First and foremost, I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a survivor, a soul on the journey of life, walking next to many other souls, as we try to figure out this thing called living. Secondary to all the above, I am a professional with a business title (Head of HR, Africa) and with the privilege of having an education as well as being gainfully employed at ATC (American Tower Corporation).
My career in HR started out in the non-profit sector in 1995. Prior to that, I had worked for a period as an Executive Assistant to a Minister in the Portuguese Government in Lisbon, a job which I left to return to South Africa, precisely at a time when everyone was running away from the new democratic nation’s problems. I joined World Vision International as an Office Manager for the emergency relief response efforts in Africa and very quickly realized that I enjoyed working with people, much more than logistics. One day I put my hand up for recruitment work and thus began my career in HR. I had considerable help and support from my first and best mentor, an amazing woman by the name of Margaret Montague, who believed in me and showed me the way.
I have worked for non-profit organizations (World Vision and Habitat for Humanity), as well as various companies across diverse industries. Not knowing anything about an industry has never deterred me. That part is easy, but if you get the people part wrong, then you can make a royal mess up of things. I have experience in mining, IT, construction, oil and gas, compliance and most recently telecommunications. My work has enabled me to engage with people and cultures from across the globe on all continents, except for Antarctica! In Africa, I have travelled extensively from North to South and everything in between and I really cannot say which is my favourite place- every country is unique, its people always generous and open and the experience always enriching.
On a personal level, I like to write, draw, bake and play (bad) tennis. I do a lot of things well, but also a lot of them badly, but I like to persevere, as I desire to live life in all its fullness. Finally, I am a survivor of cancer and all the trauma which such an experience brings to one’s existence. I have learnt that life does indeed go on and when you are afraid and uncertain, it is probably best to just keep going until things become clearer.
Senior Director, HR Africa at American Tower Corporation