Fellowship Diary - Day 3 by Rozina Myoya
“God did not create you to be alone. He deposited skills, knowledge, and talents in someone out there who is expected to mentor you, teach you and encourage you to go high. Go, get a mentor!” ― Israelmore Ayivor
Mentoring is integral in the WomEng organisation. Hema has gone as far as starting a consulting firm dedicated to coaching and leadership development (The Passion Professional). Last year her organisation hosted the first ever Vital Voices Mentorship Walkheld in South Africa.
During the Mentorship Workshop we got the chance to engage with Cheryl Moloka, a biochemist by profession currently working at Engen. She gave us the perspective of a person who was forced to branch into other fields due to circumstances. As a biochemist working in Engen she was forced to familiarise herself with chemical engineering because that was what her work entailed. Before you find your niche, you’ll have to experiment. When going into something new chances of failure are extremely high and you need to learn how to deal with it. Cheryl advised us to be brave enough to experiment and emphasised on the need for entrepreneurs.
The next speaker was the dynamic Bongani Mthombeni-Möller, who is now the managing director and CEO at Intens Engineering Solutions (Pty) Ltd. She is well travelled and in her travels taught her that we’re all essentially facing the same issues. As engineers we need to realise that we are global citizens; the world is our market and we need to look past South African borders for opportunities. She also highlighted the issues young females will face going into the male dominated industry of engineering.
She found her passion in entrepreneurship.“Why work for a big cooperate when I could have big cooperates working for me?”
Professor Mqhele Dlodlo from UCT (Electrical Engineering department) has gone from being a Grade 6 teacher to working as a factory-hand in the US to attaining a PhD at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands. All that he had learned from all these stages in his life have formed who he is today. He is living proof that you should never be afraid to start from the bottom – it will help you understand the tiny details that go into any project, and enable you to assist those who will eventually work under you. “There is dignity in every occupation as long as you impart the dignity in it.”
He implored us as engineering students not to study just to pass examinations, but to find the meaning in what we are studying. “The best engineer isn’t the one who can solve all the problems; the best engineer is the one who knows what the compromises are. You will never be able to solve all the problems because as you solve one problem you create a host of others. Find meaning in your studies because essentially this is what engineering is all about: finding meaning.”
Once the mentoring session concluded, Hema and Naadiya imparted some much needed pearls of wisdom in the “Let’s get business ready” workshop. We covered many topics that will hopefully give us a competitive edge when it comes to job applications – everything from researching companies and constructing the perfect CV, to interview etiquette and dressing for success.
After some lab time, we headed to dinner. This evening we were introduced to the Unilever Team – Unilever is one of the major sponsors of WomEng. I was impressed by how close-knit they are as a team of colleagues and mostly by the work that the company does. After all the mind-blowing presentations, I wanted to apply to the company for a job.
A definite highlight of the evening was playing the Supply Chain game – that takes us through the three stages of the manufacturing process. It was hilarious! But, an amazing learning experience and for others it brought out the salesperson in them that they didn’t know existed.
Lessons of the day: Get a mentor; Fix CV; get out of your comfort-zone - you never know what you might discover about yourself.