Durban Ladies Phindile Shoba, Melanie Mokawem and Marcia Rossouw.
Women take on their male counterparts in the world of high-pressure pumps.
August is Women’s Month, which celebrates and recognises the female achievers among us and the great lengths these often-unsung heroines go to, to achieve the success they deserve; making it on their own – not because the job was handed to them, but because their achievements speak for themselves. In the largely male-dominated world of high-pressure pumps, Hawk Pumps recognises some of the female achievers on its team. And the jobs these feminine achievers do are anything but ordinary.
Melanie Mokawem – CEO
Working alongside her husband Troy, who handles operations at Hawk, Melanie Mokawem has often had to deal with cases of mistaken identity – or blatant assumptions – as is evident in the anecdote she shares here:
“We do work in a male-dominated industry. And sometimes, there is the rather amusing assumption that I work for my husband. I once had a very funny conversation with someone asking me if they could speak to the Manager.
“I answered, ‘Speaking’.
“’ No,’ she insisted, ‘the owner, then’.
“’ Still me!’, I said.
“’The Director of the company,’ she clarified.
“’Yes, that is me,’ I answered, very amused.
“’But you’re not a man, said the caller.
“’Yup, you got it!’, I said, trying really hard not to laugh.
“Of course, I’ve had the odd issue with a few men who feel that women have no place being in business – especially in a leadership role, but that’s going to happen in any sector, not necessarily because this is a male-dominated one. I’ve learned to tune out the noise and get on with it. I work hard and I do a good job. I watched my dad put his blood, sweat, and tears into this business to build a brand and a legacy that I am proud to continue”.
Pascale Pillay – Sales
Pascale’s contagious laugh and penchant for dance belies the fact that she is a serious salesperson at heart. Her in-depth knowledge of Hawk’s products and services, head for business, and work ethic adds value for her customers and colleagues alike.
“People are often surprised to encounter a woman when they need advice on pumping equipment,” says Pascale. She adds, “But their minds are always set at ease when I give them advice if they are unsure about what they need. Providing great customer service is something that runs in my veins and I think it helps that I’ve developed the ability to do what every woman does best: multi-tasking”.
Pascale’s career took a slightly unexpected turn, as the world of high-pressure pumps is a far cry from choreography – a profession that she wanted to pursue when she was a child. Despite that, Pascale has found her true rhythm in a service-orientated industry.
Queen Ngobeni – Stores Assistant
“I feel the fear and do it anyway,” says Queen, whose name is well-suited to her regal, motivated demeanour. “Success to me means moving my career forward and becoming an auditor,” she continues; enthusing, “And one day, I’d like to climb the great wall of China!”
Queen is indeed set to reach heights akin to scaling China’s best-known landmark with her persistent, dedicated outlook fuelling her to move forward. This one-of-a-kind hard worker has established herself as a force to be reckoned with and the future is looking bright.
Donna Brand – Office Administrator
Donna started her career working for an ISP fresh out of school and she hasn’t looked back since. She moved through various roles including sales, customer care, human resources, and marketing before settling into an Executive PA role, which included human resources and marketing functions.
Now, Donna masterfully manages HR; including recruitment, performance management, policy formation, and implementation and is still involved in some marketing activities at Hawk. She is responsible for the Stores, Admin, and Workshop departments in the Johannesburg branch, coordinating procurement, Health & Safety, and training, and is undertaking a new role as the POPI Officer.
Donna says, “Even with my hands permanently full, it’s really important to me that there are no glitches in the matrix. I know how to get things done and don’t stop until I have the desired result. I almost never take ‘no’ for an answer”. And perhaps it is Donna’s headstrong persistence and dedication that makes her such an asset to the team.
Marcia Rossouw – Stores
Marcia fought long and hard to make it to where she is today, particularly in an arena that is dominated by men. The Hawk Pumps storeroom has become her domain and she is equally as adept as any of her male counterparts at picking, packing, and powering through her daily tasks, which are multifaceted.
“I fulfil many roles in my job and I think it’s probably my compassionate and enthusiastic character that keeps me positive. I am really grateful for what I have and very happy to be part of a team that works so well together. We are all equal here, men and women, and I feel that I have earned my respect by doing anything that the men here are capable of – and sometimes more,” says Marcia.
Phindile Shoba – Internal Sales
“Starting out wasn’t a walk in the park,” says Phindi – one of the top Sales Assistants at Hawk. She continues, “I felt judged and was full of self-doubt. But ultimately, I knew what I could bring to my role and my vision and goals kept me going”.
Phindi describes herself as a workaholic who is kind, caring, driven and strong. To stay at the top of her game, she spends much of her spare time reading product leaflets from cover to cover, and is known for her determination to shine in what is largely considered a “man’s world”.
Women moving up
Melanie Mokawem concludes, “The Hawk Pumps ethos is steeped in the principle of providing equal opportunities for all. While Women’s Month is always a fantastic catalyst for us to recognise the great women who have made our company what it is, and indeed, provide the backbone of our country; we hope that South Africans everywhere can take a moment every now and then, all year round, to recognise the women achievers among them.
“The women who are currently excelling in their roles as part of our team are testament to the fact that gender is irrelevant where true hard work and dedication shine through”.
For more visit: hawkpumps.co.za