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Sea Harvest’s strong female cohorts

As Women’s Month draws to a close one local employer is celebrating its female employees.

Sea Harvest has around 1 300 women working at the Saldanha plant, and is looking to helping these women (and men) with their development.

Through support programmes Sea Harvest strives to help its female workforce, such as wellness, holiday programmes for school going children and parental workshops.

Meet some of the wonderful women working within the company:

Simone Gounden is the company’s Strategic Services Manager and a Director at the South African Fisheries Development Fund, which is co-funded by Sea Harvest.

She completed her Bachelor of Laws degree in 2012 at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and is an admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa as well as a member of the Maritime Law Association of South Africa. Gounden’s motivation to succeed is driven by her goal to continuously evolve and acquire knowledge.

“I am appreciative of the support and encouragement Sea Harvest has provided me with in attaining my goals, which has included funding my completion of two university courses in Financial Management and Commercial and Contract Law. My belief is that one has to have confidence in one’s ability, and then be resilient enough to follow through. Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo: You strike the women, you strike the rock,” says Simone.

Chipo Machiri holds the position of Management Information Sytems (MIS) Manager at Sea Harvest, with a Master of Commerce and Honours degree in Information Systems from Rhodes University. She explains she arrived at Sea Harvest in June 2018 as a graduate intern with no clue of what the industry was like. “However, I have been able to grow and learn a lot,” Machiri says. “Many say the fishing industry is dynamic. I believe that defines my time at Sea Harvest – constant change and progress. Regardless of the fact that the fishing industry is male dominated, Sea Harvest is an inclusive environment that realises the potential of women as catalysts for growth and change.”

Nelita Coetzee, Quality Systems Manager, says: “Five years ago I started working as a contract quality control technologist at another company after completing a national diploma in food technology. I secured a position elsewhere afterwards before joining Sea Harvest as a microbiologist, and within a relatively short space of time was promoted to my current position.

“Sea Harvest has given me the opportunity to set an example for my daughter, who’s only 2, so she can know one’s possibilities as a woman are endless.”

One of two female Shift Factory Managers in Sea Harvest’s Fresh Fish Operations (FFO), Gillian Felaar, has worked in the fishing industry for 15 years. “What motivates me to succeed is my passion for my work,” she says.

“I feel powerful when I am able to resolve issues at work – and providing for my family, so that they don’t need to ask for anything because I know how it felt wanting things as a child that my parents couldn’t afford. To me, my mother is the strongest woman on earth who did everything in her power to provide for her children. She is my role-model, my woman of strength.”

Idolene Moses, also a Shift Factory Manager, was one of several women who recently completed a Sea Harvest-funded Management Development Programme. She joined the company seven years ago and says her experience as a woman working in the fishing industry has been positive.

“The roles I have occupied have not, traditionally, been held by women,” Moses says, “but I have succeeded due to the great support from my managers and mentors and determination from my side.

“I believe that as a woman I bring more compassion and empathy to the role as factory manager, and I would like to encourage other women to be true to themselves and live their best life now. Don’t let being a woman stand in your way of succeeding in life.”

Group Company Secretary and Legal Advisor Nondumiso Seshoka says, her motivation comes from knowing there were women who came before her who fought hard to enable her to occupy the spaces she currently does.

“I owe it to those women to take advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to me by showing up, working hard and ensuring I lift other women as I rise. There is more than enough space for all us at the table, and it is up to all of us to create an environment that is conducive to the advancement of women, especially in those spaces where women are still perceived as less than men.”

Terence Brown, Sea Harvest Operations Director, says supporting the company’s female employees is important to the company.

“As an organisation we are cognisant of the many hats women wear, and the fact that some are single parents, so we consciously strive to support our women,” he says. “This includes ensuring they have opportunities for career growth and skills development. We are proud to have some really inspiring women working in our company.”

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