Nandi Sibanyoni

Do not second guess yourself, the fact that you thought of it, means you can do it. Go for it and refuse to be told otherwise.

Country of origin

South Africa

Which company do you work for?

Anglo American

What is your specific area of specialisation?

Executive Head of Safety, Health and Environment

How long have you been in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math’s (STEM) fields?

16 Years

As a woman in a male dominated industry, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

I found that I had to work twice as much to prove my capabilities and worth. I often had to prove that I could do the task as good or even better than my male counterparts. I also found that it was not organic in the industry for a female voice to be heard, I had to find ways to make mine heard. One of the other challenges I had to overcome was re-grouping myself and growing a very resilient thick skin after being told straight to my face that I am not good enough.

To overcome all of the above, I had a conversation with myself and in that process, I became honest with myself in acknowledging my weak and strong areas and strived to find the balance on how to complement the two. I wrote down my vision and goals and I started working on them. Lastly, I surrounded myself with great mentors, coaches and sponsors (best decision I ever made).

What inspired you to join this industry?

I joined the industry by chance. I initially started my junior degree in Maths and Statistics, much as I loved it, I was not inspired to wake up and go to class daily. I then researched further, and I realized that I wanted a career that would afford me an opportunity to be outdoors, be a strategic thinker and be in touch with people. It is thus natural for me to be in a SHE space, I am living my dream.

What changes, if any, have you seen with regards to women in your field?

Women are slowly but surely finding their voice and are using it effectively. Most women are learning to build the resilience needed to survive in the STEM field.

How can we attract more women to consider a career in the STEM fields?

We need to share our success stories more. We need to have initiatives that are “girly”. The narrative must always be clear that you can remain as feminine as possible even if you are in the STEM field. We need to make the STEM picture look attractive (work hard and play hard), let the other women see that there is life after our roles.

 

If you were to advise other young women starting their careers in the tech or within the STEM fields, what is the one thing you would say to them?

Do not second guess yourself, the fact that you thought of it, means you can do it. Go for it and refuse to be told otherwise. Find yourself a mentor, coach and a sponsor, you will thank me later.

When not working, what do you do for fun?

If I am not catching up on reality shows (Survivor to be precise) I am reading a book or I am somewhere in the outdoors either walking or indulging in some adrenalin pumping activities. My life outside work is as simple as that.

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