When I started on my career path, I didn’t have set milestones or a 5 year plan. What I did have and still do, is a clear passion for the automotive industry, from the supply chain complexities and production intricacies to adverts that you never forget. I have always had an inquisitive mind and found myself seeking new and different challenges over the years and I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be part of diverse roles, which gave me a macro view of the industry and operations.
I have been part of several and very different portfolios within Jaguar Land Rover and this alone has stretched and called for a set of different skills and demands over the years. My career journey with the brands has even allowed me to gain a deep understanding of what is required to complete successful business in Sub-Saharan Africa. The extremely diverse and dynamic nature of the markets and conducting business in each country required a tailored approach to ensuring overall success. By keeping an open mind and nurturing my need to keep learning, Jaguar Land Rover has also on multiple occasions afforded me the opportunity to meet incredible new people and to visit exciting new places. The opportunity to learn about and work with very different cultures has been invaluable and afforded me with a greater appreciation of this global society we live in.
And that brings me right back to my initial statement. To all women, whether you are just starting out in your career or feel like you need a new challenge to keep you motivated and going, don’t let yourself be boxed into a specific niche, if you explore every aspect that connects to it, you’ll never stop learning and growing and advancing in your career and life.
As a mentor to young girls, I often provide the following piece of advice: “No matter how mundane, no matter how seemingly boring the task, give it your all! You’ll be surprised what little learnings take place and the character this simple approach continuously builds.” As we get older and advance in our careers and lives, the responsibilities just continue to pile up and we lose sight of the truth I’ve just shared with you.
When that happens, take a page out of my book and recharge. Explore new places, try new foods, research cultures and destinations, cook, go hiking, or just spend the day relaxing at home.
As women continue to climb the ranks across so many different industries including my own, let’s set a goal this Women’s Month to never stop helping one another grow!
Irene Kakooza, Experience Manager, Jaguar Land Rover South Africa & Sub-Sahara Africa