It’s Woman’s Month this August and in honour of all the independent ladies out there, we are featuring some wonderful women who continue to make KFC great, every day.As promised, below is an interview with the next lovely lady in our Woman of KFC blog series, our Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Akhona Qengqe. We wanted to find out more about what it means being a woman in a leadership position...
Q1. What are the opportunities for females within the QSR industry?
The QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) industry offers women many opportunities ranging from very technical roles including food technology, accounting, construction and finance to people-related roles such as HR etc. The opportunities are endless and it really boils down to the type of career one wants to build.
Q2. What are some of the challenges, if any, that you have faced as a woman in leadership?
The biggest challenge for me as a woman, is having to constantly prove that I can do the job as well as anyone else. I think with men, people tend to look at them and immediately have the confidence that they are capable, and for women it’s the complete opposite.
Q3. What unique strengths/qualities do you think women bring to leadership positions?
Women, I find, are generally more intuitive and perceptive - which heightens our sense of self awareness and makes us good leaders. Our adaptability also enables us to lead different types of people uniquely, without getting frustrated. Our nurturing nature, also allows us to bring out the best in people. Lastly, we are effective both as leaders and team players, because we generally believe that when one succeeds, we all succeed.
Q4. Some of the key learnings that you have had in your career thus far?
Don't ever be afraid to say ‘no’ to a role where you feel that the organisation's values and culture are not aligned with your own - no matter how tempting it is.
Additionally, do not ever leave a job disgruntled, instead, leave when you are at your happiest and most successful. And lastly, always ask for help if you feel you need it, help sometimes comes in the most unexpected of places.
Q5. Any words of wisdom that you would impart onto other females looking to grow into leadership positions?
You miss a 100% of the chances you don't take. As an aspiring leader you must be willing to take chances, even taking roles that might take you out of your traditional or chosen career path - it's the best way to build a holistic business acumen and it ensures that you are learning all the time. The more you learn, the quicker you grow. And lastly, your career is in your hands and not someone else's, so take responsibility for your own development, whatever that may look like for you.
Big ups Akhona! Thank you for all your awesome work – we are truly lucky to have someone as inspiring as you on our team. Make sure you watch this space on August 12th for the next blog post, when we feature the unstoppable Sharon Naidoo.
Until then, we hope you’re making some noise this August for the great ladies who made you who you are today. Stay fierce!
Missed Part 1? Check it out - we featured Felicity Mokoena of KFC.