Celebrating game changers

02 Apr, 2023 - 00:04 0 Views
Celebrating game changers

The Sunday Mail

Fatima Bulla-Musakwa

FORTY years ago, a management consultant, Marilyn Loden, coined the phrase “breaking the glass ceiling” to signify breaking of barriers that deter the marginalised, particularly women, from moving to senior positions.

Today, the term is even more relevant in a world where women, despite all efforts to ensure equality, still struggle to reach the zenith in various sectors of the economy.

Locally, a significant, though still limited, number of women have scaled ladders and broken the barriers, including the ceiling itself.

As the world celebrates Women’s Month, we look at some female role models, who have inspired other women that the glass ceiling can be broken.

Divine Ndhlukula

Divine Ndhlukula

She is the founder and managing director of SECURICO, one of Zimbabwe’s largest security companies. The company is a market leader in the provision of security services and cutting-edge electronic security solutions. Her company employs more than 3 000 people — nearly 1 000 being women.

The company was also the first security outfit in Zimbabwe to achieve an ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) certification. Dr Ndhlukula holds an executive MBA from Midlands State University and an MBA (Honorary) from Women’s University in Africa conferred on her in recognition of her business leadership and efforts on gender equality.

Having worked briefly for national broadcaster ZBC as an accounting officer, she later found herself employed at Old Mutual and later took up a job at a local insurance company in 1985. During that time, she was running small businesses on the side that involved ordering clothes from Harare factories and selling them to colleagues at work.

SECURICO was founded in December 1998 in the cottage of her home with 4 employees.

Dr Muradzikwa

Dr Grace Muradzikwa

A decorated insurance executive, Dr Grace Muradzikwa is one respected personality who has shown the way in breaking the glass ceiling. She is the current commissioner of the Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC), Dr Muradzikwa became the first black female executive to head a publicly traded company in the country.

This followed the listing of Nicoz Diamond on the local bourse in 2002, where she was managing director, after acquisition of the short-term insurer by First Mutual Holdings.

In 1995, she was appointed general manager of Diamond Insurance Company, and within two years, she had turned around the fortunes of the company, which had ranked 12 out of 13 insurers, to position three.

Another milestone is traced back to 1984, when she joined Zimbabwe Reinsurance (ZimRe) Corporation and established a personnel department, with the responsibility of setting up the human resources and administrative systems and conditions of service for ZimRe. She continues to serve IPEC with excellency and aplomb.

Dr Hope Sadza

She is co-founder and vice chancellor of the Women’s University in Africa, one of the first universities in Southern Africa to target the empowerment of women in education. Apart from serving as a Public Service commissioner for 10 years, she is also one of the founding directors of the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management. An educationist with a passion for empowerment of women, Dr Sadza sits on boards of various organisations and is a recipient of numerous accolades, locally and abroad.

Dr Sharon Soko

Claiming her space in a traditionally male-dominated medical field, Dr Sharon Soko of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, is the first female neurosurgeon trained in Zimbabwe. Dr Soko has to match up to long working hours that characterise neurological surgeries, as well as the many patients who come to public hospitals to access services.

Getting to qualify for the job itself spanned 14 years, a journey that entailed attaining degrees in Biochemistry and Medicine.

Justice Priscilla Makanyara Chigumba

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson Justice Chigumba holds the hot seat, which gets hotter during election seasons, with expertise and confidence. Justice Chigumba was appointed and sworn into that post in 2018 and has had to deal with various forms of abuse and intimidation. After acquiring qualifications in law, she worked as a professional assistant at Gollop and Blank Legal Practitioners from 1994 to 2000.

In 2002, she was appointed assistant company secretary at PG Industries Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd. She also worked as a resident magistrate at the Harare Magistrates Civil Court. Later on, she occupied the post of senior research assistant at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). Also, she served on secondment to the Office of the Chief Justice from May 2011 to December 2012. By 2012, she had been appointed a judge of the High Court.

Apart from also holding posts as chief researcher in the Office of the Chief Justice between 2011 and 2012, Justice Chigumba has been a professional trainer of magistrates since 2015.

With the way elections tend to be emotive, Justice Chigumba exudes a degree of level headedness, which can only leave others admiring her capabilities and believing the glass ceiling can be broken.

Mrs Gloria Zvaravanhu

An inspirational leader who continues to make a mark in her professional career, Mrs Gloria Zvaravanhu is a chartered accountant par excellence.

Holding the post of managing director at Old Mutual Insurance Company demonstrates leadership qualities and authority that Mrs Zvaravanhu commands in the field. Before she took up that post, she was the chief executive officer of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. Her tenure spanned 2019 to 2021.

An alumni of the Fortune 500 Global Women Mentoring Programme, Mrs Zvaravanhu also held the general manager post with Nicoz Diamond Insurance Limited from 2009 to 2018.

A former audit manager with KPMG, Mrs Zvaravanhu holds a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Rhodes University in South Africa; an LLM International Business Law degree from the University of Cumbria, UK; and a Masters in Business Leadership degree (University of South Africa).

Ms Eltah Nengomasha

All eyes are on the new Sports and Recreation Commission director-general, Ms Eltah Nengomasha, who scored a first as the first female to occupy that seat. She commences her official duties on April 1.

Ms Nengomasha, who is an expert in marketing and corporate communications, has carved her name in sport, which continues to be dominated by male personalities, especially in managerial and administrative roles.

She has previously been head of public relations and branding at the public broadcaster, ZBC as well as occupying a similar post at Hwange Colliery.

In addition, as the group corporate communications and innovations manager for Rainbow Tourism group, Ms Nengomasha held a post that covered Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique.

Ms Nengomasha has a Master’s degree in Business Leadership from the University of South Africa and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Management from IMM South Africa.

Dr Rebecca Chisamba

Dr Rebecca Chisamba is known for setting a record by introducing a talkshow in Shona, when English programmes dominated television. She popularised the use of the creative Shona language in her show, which tackles topical issues affecting people’s lives. A teacher by profession, Mai Chisamba is respected as a veteran radio and television presenter.

Dr Chipo Mtasa

A household name in the telecommunications industry is Dr Chipo Mtasa. She is currently the board chairperson for the national airline, Air Zimbabwe. She stepped down from the post of managing director at communications giant TelOne at the end of last year.

She had steered the ship for 10 years. During her tenure, she is credited for turning TelOne into a viable and profitable entity. A top-level executive, Dr Mutasa is known for her experience in coming up with strategies that have produced significant business turnaround in the telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, tourism and other sectors.

Dr Mutasa is an accomplished Chartered Accountant, who holds a Bachelor of Accountancy (Honours) degree from the University of Zimbabwe and several other postgraduate qualifications and certifications.

Captains Chipo Matimba and Elizabeth Simbi Petros

In the aviation industry, the names Chipo Matimba and Elizabeth Simbi Petros cannot be ignored. They are known for setting records. In 2015, they made history by becoming the first all-female team to fly from Harare to Victoria Falls.

Cpt Matimba is the first woman to successfully complete a pilot training course in the Airforce of Zimbabwe. She is also the first female combat pilot. She graduated as the first female flying instructor.

Commissioner Susan Makore

Commissioner Susan Makore is a revered personality in the media industry and is known for excelling in various posts she has held. She was appointed to the Zimbabwe Media Commission in 2020 and also holds the post of director, Advisory and Insights, at Wan-IFRA WIN Zimbabwe. She was the CEO of AB Communications Private Limited, which owns ZiFM Stereo, Mighty Movies and the Business Times Newspaper.. She was also the CEO of ZBC for more than five years.

Ms Lillian Nyamasoka

Ms Lillian Nyamasoka is the regional managing director of Shawasha Group, whose subsidiaries locally and in Mozambique are involved in supporting farmers who are into cotton, tobacco, sesame, maize and soya beans. The company targets smallholder farmers in communal lands, which are mostly prone to drought, where there is most need for financial support.

Building the company with personal funding from 2009 and 100 growers on contract farming, Ms Nyamasoka endured the challenges associated with the perception that women were not capable of running businesses, let alone borrow and repay loans. To date, the company employs about 1 200 people.

Last year, Ms Nyamasoka won the Outstanding and Game Changing Agriculture Executive award at the Vital Concept Agro Summit. This year, she was nominated for the Women Changing the World Awards.

Ms Stephanie Travers

Ms Stephanie Travers is a Zimbabwe-born chemical engineer, who made history by joining the elite Formula One as a trackside fluid engineer for Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 team. She had defeated 7 000 other applicants to land the post, managing to also go through a five-stage rigorous selection process.


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