IWD – Bonita Matthee, Learning & Development Partner

Celebrating International Women's Day

Bonita Matthee, Learning & Development Partner

1. Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

As a Mum of a little girl, it is important to celebrate it now so that our daughters don’t have to. I hope that we reach a point where the topic becomes one for the history books, where we teach and share the importance of equality but also how we overcame it to became a society of balance.

International Women's Day - Amy

2. Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

I’m proud to say that my first job, working for an international skincare brand,  was one that was built by women, grown by women, supporting women and one that constantly reminded us of our worth. They taught me to stand up tall and be heard, be present and positively unforgettable. This set a strong foundation for my career to constantly seek equality.

3. What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

Let fear empower you, not stop you. Use fear or any doubts others have of you to empower yourself to prove them wrong. Look fear in the face and say, ‘You don’t scare me.’ Paving your own path is scary, but it’s worth it.

4. What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?

Remember, society and history doesn’t determine your future. We are lucky to be able to share and encourage the careers that no longer have a gender association with them.

5. Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?

The first manger that I reported to, Claudia, she is the most collaborative manger I had the pleasure of working with, the person who treated everyone as equal and never used her title to create a divide or sense of hierarchy, she never forgot where she came from and how tough it was at the bottom. Claudia set a strong foundation of what my vision of leadership has become.

Secondly, my previous manager, Alzira. Alzira is one of the most considerate people as well as one of the most powerful coaches that I have had the pleasure of working with. She has the ability to make each person she works with unlock a world of potential with her skill set and true belief in the power of coaching.  I owe my passion for organisational coaching and ultimately, my career progression to her.

Both women are true examples to ’fixing each other’s crowns’.

6. Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Being born and raised in South Africa, I know all too well what the impact exclusion and segregation can have on people. Working in the HR department, we have to ensure that people never feel the impact of history. We also need to understand the value of working with different people, the more we learn about people, culture, countries and beliefs, the more enriched our minds, our team and our companies become.

7. How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?

Firstly, you need to eliminate any limiting beliefs that you currently have. We are often our own worst enemy when it comes to progressing ourselves. So often the limiting beliefs take over our thoughts ‘ I’m not good enough’, ‘ I will probably fail’, ‘It’s probably not the right time for me’. You need to be ready to let go of and clear the limiting beliefs that keep you off your best path and replace them with supportive ones.

8. If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Michele Obama – Michele is an activist for equal rights and it would be great to hear from her what she thinks we need to start changing to support the future of our children.

Nina Simone – I love her music, the presence and power that her voice brought in both music and her fight against racial and social disclosure.

Nigella Lawson – Firstly because I am a real foodie, but also because she built an empire on her love of food,  feeding people, and choosing to indulge in the food that makes you happy – something we were made to feel guilty about. I also just want to hear her say “ micro-wavé”.