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A MESSAGE FROM THE REGIONAL PERFORMANCE MANAGER AT JAGUAR LAND ROVER SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA, SILVIA DICKSON

Honour women this Women’s Month, by recognising that they are capable of leading, decision making, strategising and executing as much as their male counterparts, if not more. Influence women inclusivity through company policy and directives to include female executives in decision making roles. Then support these women to excel through an on-boarding policy and programme, which includes the assistance of a senior manager who has held the position for more than three years and understands the in-depth requirements of the role. In the past decade, there has been an increase in employing more females than males in middle management and below. However, leadership and senior executive positions are still predominantly occupied by men, with only 11.8% of CEO, MD and Chairperson positions filled by women.

Women are generally undermined in executive positions. They tend to have to work twice as hard as their male counterparts. Their decisions are often challenged, and often only when there is male backing or approval, is the decision accepted.

The problem is that women tend to want to be more like males in leadership roles. That shouldn’t be the case, because they possess unique superior qualities. Intuition coupled with experience, plus trusting their capabilities and being driven by passion, are powerful qualities a woman can use to her advantage. For women aspiring to obtain a leadership role, remember that patience is a virtue. Know that you are unique. Run your own race, and only compete with yourself or measure how far you are in achieving your dreams. Never allow your feminine nature to limit your success.

As a woman in my role, I have had to face challenging markets in sub-Sahara Africa, standing up to the patriarchy that exists in Africa from men who are dollar millionaires and billionaires, and make my voice heard and my ideas accepted for the benefit of our importer partners and Jaguar Land Rover, to mutually grow our business. I have overcome these challenges by knowing my capabilities and having the assurance that I have gotten this far by hard work.

Taking the risk of making decisions even when the decisions were unfavourable, I still made them because I believed in them. Consultation has assisted me in decision making and weighing the options available, however, the ultimate final decisions rest with me. I wake up with a lot expectations and I make sure that I go to bed with satisfaction. Honesty and transparency have also made things easier for me.

My inspiration comes from knowing that I can add value and make a positive change or impact. My motto stems from my Christian values: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Never limit yourself, you are destined for greatness. Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Silvia Dickson, Regional Performance Manager, Jaguar Land Rover Sub-Sahara Africa