Women leadership: The Boardwalk’s women managers succeeding in previously male-dominated positions

AUGUST 22, 2016

The Boardwalk is, without a doubt, the final word in luxury accommodation, entertainment, dining and conferencing in Port Elizabeth. Set on the PE beachfront, this R2-billion sprawling casino resort and hotel welcomes thousands of locals and visitors to the Bay each year.

Responsible for some of this success and the unique experiences at the complex are six women, who head up some of its key departments after The Boardwalk split management positions equally between men and women. Business Link magazine spoke to these ladies.

 

Faniswa Mkosana, Cluster HR Manager

Faniswa joined The Boardwalk in 2011 as HR Manager after being headhunted by a recruitment agent to design and successfully implement all Human Capital at the complex. “I could not refuse this great opportunity, so I applied and was hired for the role,” she remembers.

She says as a working woman, she has to manage time effectively between the office and her family. “Luckily my family is very supportive to me I cannot thank them more for that.”

About her leadership style, she says it is situational – becoming firm, supportive and using negotiation as dictated by a situation. While women face many challenges in the workplace, she says that she is lucky that The Boardwalk has allowed her to enhance her studies and be part of the Nelson Mandela Bay HR Forum as well as a member of the Institute of People Management (IPM).

 

Ayanda Kgwathe, Hotel Manager

For Ayanda, who is the youngest female five star Hotel Manager in the Sun International Group, her typical day often starts with a walkabout of the hotel to ensure the maintenance of standards while the rest of the day involves planning and leading.

About juggling the office and the home, she says; “I often have to compromise and decide what's important at that time and make choices that support that. Planning plays a vital role.”

Ayanda strongly feels that women should shift from seeing themselves as victims and start taking charge of their careers. She says she has been fortunate that The Boardwalk has invested in her development as a female Manager “and ensuring that I stay abreast of the current trends in order to perform optimally. My enrolment to pilot the Executive Development Program for Women in Tourism at UNISA, which starts in July bears testimony to this.”

 

Nqobile Majozi, Marketing Manager

Describing her hectic and demanding job, Nqobile says that the fun part about it is ensuring that their marketing efforts are visible in billboards, magazine, radio adverts, in sms’s and online.

Nqobile believes women still face several challenges in the workplace, “However, women are taking matters into their hands by up-skilling themselves and availing themselves in non-traditional women roles,” she says. Plus, the ladies of the Boardwalk consciously support each other to ensure that we shine.

In juggling the office and home, it is true that there is never a real balance but a juggle of different roles and technology makes this choice much easier. On her leadership style, “it has always been fluid to adapt to the specific challenges and the needs of the people that I lead given the specific time and situation that I am facing”. However my natural preference is the participative approach which is inspired by Steve Jobs who said, “it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do. We hire smart people so that they can tell us what to do”

 

Angela Rogers, IT Manager

Angela has been with Sun International, which runs The Boardwalk, since 1995 and was promoted to her current position in December 2009. She says; “No two days are alike – fortunately in IT every day is different and usually crazy busy.” After that, she still tries to make time to be home to either make dinner or be around just after to spend time with her family.

She describes her leadership style as flexible. “No one style fits every situation and person. If I, however, had to look at the ones that I try to operate in the most, strive towards and that resonate with me I would say: multiplier, transformational, servant and positive organisational scholarship.  I also tend to have a very strong participative style and try to get my team involved, this really helps build a stronger bond and to get buy-in. I must say I really love coaching and mentoring whenever possible as I ultimately want to ensure that everyone grows and learns, and through coaching others, you learn too.

 

Peggy Mokhatla, Social Equity Manager

Peggy started off her career as a cleaner in 1984 and worked her way up to Reception, Reservations, Head Receptionist, Night auditor, Assistant Front Office Manager, HR administrator, Personnel Manager, Senior HR officer and then Social Equity Manager, a position she has held for the past 14 years.

Describing herself as a democratic leader, who strives to bring consensus to both those in leadership and the employees, Peggy says equality is still a huge problem in the workplace as women are not treated as their counterparts.

“However, The Boardwalk and Sun International are very supportive of women in leading roles. In my case, I started at the bottom and I swept my way through to the Boardroom - all thanks to them who believed in my ability,” she adds. 

 

Dheshree Pillay, Financial Manager

Dheshree had just qualified as a Chartered Accountant when she saw an opportunity at The Boardwalk. Three years later, she was promoted to Financial Manager position, when her boss retired.

Her typical day starts with an Executive meeting to discuss everything happening in the business before she meets with her own team for updates on cashflow, payments and other financial matters. While its normal for her to work odd hours due to the nature of her position, the end of the month is usually when she has her busiest days.

Describing her leadership style, Dheshree says; “I’m that person, who knows what I want. I am also a people person and try to support, listen and motivate my team to ensure that we are on the right track to achieve our goals as an organisation.”