By Lizelle van der Berg, director – GCCA South Africa
The Africa Future Leader Award is organised by the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA). This award recognises outstanding young professionals in the cold storage industry in Africa who show potential for future career advancement but have not yet risen to top-level leadership positions.
Mandisa Pakamisa, Accounts Receivable Manager of CCS Logistics, was announced as the recipient of the 2021 GCCA Africa Future Leader Award.
The final round of the competition was held in September 2021 and each finalist was evaluated on their knowledge level of the industry, track record of excellence, communication skills, and leadership skills. Pakamisa competed for the award with Miriam Camila Winna of Southern Shipping Services in Nairobi, Kenya.
In addition to being nominated and completing their applications, each candidate delivered a short presentation to the panel of judges including Ivan Sutic, Financial Director of Chilleweni Cold Storage Solutions, Paul Gibbons, Customer Director of Vector Logistics and Christopher Nulliah, Chief Logistics Officer of Etlin International.
The judges were all impressed with Pakamisa’s career goals and aspirations, as well as her business acumen and passion for the industry. “Mandisa had a very positive approach to the interview and her energy was palpable. Her enthusiasm to learn more about the Cold Chain was very evident, I think all the judges picked up on her energy. Mandisa presented her future ambitions and plans for her career in the Cold Chain clearly and had often gone above and beyond what was required. With young leaders like Mandisa the Cold Chain is in good hands,” said Gibbons.
“Mandisa came out on top against some incredibly tough competition. Her energy and passion for her work are contagious. She has a keen desire to learn and step up where needed and I have no doubt that she will go very far in her career” added Sutic. “Mandisa has thorough knowledge of the cold store business not only in the finance or credit aspect but has made massive strides into understanding the operations side of the business. I was very impressed with her initiative and motivation in meeting with customers and ability to share the operational processes that occurs. I wish her everything of the best in the future” said Nulliah.
After Mandisa (MP) was announced as the recipient, Lizelle van der Berg (LVDB), Director of GCCA South Africa, met up with her to ask her a few questions.
LVDB: What was it like, participating in the Award?
MP: It has been a great learning experience, so exciting and motivating. When I was nominated and completing the application, I did not think that I would get this far. However, I took on the opportunity as I always do. Just being nominated for me was already an achievement, as it shows that my leaders are seeing potential in me. Self-confidence is important and many times people lose out on opportunities because they lack the confidence.
LVDB: Tell us about your journey in the Cold Chain industry?
MP: I started as a Debtors Clerk at one of our cold stores, CCS Paarden Eiland, in 2009. Never did I expect that this change in my career will end up being a career changing experience. Account Receivable Manager is my 4th position within CCS Logistics. My journey continues to be enjoyable as I take on new challenges and opportunities which allows me to grow personally and professionally.
LVDB: What would you say are the most important qualities of great leaders?
MP: Great leaders must be authentic and honest. Taking accountability is a very import quality that leaders must possess. Showing empathy in your leadership style, especially in the current world we live in with many challenges experienced by employees, can increase performance and moral.
LVDB: What advice would you like to give other young professionals in the cold chain industry?
MP: The Cold Chain plays a vital role in Africa and the rest of the world and as the people within this industry, irrespective of your current position, you should take pride in what you do, knowing that you are an integral part of the chain that serves our nation. Being inquisitive, continuing to learn and empowering yourself in different areas will ensure that you are ready when the next opportunity arises. Our industry has a lot of opportunities, and it is up to us to grab them and make a success.
This competition brings out some of the best and the brightest in Africa’s cold storage industry and that is something to be recognised and celebrated Pakamisa concluded.
“We are fortunate to have such a strong talent pipeline in the Cold Chain. Our young leaders are the future of the industry, and it appears to be in good hands. It’s important we build on their strengths through mentoring, training, and creating the space for them to succeed. The Cold Chain is an exciting space for young leaders to learn and grow. Through hard work and an inquiring mind, the possibilities are endless,” says Gibbons.
“It was thrilling to see such talented young leaders in our industry and to recognise and celebrate their contributions. I am hopeful that this process will continue to inspire and encourage many more, for the development of the cold storage industry in Africa as a whole,” adds Sutic.
“The cold chain industry is one of the most important industries in the world and now more than ever this industry is changing rapidly, and we are exposed to the most amazing experiences as long as we have a plan. If you do not have a plan, a plan must be your starting point. Focus on the milestones that must be achieved – work towards them, it will not always workout, but you must re-adjust, make a few changes, and continue to strive to get to the milestones set out. Work hard and be consistent at what you do, success and rewards will then follow,” Nulliah noted.