Paving the Way: How Yolanda Oosthuizen has surrounded herself with inspirational mentors and champions that have positively impacted her career.
There have been times in Yolanda's career where she has been a lone female voice; helping her develop a strong sense of self and confidence, supported by great mentors and inspiring leaders who can help pave a new way.
Yolanda cites her dad as an inspiration; nurturing her love for science especially chemistry. In addition, being from a long line of farmers in South Africa, it’s needless to say that access to, and preservation of water led her into a career in the water and wastewater industry.
As the youngest Senior Manager in the history of Sembcorp Silulumanzi, and being "a woman in a man’s world", Yolanda had to be dedicated, precise and work hard to earn the respect and confidence of colleagues and peers. Personal achievements have been a result of Yolanda's desire for continuous personal and professional development; spurred on by her biggest supporters including her husband and father who taught her to work hard and dream big.
In her own words; how have development programs helped develop your career and leadership skills?
"Right in the beginning of my career, I completed the following certifications to enhance my capability as a leader: Assessor (water and wastewater treatment); Mentoring a Colleague; and Coaching One-on-One. Knowing how to work with, and lead people, has provided me with additional confidence.
"I have two mentors that made a significant impact in my life. On the technical side I am blessed to have my dad in my life, my go-to on any technical query. The now retired, ex National Operations Manager for Sembcorp Silulumanzi, with whom I am still in contact on a weekly basis, has been my inspiration in people skills. I have gained so much learning from his knowledge and experience. Having that mentor to go to when you just need to do a sanity check is critical to allow yourself to just be, think out loud and soundboard your thoughts."
Building my network in the Water Industry in South Africa was critical to my career growth. I actively put myself out there and made my voice known to be heard and make a difference. This allowed me to create a wide network that includes well known influencers in the South African water and wastewater industry."
"The Veolia Global Women in Leadership (WIL) program has surpassed my expectations. Being able to work with a personalised coach in a neutral environment, allowed me to be honest about who I am and what I need to work on personally, to achieve both personal and career growth."
Visible Female Leadership: Why is that so important and what have you experienced at Veolia?
Yolanda believes that diversity and inclusion is a strategic objective to ensure gender equality and equal opportunity for all.
"Veolia is creating a focus on Women In Leadership through various programs such as WE-DO, and the implementation of the Women in Leadership development program. Internal and external promotion of these activities, and specifically,exposure to current Women in Leadership positions within the group will serve as a motivation to others to follow their dreams, develop as individuals and achieve their goals."
What is your message for other women looking to develop their career?
You could be the reason someone else has the courage to take that leap. Be a Role Model. Become the Inspiration
Are you curious about where a career at Veolia could take you? Explore our current opportunities today.