Two strong women highlight the role that passion plays in career success as well as being prepared to ‘get one’s hands dirty’ for the sake of achieving the company’s objectives.

Heidi Anderson, Brand Manager at Genesis

After working as Marketing Assistant at Midas HO, Heidi Anderson, Genesis SA Brand Manager, was roped into the family printing and promotional business. She soon discovered that people are her passion and that she wanted to do sales.

After 12 years in this industry, Heidi was approached by Graham Ashley, one of her clients at the time, to work for him and form the distributorship of Genesis, one of the architectural profile system leaders in South Africa – that was ten years ago.

“I have a love for fashion and trends in all walks of life, especially in the flooring industry,” states Heidi. “Keeping up with those trends is vitally important as it brings a feminine flair that separates us women from the male-dominated sector. Being persuasive in a non-threatening and confident way is always the best.”

Heidi goes on to say that respecting one’s customers and treating potential customers like gold are key behaviours. “Listening to customers’ needs is imperative and women are good listeners when it comes to others’ needs,” she says.

She says that she is passionate about what she does, her greatest desire being to become more successful in what she does and inspire those she works with to keep them positive. Her brand is the vehicle that enables her to live her passion.

“Passion is what will keep you going, especially when people say “no” to your product or service at times,” Heidi concludes. “People may doubt you because you are a woman, but your persistence, confidence in yourself and your product will overcome these roadblocks. Be happy, positive, love what you do and always remain passionate.”

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Michele da Silva, Key Accounts Executive at Tile & Floor Care

As Key Accounts Executive at Tile & Floor Care and Brand Manager for two sub-brands that are distributed, namely Litokol and Vidrepur, Michele da Silva is proud of the fact that this is only her second job since matriculating in 2000.

“It has been an amazing journey in my sales development role to drive the brand to the point where its retail footprint is almost complete,” she says. “Natural stone has been timeless over the years and I firmly believe I have been a great asset in transforming the concept that these floor types are ‘nice to have’ to that of an absolute necessity in the decorative and protective enhancement of a major investment.”

To the question ‘Can women be technical?’, Michele responds, “Absolutely!’ I always pay close attention to detail, especially when recommending solutions, and I provide training for shopfloor staff. On-site problem solving often involves getting on your hands and knees – a woman is not just a ‘pretty face’.”

According to Michele, her unique contribution to the company is identifying gaps in the marketplace and innovation. As times and trends change, the company needs to update and set new trends to ensure that they are still appealing to consumers’ needs.

“I am a strong believer in leading by example,” she concludes. “It’s not about how hard you work, but about working smart.”

According to Michele, innovation and identifying gaps in the market place is her unique contribution to the company, an as time and trends change, they need to update and set new trends to ensure that they are appealing to the consumers’ needs.