#CareerFocus With Rhian Capostagno, Head of Energy Transformation in Africa

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1. Tell us about yourself.

I am a very dedicated and committed worker, I am told I have a very high bar – so failure doesn’t come easy (actually not entertained at all!) This has its challenges but is what, after almost 30 years as a management consultant, keeps me driven. I have the self-volence to give most things a try – I believe most people can do most things if they want to !! My self-motivation revolves predominantly around ‘there are millions of men that do that daily so it can’t be that difficult !”. I am very involved in judging eventing horse shows globally, I drive a tractor when required and immerse myself in my animals on weekends.

2. What work do you do?

I am a seasoned consultant with 27 years of experience specialising in strategy and operational improvement across various industries such as utilities, telecommunications, life sciences, and mining. I have a diverse background, including line management roles and extensive consulting experience with global firms like Cap Gemini and Partners in Performance.

3. How long have you been in the industry?

28 years

4. Has your work always been your passion? Tell us why.

I love the early problem-solving part of my work, the intellectual and practical challenge of finding a solution that will be sustainable and move the dial. I am highly energized by seeing the results and the people who make it happen grow and be successful through taking on the challenge.

5. Being a woman in the industry – What does it take?

A well-set-up environment at home, especially if you have or are planning for a family. I have found a little bit of a thick skin can help!

6. What has been the most difficult challenge of your career?

My name!!  When I arrived in SA in 1991 I spent years turning up to client meetings and being looked up and down with the comment – but you are female!  The mispronunciation of Rhian (welsh) to Riaan (Afr) in setting up meetings led to some surprises. With a bit of seriousness – I am fortunate to have been brought up in a family that even in the early days valued me as a person, so I have always considered myself – first a consultant and second I happen to be female. I think this has given me the ability to push ahead based on my capability and results and not worry too much about the fact that I am female and that it may hold me back. I find heels make a lovely sound on the top of glass ceilings!!

7. What advice do you have for other women in your industry?

Put the work in, take the feedback in an open spirit, and keep telling yourself that good is good – the sex you are born need not count but can be useful occasionally.

8. Plans for the future?

Next week is busy!