Nelia Garcia from Polyflor SA discusses what it means to serve as a woman in a leadership position.

As Key Accounts Manager at Polyflor South Africa, Nelia Garcia, who has 22 years’ experience in the building industry, believes that she has a really good insight and well-rounded knowledge of the building industry.

“As a woman in the building industry, I believe that you gain respect by ensuring that you know your market sectors, understand the client’s needs and manage the challenges through every step of the project from conception to completion, as well as by assisting clients by giving them the right advice and guidance throughout the entire process,” she comments.

Nelia started in the industry at the age of 18, with her first job at Barnes Fencing as a sales representative. Thereafter she joined Swartland Windows and Doors and then joined Saint Gobain, where part of her portfolio was setting up the specifications department for Weber. She was soon promoted as National Specifications Manager, where after she joined Prominent Paints in Cape Town as their Specifications Consultant. Her talent and experience attracted the attention of Polyflor SA, and soon Nelia found herself in Johannesburg once again, this time working for a company she is truly passionate about. “Polyflor SA isn’t only about selling a product to their clients, they offer them so much more,” she emphasises.

Nelia adds that she is a motivated and organised person who takes action when and where required. According to her, it is only through daily action that you develop the habit and discipline to make your vision become a reality. “When you focus on the bigger picture, you stay in motion – not merely dreaming your passion – but living it,” she highlights. “I invest time and effort in my relationships with clients as I believe in giving them the best possible service and customer experience, so that they know their trust is well placed in me.”

As a woman in a leadership position, she adds that women offer different leadership styles to men. “We most often lead by example and are super talented at multitasking,” she says. “Working in a team with other women, we often build strong bonds and are always available to help and assist our co-workers when they are in need. As women, we are more detail orientated and can offer guidance and advice about design possibilities, and we enjoy the more aesthetic part of a project. Women are excellent at relationship building as they are able to balance both business matters with personal understanding.”

With regards to the different roles men and women fulfil in business, Nelia notes that women aren’t afraid to ask for assistance and that professional women understand that what works today, might not necessarily work tomorrow. “Ongoing learning and the ability to adapt give you a competitive advantage in achieving any desired goal,” she concludes. “Women are also better at finding the right work-life balance, which is important for making sure that we manage to replenish our own energy levels and get some personal enrichment. We can’t keep adding value in any part of our lives if we don’t take care of ourselves as well.”