Nozipho Mngadi

“Use the past and the present challenges to build the future.”

Nozipho Mngadi

Tell us briefly about who you are?

My name is Nozipho Mngadi. I obtained a Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering in 2017. I started working at Hillside Aluminium in 2006 as a contractor under capacity at the warehouse. After a year, I was employed permanently as a Laboratory Operator. I was an Operator at the lab for nine years, and I then moved to Reduction as a Supervisor. I worked in Reduction for a year and then moved to Casthouse and continued my role as a Supervisor.

What do you think makes a successful leader – in particular, women leaders?

A successful leader is a person who has actions that inspire other people; a strong and intelligent person. You must be thirsty for education; share your knowledge and learn from other people. You must have effective communication and the ability to balance work-life challenges, be a critical thinker and have emotional intelligence. Most of all, a leader must be a people’s person.

What is your favourite thing about being a woman?

Being able to bring life into the world. I am a creature that was given powers, and I have an ability to bring life into this world. Men are men and women are women because of the women that bring them into this world; hence I am proud to be a woman.

Do you draw professional inspiration from other women?
Who inspires you?

Yes, I do. My mother is my inspiration. Although she is not educated, no one can wear her crown in my heart. She is a doctor without a doctorate. She is a therapist when one needs counselling. She is the caretaker to those who need assistance. She is the Jack of all trades. Those who were lucky to experience her teachings have been successful and are able to conquer anything they face in life. She deserves more than she has in life.

On hard days, what motivates you to get up and start your day?

I am motivated by the fact that the woman I am today was introduced by the woman I was yesterday and the fact that I am excited and looking forward to the woman I will be tomorrow. Which means no matter how hard yesterday was, today is another day better than yesterday. If today is bright and beautiful, I am looking forward to tomorrow because tomorrow may be even better than today.

On your best days, who do you want standing next to you?

My family, especially my kids. They are my best cheerleaders. They push me to be the best person I can be. I may see all the flaws in myself, but they do not see all of that in me. They see the best thing that ever happened to them on this planet.

Tell us about the past year and what you did to overcome COVID-19-related challenges (in your professional and personal life)?

The past year was a difficult one in my life. It has been a rollercoaster professionally and personally, bringing with it a huge change in lifestyle.

Personally: Unexpectedly losing my sister last year was a big wave that hit me. One minute she was fine, a few hours later she was gone. I am still trying to cope with her passing. It’s still hard to believe she is gone, and we were so close. It’s been 11 months and 9 days since her passing, but it feels like a dream, like I am still going to wake up and be told that I am dreaming.

Professionally: Lifestyle changes. Wearing a mask, adhering to all the COVID protocols and changing the whole working environment has been a whole new experience. I am slowly adapting to the whole situation. It has been hard, but hey they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This shall pass too.

We are focusing on strong women in this feature. Please tell us about a life/professional event that has made you strong?

The first one was when a person who was reporting under me went to the manager and told him that I was unfit to be a supervisor and he turned the team against me to go with his accusation. The worst part was that I was not called to defend myself, but rather HR, my manager and my superintendent organised someone to escort me and compile a report on my behaviour towards the team. The second one was when I was moved to another department and I felt like nobody understood me in the team or was willing to. Whenever anything was raised about me, everyone remained silent, like nothing happened or nothing was said. Even if we had sessions or meetings, it felt like everyone was against me and they did not even want me to be there. The worst part is that I was the only woman in the team, (and still am), but I kept going and I will keep on going. I won’t let these little scenarios intimidate me.

What is the best and worst decision you’ve ever made?

Best Decision: Making sure I am educated. I did not let history repeat itself. I did not allow the situation I grew up in to deny me the ability to advance and equip myself. This caused me to conquer all the setbacks I recently had in life, and I am ready to start this new journey with my guns blazing.

Worst Decision: Putting myself second, relaxing and thinking there is something called happily ever after. If I had to change this, I will focus on loving and taking care of myself more and making sure that I am in a space where whatever issues I may face along my life journey does not take me 100 steps back, instead it will secure my future.

What advice would you give to the next generation of
female leaders?

Do not get too comfortable in the present. Use the past and the present challenges to build the future. Cheer for the people who are successful in life, support those who are struggling, but more importantly, learn from those experiences and build your best future. Remember, our failures are not meant to discourage us, but to build our present, and our successes are meant to build our future.

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