Bonolo Masilo began her work career at CHEP, a world leader in logistics and supply-chain management. Within six years, she was in a boardroom in London, presenting a proposal to the international leadership of the company.
She’d risen to become an innovation leader, had built a network of contacts that spanned the globe and been identified as one of her organisation’s brightest young talents.
Bonolo has been recognised as a precocious talent from the outset. CHEP started on this journey with her when they awarded her a full bursary for her operations-management studies at the University of Johannesburg, after which she joined the company in 2011 as a graduate trainee.
By 2015, she had risen in the organisation to become an operations supervisor, which kickstarted an interesting journey for her.
“I was probably the first CHEP female supervisor in the country,” says Bonolo. “It’s a male-dominated industry and you need to work a little harder than your peers to be recognised. But it does help you grow, and I emerged from the process stronger as a person and as a professional.”
Enhancing her growing reputation as a future star in her area was Bonolo’s selection for the company’s Bambanani inclusion and diversity project. This groundbreaking program saw the company develop a course that allowed each person to uncover their unconscious biases and address these, in order to make the organisation grow its people and its revenue. She was involved in facilitating 60 workshops across sub-Saharan Africa and develop a great deal from that.
The impact she made on the lives of her colleagues through Bambanani saw Bonolo selected for the CHEP talent development programme (TDP). This was a gilt-edged opportunity to work on a strategic project as part of a global team.
“I was the only staff member from South Africa chosen for the programme,” says Bonolo. “I met so many people, and got to grow my network in the sector, travelling to Spain, France and the UK.”
Bonolo says her involvement in the programme was a highlight of her career.
“I really appreciate CHEP’s commitment to my development and that of everyone in the business,” she says. “To me it is clear why they’re seen as an employer of choice, and have been recognised by organisations like the Top Employers Institute for their exceptional employee offerings.”
Having blazed trails in her industry as a woman and a young person, Bonolo is now seeing her dedication bear fruit. She sees transformation rapidly gaining momentum in her sector, as more women find operations roles.
Bonolo says one of the keys to transformation is to build support networks with other women in the company and the industry. “We need each other. It’s good to have someone to talk to for advice and solidarity. It’s exciting to be making a real difference.”
She sees her future with CHEP, perhaps one day as an Operations manager. “I’ve had great mentorship from women in senior positions and I’m developing my skills, so I can get to the next level. I completed my BTech last year, and I might go for my masters next year. There are so many opportunities in our company.”
She insists that women can continue to make strides into previously male-dominated areas of business. “It’s not as difficult as it may seem. If you’re passionate about what you do, anything is possible.”
Article provided by CHEP.