As we celebrate Women’s Month, we speak to Women’s Property Network Chairperson Nonhlanhla Mayisela who has faced challenges in business, particularly within industries believed to be the preserve of men.
But she is proving that determination, integrity and empathy can move mountains.
Nonhlanhla Mayisela’s entry into the property industry was unintentional as she was still completing her studies when the opportunity arose through a new acquaintance.
This meant her decision was not really thought through. “I guess the one thing that made sense was property is something we live with and it impacts our lives in so many different ways, so understanding it better would hold me in good stead.”
What are some of the challenges you, as a woman, face constantly, or have faced?
There are always challenges for women in the industry but there have equally been opportunities. Focusing too much on the challenges shifts our focus from what’s really important, and that is:
◆ Seeking opportunities for women to participate and contribute to this industry.
◆ Challenging false opinions of women’s ability to contribute to the sector.
◆ Working with all to enable women to engage meaningfully in the sector. Through my role as chief executive of Izandla Property and, in particular, chair of the Women’s Property Network, my focus was initially on tackling the challenges faced by women. But this is a reactive strategy. So now I acknowledge the challenges, and then see the opportunities that lie in solving them.
How have you overcome these challenges?
For a long time I naively thought they could be overcome by continuously pushing through the barriers and fighting any form of discrimination. I now accept that changing the narrative requires a carefully thought-out strategy, with tenacity and a collective effort from all involved. I have overcome some of the challenges. My focus is on the wins we’ve achieved as a collective of women. I use the platforms I’ve been given not only to celebrate the many successes of women in the industry but also to support them through various initiatives.
What advice do you have for other women getting started in the industry?
Keep at it, stay the course. I acknowledge that, at times, the journey becomes extremely tough. Women have to deal with so many other challenges outside their careers, such as looking after families, carrying the burdens of extended families, creating financial security for themselves and their families. Getting the right support structure around you is critical.
Who is your female role model?
Many women and men continue to inspire me through their journeys of growth and success. Equally, I try to add value to their lives as well, particularly those who play a mentorship role in my life.