Insights from Sales Manager Kim Coetzee
The concept of gender diversity is not a new one at Rand-Air. However within Atlas Copco, Rand-Air’s global parent company, it has more recently become an area of focus. Within Rand-Air diversity had in fact been practised for many years before it became more commonplace, due to prevailing social, economic and political developments taking place internationally and locally.
“Rand-Air believes in the personal growth and development of individuals by empowering them to be take responsibility for their own careers,” maintains Kim Coetzee, Sales Manager at Rand-Air and a long-standing member of the Rand-Air team.
“An example of this is that we currently have 6 female members within our Sales Team doing further studies (Marketing or similar degrees). Furthermore, we aim to create an inclusive working environment which we believe creates an effective, cross-generational and cross-functional environment which also works across the traditional reporting structure, giving the more junior employees access to the accumulated wisdom of their older, more experienced mentors,” Kim explains.
In addition, Atlas Copco currently has programmes to further enhance gender diversity within the organisation, such as The Female Mentorship Programme. A number of Rand-Air staff have attended and gained invaluable learning and opportunities from networking within the group.
As the current Sales Manager at Rand-Air, having developed herself and her career over the past 18 years in the demanding South African rental industry, and Kim is a great example of female success in an industry which is still very male-dominated.
“Although the sales team at Rand-Air is, and always has been, predominantly female, the rental and industrial sector as a whole is very male-dominated,” she remarks.
“At Rand-Air we are used to a very well-integrated and diverse working environment, and I think this stands us in good stead when we have to liaise with diverse customers in the engineering, industrial and technical fields.
Women in my opinion also tend to do very well in the customer service environment, where high levels of empathy are required in the demanding rental environment – where the ability to find a win/win solution, be flexible and able to compromise, are pivotal to one’s success,” she emphasises.
Kim’s 18 year career path began as an internal sales consultant in Cape Town, learning all aspects of the hire industry. Thereafter, she was a sales representative out on the road, before moving into the Industrial Plant Rental (IPR) side of the business in Johannesburg, where she helped grow the division to its current levels of success.
Some 5 years ago, Kim was promoted to her current position of Sales Manager for Rand-Air in South Africa, where she is responsible for both the Internal and External sales team.
Kim is extremely passionate about the rental industry as a whole, and about Rand-Air, and her team. She believes that the open, consultative and wise environment which GM Louwrens Erasmus at Rand-Air has nurtured goes a long way to creating the happy, successful and motivated working environment which the staff all enjoy today.
“We are challenged on a daily basis, but our opinions are also greatly valued and taken into account, so we know we are all important, as is our contribution to the business,” she enthuses.
Currently completing a Masters Degree in Innovation and Technology, Kim also pays tribute to the fact that within this environment, she has been given the resources and tools to determine her own destiny.
With achievements such as growing a successful IPR division, helping to steer her sales team through a very demanding, recessionary period and still achieve high levels of growth, in addition to her upcoming Masters qualification, Kim is certainly an example to other aspiring women at Rand-Air.
She says that she knows the importance of mentorship, having benefitted from several important industry mentors on her career path, and strives to be an understanding manager who ‘gets’ the importance of work/life balance.
“I know my staff members are all extremely dedicated, and this goes for their lives outside of work too. It is therefore important to acknowledge the need for balance, and to be empathetic and understanding when required. The dedication we receive in return is well worth the effort,” she remarks.
“Ultimately, I am very proud of the team of hardworking female professionals we have within Rand-Air, and of the testimony to sound gender diversity which this is,” she concludes.