Women in Business Series: Nontokozo Nene
As one of our board members, Nontokozo Nene is part of the Afrika Tikkun Services family. As the CEO of FI Consulting which provides B-BBEE advisory services for a range of sectors, Nontokozo has keen insight into what it takes to succeed in the business world.
Are you satisfied with South Africa’s efforts in regards to empowering and promoting women in business?
Whilst South Africa has engaged in many efforts that seek to advance women in business, we are yet to see a clearly-defined strategy led by the Ministry of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities in the Presidency. We are still to do much more than we are currently doing.
What are some of the barriers that women still face in cracking the proverbial glass ceiling?
The biggest barrier is that women are often perceived to be weaker and unable to run successful businesses. There is an unsaid male bias especially in sectors that are technically inclined. We have to accept that these barriers will always exist as long as we have policies that create a fallacy that minimum thresholds of 30% for women-owned businesses is an achievement. We will forever battle to be treated equally.
How well is Afrika Tikkun Services performing in regards to empowering women?
From what I have seen, there is a fair representation of women.
What are some of the examples you can give to support your view?
We have great women leaders like Onyi Nwaneri on the helm.
What do you think are some of the most important skills and qualities that women need to have to excel in business today?
If you are running your own business, the ability to network and be sales-driven is a critical quality that will not only help you excel but ensure your business is sustainable.
What has been one of your proudest moments in your career?
Raising funds to empower young disadvantaged individuals through education.
What would you say has been your biggest challenge in your work and how have you responded to it/overcome it?
Overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuring my business is sustained post the pandemic.
What advice would you give young women entering the workplace?
Don’t be afraid to dream big. Be proactive and provide solutions. Try and position yourself as a key resource who oozes good energy with a “want-to-learn” attitude. Always try to conduct yourself with class and always be punctual.
What are some of the most important skills young people need to navigate the current reality and a post-COVID future?
Tenacity. Learn alternative skills outside your current competencies. Be a self-starter and see opportunities where there are challenges.