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The women behind WestProp success story

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STAFF WRITER

 

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As Women’s Month begins tomorrow, a lot has been said about how WestProp Holdings has become a success story but little has been said about the women behind the success story.

While the women at the property development firm might have shared dreams of owning houses they never imagined they would work for the most successful real estate company in Zimbabwe.

In separate interviews they gave insights of how they have managed to stay afloat in this cut-throat business driven by passion and vision.

The company, officials said, has a deliberate recruitment policy promoting equity and equality of both men and women.

Five women sit in the WestProp C-suite — the decision making body outside the board.

The five are Mrs Tatiana Ellis, Mrs Joanna Sharpe, Ms Marilyn Mosha, Ms Tatiana Sharpe and Mrs Kerry Leigh-Meikle.

Their departments have other powerful women leading sections driving the company’s heart and soul.

Company CEO is Mr Ken Sharpe and below him is the multiple award- winning and investor chief operating officer Mrs Ellis who sits on the WestProp Holdings Ltd board.

“When at work I never realise I am a woman. I just execute the tasks like any other employee at WestProp Holdings.

“The realization only comes when I have to do my womanly duties at home or when I have to use a gender specific facility at work. Our work environment does not segregate according to one’s gender,” she says.

She runs the company’s operations with the agility of an army general and passion of a nurse.

She has vast experience having worked in Ukraine, Dubai and South Africa in different multi-cultural settings.

She is a mother and proud spouse.

Working for WestProp has been one of the most rewarding experiences for Ms Rumbi Madziva,  the finance manager.

“Although my job brief is finance — I find myself dealing with bricks, cement, roofing materials and construction equipment. I have learnt a lot with what goes on in the real estate business.

“I can safely say I have become a financial builder. I now see money in the form of bricks, mortar and built up structures,” she says.

Marilyn Mosha, the chief of sales and marketing is at the top of her game at WestProp.

Having been with the company for five years, she worked hard, learned fast, and built a reputation for being honest, reliable, and professional.

Her choleric personality has helped her to lead a winning team, concluding best deals, negotiating the best terms, and satisfying the most demanding clients.

She is not afraid to take risks, challenge stereotypes, and break barriers.

Another top woman at WestProp is Mrs Joanna Sharpe, the chief of Relations.

She is the typical goal getter — a woman who fears no challenge and always ready to tackle even the most problematic of situations. She traverses the world talking to potential investors and exciting diasporans and foreigners to invest in “beautiful Zimbabwe”.

She is a role model for many women who want to pursue careers in the real estate sector.

She is proud of what she has achieved, but is not complacent, always looking for new opportunities, markets, and ways to grow.

She is not just a real estate agent, she is a real estate mogul.

Besides her sojourn at WestProp Holdings Ltd, Mrs Sharpe is a director at West Group Security company.

One of the C-suite women is Mrs Kerry Leigh-Meikle who enjoys working in the background just like an engine enclosed in the bonnet but making a huge difference to power huge and small automobiles.

She is one of the longest serving employees having joined in 2008 as a personal assistant to the then managing director Mr Michael Van Blerk.

Because of her work ethic and ability to multi-task she later had an added responsibility of being the personal assistant to the founding chairman and now chief executive officer Mr Sharpe.

She soon became a repository of knowledge and experience in the company operations and was upgraded to the ‘C suite’ when the company restructured.

She now works as the chief administration officer reporting directly to Mr Sharpe.

Her biggest asset is “experience and character”.

Ms Zothile Ndhlovu, a trained Civil engineer is the site manager at WestProp construction sites.

She feels the honour and trust bestowed on her in the previously male dominated industry.

Mr Sharpe says the company vision in terms of employment is to experience a 50/50 balance between men and women and to accord the assignees respect and recognition that helps the company to achieve the one billion brick mark by 2050.

“Homes and families are built by men and women. In our company we believe in the joint effort between men and women hence our thrust to strike a balance in populating our employment structures,” he says.

 

 

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