The growth of ANEW Hotels & Resorts has been significant over the past five years and continues even in unprecedented times. ANEW‘s thriving portfolio can be attributed to the brand’s driven, efficient team players comprised of hard-working, dedicated staff who are determined to make it the most thriving hotel group in South Africa. Among the hotel group’s revenue generators are five driven women.
Women’s Month calls for recognition of the efforts of the brand’s trailblazing women, who are a definite driving force behind ANEW‘s success. These ladies are group marketing manager Corné Visser, group revenue manager Jolanda Jordaan, regional sales manager Moiponyana Matshazi, central reservations team leader Caroline Sepheso, and national sales manager Tenielle Pienaar.
These remarkable women stress the importance of leading by example, empowering one another, and having a support system.
According to Corné, women should never be afraid to succeed or ask questions. She says she built her confidence by stepping out of her comfort zone with the help of extra motivation. “It is important to surround yourself with people who support you and your team. My mentor (Alan Campbell, ANEW’s sales & marketing director) pushed me out of my comfort zone, which built my confidence. If a task does not unfold the way you had hoped, learn from the challenges experienced and identify what you can do differently. Women in leadership should take risks and not wait for opportunities, but instead create them. The support from ANEW and my mentor has led me to rise in the ranks, and last year I was promoted to group marketing manager – a role I am incredibly proud of.”
Equipping yourself with knowledge
Adding to this, Jolanda says empowering yourself with knowledge is a driver to success. During her tenure at ANEW, she assisted with the successful integration of 14 hotels onto Opera Cloud. She explains that ANEW was the first company in Africa to work on Opera Cloud, and the current version the team is working on is the first in the world. “My skillset on systems, project management and rebranding (revenue and system related) have improved tremendously. Empower yourself with knowledge within your specific field of expertise. No one can take experience and knowledge from you.”
Since being in a managerial position, Jolanda says she has learnt how to be patient and listen to everyone’s opinion before making an informed decision. Further, she reflects on the importance of identifying burnout, and how to remedy it. She continues, “Regrouping was the best thing that could have happened to me. I realised that work is super important and clear focus should be maintained to reach our goals, but I learnt that one needs to maintain balance – at work and at home. The one should not overshadow the other. Yes, there are times when we need to put in the extra hours, and it is a blessing to be able to do it, but keeping a healthy emotional state and a healthy balance between work and home life is super important.”
The empowerment of female leaders
Moiponyana says demonstrating strength with grace and guidance is what she has learnt during her journey as a regional manager. Adding to women’s empowerment, Moiponyana emphasises that women must never feel inhibited by their gender, but be empowered. “Women should never be afraid to make mistakes, as the learning process makes you stronger. Additionally, they should never hesitate to ask questions. There is enough on the table for us. As a result of working as a team and perseverance, I have learnt to never lose faith in my capabilities. Overcoming adversity has also been a great learning experience for me.”
Furthermore, she encourages women to strive for what they want and have enough passion to go for it. “Women should lead with humility, be of service to each other, and they must not compare themselves to peers. Most importantly, they should demonstrate strength with grace and kindness.”
Caroline agrees with Jolanda about equipping oneself with knowledge and setting a positive example. As a team leader, she says she often holds brainstorming sessions to hear ideas from her team. “My greatest accomplishment is that I continue to learn as a leader, and how to lead by example. This position requires open-mindedness and constant interaction with the team, and new ideas. We need to celebrate and embrace each other as women in leadership.”
Responsibility as national sales leader
As the national sales manager, Tenielle has her hands full. She says she manages two teams – inland and coastal – which she continues to motivate. For her, the growing success behind the business is the transparency of her teams. This is important to her, and having regular sit-down meetings aids in her mentorship role. She encourages her team to tell her what she can do better as a manager, and what support they need from her, as she says this helps build her team.
According to Tenielle, the two teams are responsible for bringing in ANEW’s revenue with impressive targets set per sales executive per month. “When it comes to the teams, always trust and defend your team, no matter what. My team builds my confidence.”
ANEW Hotels & Resorts, as a group, is a brand for its people, by its people. Sales and marketing director Alan Campbell praises the women for their dedication and efforts. “I’m very blessed to work with each one of them. They have an incredible work ethic and are so passionate about the business. I do not doubt that we wouldn’t be where we are today if not for their impact on the business. This goes beyond their outputs in their positions, but the larger culture and ethics of the people who work with them,” he concludes.