The international HR leader reflects on her 20-year HR career and turning 40.
Njabulo Mashigo, Vodacom’s HR director, says 2022 is a special year for her, personally and professionally.
“I am 20 years into my HR career and I am so proud of what it has become. I also turn 40 and I am so happy when I reflect on my life. That’s all I ever wanted to be – truly, genuinely happy,” she says.
Njabulo, who was born in Alexandra township and raised in Soweto and on the East Rand, says she represents the dreams of many South African township children and she hopes that through her and many others like her, they can know and see that anything and everything is possible.
“When I was on my last assignment in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, all my personal images always had the hashtag #AlextoA’dam because it was my reminder that a girl like me could be there. and anywhere I truly wanted to be.”
She shares the following “biggest” lessons, including her challenges and things that drive her.
Choices and Intention
“It’s important to show up over and over even when it’s not ‘seen’ or appreciated. It all adds up in the end. Be intentional about the contribution you are there to make. ‘Stuff’ always happens and you have to choose to show up differently, excellently. I am so glad, especially for the choices I made in my 20s and 30s. I truly believe they changed the trajectory of my life.”
Inclusion and Belonging
“Sadly in 2022 we still see many leaders who cannot differentiate between diversity and inclusion. Lots of diversity now exists in many spaces/organisations, but is there true inclusion?
“Growing up in corporate South Africa and international organisations, ‘gravitas’ looked (and still does in some spaces) like white old men and being a young black female felt like a big ‘oops’.”
She says it is important for senior leaders to make it their business to be intentional about creating spaces where everyone can fully show up.
“Lastly, my message to members of minority/under-represented groups who are tired of this inclusion saga, I always borrow the words I first heard from Nene Molefi: “When we are tired, we rest, but we never ever give up.” Because indeed, to be seen and truly welcome is the biggest gift, to allow all to do their best work.”