustained future.
Scharneck is an avid supporter of communities and corporate societal marketing.
She manages to strike a balance between work and family by remembering that family is of utmost importance while still enjoying a fulfilling and rewarding career.
“Nothing is impossible, believe in yourself, take the bull by the horns and go for it! Keep your eye on the ball and remain focused on your dream, then strive to make it a reality,” she says.
Govender adds that the company has recently completed a month-long corporate societal campaign embracing community building and giving back to those less fortunate.
In 2020, the campaign will be rolled out in various African countries to further cement the culture of making a difference.
In June, under Govender’s leadership, the company launched the Ithemba Trust, a women’s empowerment body involved in projects benefiting girls and young women in South Africa.
Aligned to Bureau Veritas Southern Africa’s strong social awareness ethos, the trust focuses on empowering females from previously disadvantaged backgrounds with a focus on education of young black women in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
After graduation, the company will absorb the young ladies into the business and upskill them with soft skills on work readiness.
Enterprise development assistance will be provided to those that wish to launch their own businesses and work will be subcontracted to them to ensure they can sustain their businesses and achieve success.
The trust focuses on beneficiaries hailing from areas in which Bureau Veritas Southern Africa employees live and work.
To date the trust has provided two full bursaries for students Keletso Moekona and Sanelisiwe Mabaso to study a BEng Mining degree at the University of Johannesburg and a BSc Biological Sciences degree at the University of the Witwatersrand.
The company is an avid supporter of promoting women in the workplace that will add value and gravitas to the brand and its success. Building communities and creating a sustainable future remain high on the company’s priority list. It is passionate about people and improving the lives of others.
“We are dedicated to creating legacies and ultimately building a nation,” Govender concludes.