1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am currently the Managing Director of Careerbox, an NGO dedicated to transforming the lives of African youth and women by recruiting, training and placing them in paid jobs with our partners and customers for sustainable career growth. I joined Careerbox, which was founded by CCI, as a recruitment manager in 2012, and was promoted to my current role in 2013.
I’m a mother, and flexibility is key to juggling work with family chores such as school runs for the children. What helps is my commitment toward integrity, and the trust between myself and my employer that my work will be carried out without any compromise.
2. What work do you do?
As the MD, my job is about growing and developing people, particularly youth and women from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, and providing them with a pathway toward sustainable careers.
3. How long have you been in the industry?
I have been in the Business Process Outsourcing sector for 16 years, starting as a contact centre agent with CCI, the largest contact centre in SA but my love for working with people, and desire for growth saw me transition into human capital, where I ended up as a recruitment manager.
4. Has your work always been your passion? Tell us why?
Developing people and providing them with opportunities has always been close to my heart. Working at an organisation like Careerbox allows me to turn this passion into reality, and we are able to provide disadvantaged people with hope, and a shot at a sustainable long term career in the industry. It makes it even better that I am a product of this industry, having started as an agent, and can serve as a role model to the youth by showing them what is possible with hard work and perseverance.
5. Being a woman in the industry – what does it take?
It takes a lot. In the beginning I struggled with finding my feet in a sector where most other senior decision-makers were male; It took hard work and persistence, and having to demonstrate the value that local knowledge could bring to their operations. Being named as the first black, female director in the CCI group in 2013 was a key achievement for me. I had to let my work speak for itself.
6. What has been the most difficult challenge of your career?
I’m self-taught, and have worked my way to my current role through hard work, and learning the ropes along the way up. It would have been easier if I had role models to work with from an earlier age. Even at home, I had to take up the role as the eldest child and had to provide guidance to my siblings. Working with mentors has only happened over the past few years, and the experience has been invaluable.
7. What advice do you have for other women in your industry?
It is our time! We should not compromise on what we want, and need to fully believe in the value that we can bring to an organisation. You still have to work hard for your seat at the table. Let your actions and results – rather than opinions of others – be the measure of your success, and show what you are capable of.
8. Plans for the future?
It is an exciting time for Careerbox as we look to expand into other countries across the continent, and help provide opportunities across the broader region. While non-profit organisations have been around for a while, we are looking to scale Careerbox in a way not attempted before. We want to be able to work with private and public stakeholders to make the Careerbox model a viable one that can be replicated around Africa and is seen as the role model for the development of youth and women.
As a pillar of strength, a remarkable leader, and a resilient yet graceful director, we introduce CareerBox Managing Director Lizelle Strydom.
With an impressive 16 years in the Business Process Outsourcing sector, Lizelle has been instrumental in developing the unique, market-leading impact sourcing offering that is CareerBox providing opportunity amongst youth and women in South Africa.
In her current role, Lizelle operates at the coal face of youth development and women empowerment in South Africa, working with CCI and other international corporates, thousands of young people have been placed in sustainable jobs in the digital economy. Her personal experience and direct exposure to previously disadvantaged communities have enabled her to relate to the realities of the communities that the CareerBox team serves.