Celebrating the Women of SBS

As we close out August, a month where we honour the women of South Africa for their contribution to our country, their courage and strength, we also remember the women who marched to the Union Buildings in 1956 to oppose Apartheid legislations. This year we have also cast the spotlight on some of the women within SBS. In an organisation that employs dynamic and driven women in every department, selecting the candidates we would highlight was not an easy task, but gave us an opportunity to share insight into the women who help make SBS the company that it is today.

 Group HR Director at SBS®, Charmaine Israel’s story is an inspiration to any young person entering the working world, and particularly to young women wanting to climb the proverbial corporate ladder. Joining SBS as a Receptionist in 2004, Charmaine worked and studied her way up through the ranks, completing her HR Diploma and establishing the SBS HR department which she now heads up as Group HR Director. As a Director and Member of the SBS Board since 2017, Charmaine provides strategic advice, guidance, and leadership across the organisation, collaborating with the executive management team to shape the overall business strategy, culture, and direction of SBS, ensuring that the company remains legally compliant and abreast of changes.  She encourages young women to reach for the stars, “Work hard, be dedicated, and committed and never give up on building for better. Manage your time well and remember that late nights spent going above and beyond, exceeding expectations pays off – often when you least expect it,” she says.

Cherin van der Nest, SBS® Gauteng Regional Manager, joined the company 10 years ago.  Cherin initially set out to be a pharmacist, changing direction and training as a computer programmer and business analyst. It was in this field that she discovered her interest in the mining and industrial sector. To young aspirant women, she says “Take every opportunity to learn and grown – both in your career and personal life. Have a mentor and be a role model.”

Ensuring that SBS® complies with health, safety and quality requirements is all in a day’s work for Jashmika Ramnath, Manager: Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ). With a BSc degree, Jashmika has experience in the food and beverage industry as well as the packaging industry, making her an invaluable asset to both SBS® and our clients in these sectors. Her determination, confidence and systematic approach to compliance has been integral in ensuring that SBS® maintains ISO 9001, ISO45001 and OHSAS certification, resulting in Jashmika being awarded the Proudly South African Certificate on behalf of SBS. She says, “Women can have success in their field without having to pretend to be a man.”

“Be bold in your actions, never take a back seat,” says Group Financial Manager and Head of IT at SBS®, Tamlyn McPhail, who manages the financial affairs of the various businesses in the SBS Holdings group. She believes women bring strength to managerial roles, are not afraid to share leadership, are aware of non-verbal cues, and listen well.  She has a BCompt Honours degree, has completed her articles, is registered as an Associate General Accountant with SAICA and is currently completing her ACCA. “Young women need to find mentors early on in their careers, equip themselves well with qualifications and take an active role where they work,” Tamlyn advises.

Kim Bullock, National Sales Manager at SBS®, is focussed on developing a culture of growth and is passionate about developing herself and others. Along with a Marketing Diploma she has also completed various business courses such as contract law, waste assessment, logistics and leadership. Kim believes women have a great ability to listen, learn and bring a soft, empathetic touch to a male dominated sector. To young women she says, “Be the best you can with what you have at the time and use every day to the absolute max. Self-discipline is key. There is no such thing as failure, it is simply feedback on what doesn’t work.”

SBS Brand Ambassador and Municipal Sales Head of Department, Portia Ndlovu-Nzama joined SBS as a Project Manager, later moving across to the Sales team. She holds ten qualifications including a BComm: Strategic Supply Chain Management and Civil Engineering National Certificate (N1 – 4) and is currently completing her National Diploma in Civil Engineering. Portia believes women are uniquely positioned to bring inclusive leadership styles and resilience to a role such as hers. “I am an excellent negotiator. I enjoy establishing and maintaining long-term win-win relationships with different sectors,” she says. Her advice to young women? “Things will not always go your way, but God never closes a door without first opening a window. Instead of mourning, seize every opportunity you come across and excel – you never know who is silently watching. Continue to shine in your own corner and focus.”

As the Lead Designer in the SBS Engineering Department, Shannon Freese guides the manufacturing process at SBS, ensuring that products meet international quality and safety standards. With a BSc in Mechanical Engineering from UKZN, Shannon, who joined the company in early 2020 has already made her mark working as part of the Research and Development team. Partnering with SBS CEO, Delayne Gray, she recently designed a budget friendly and lightweight beach wheelchair to enable people with disabilities to access the surf. She advises young women to examine their goals. “Ask yourself – Are my goals achievable? What will I have to sacrifice? And most importantly, will I be happy once I have achieved them?”

While Charity Maphumulo initially dreamed of becoming a teacher, life challenges led her to discover her passion for welding. With an NQF 2 Certificate in Welding, Charity is part of the Welding Department at SBS and says she loves her job. “I never thought I’d be a doctor, but here I am able to fix metal and turn it into something huge and productive!” She finds it incredibly rewarding to see the components that she has welded form a part of a tank that ends up – either in South Africa or internationally – storing a commodity that is so vital and beneficial to a community or company. Raised by a single father who motivated her to become better than he was, Charity believes women bring change to the welding industry and focus on cleanliness! Her advice to young women? “Never lose hope. Always Build for Better. Things may not go according to your plan but always fight for what you want, even if it takes years. Focus and never let a chance go past you.”

Colette Naidoo, HR Co-ordinator brings a very special touch to the business, imparting the SBS DNA to employees every day, and in every way. She embodies all of the character traits needed to succeed in the field: empathy, generosity, being people-centred and passion driven. Colette completed her Diplomas in both HR and Business Management working by day and studying at night and continues to enrol in short courses believing that knowledge is power and that it is vital to “Keep educating and upskilling yourself.” Her advice to young women is to “Do your best and keep going, have a clear goal of what you want to achieve and aim for it. Try all you can to get there and know it’s never too late to start again. Get yourself a mentor, someone you look up to. Create a support system.”

“Women have a special touch, everything we touch turns to gold,” says SBS® Tanks Accountant, Christina Maloka. Growing up Christina wanted to follow in her parents’ footsteps and become a teacher but developed an interest in accounting and now holds a Diploma in Cost & Management Accounting from DUT. She believes women are well suited to the busy world of finance because of their ability to multitask, reconcile and count accurately! As a mentor and modelling coach, Christina encourages young women to pursue their passion and says, “Be prepared to work hard and make some sacrifices.” Christina’s goal is to be influential in building for better in Africa and spreading the message of hope, building towards a much better future for our children.

The Women of SBS® bring a diverse range of skills and attributes as well as passions to the table, working hard and smart to achieve their goals, move the company forward while always working to build for better as we provide food and water security solutions that make a difference in our world. Contact us to find out more about what we do.

We salute you for your courage and strength, your steadfastness and commitment.