Jabu Serithi has been promoted to Commercial Director: Key Projects (Gauteng) at GVK-Siya Zama – making her the first female director to be appointed within the company.
Serithi followed her father’s dream and pursued a profession in the construction industry. She began working as a Quantity Surveyor in Training through a bursary programme with one of the major construction companies in the country. Over the course of her career she has been involved in numerous construction projects, ranging from those in the mining/industrial infrastructure sectors to the residential and commercial spheres. Her experience over the years has exposed her to various clients in these areas ranging from mining giants and private developers to members of the public sector.
Originally from Kwa-Zulu Natal, Serithi moved to Johannesburg in 2006 in order to get more exposure in the industry. “Being a woman in this industry, you need to adapt to your environment, otherwise you cannot grow. I felt moving to Gauteng would help me achieve my ambitions in life,” she says.
The 33-year-old mother of two is humbled by her recent promotion. “I consider myself privileged and recognise and look forward to the challenges ahead. My new role means I can be involved in the more strategic commercial processes and business development aspects of our organisation and still have an influence in seeing those plans carried out successfully on the operations side. I can also have far-reaching impacts in terms of being able to upskill people both within our organisation and those that are entering the industry. Simply put, it is about creating a long-lasting effect that lives beyond just myself.” She also aims to reach greater heights in the industry and to play a role in the company’s future growth.
She attributes her success to having her potential recognised and being mentored by the company’s CEO Eben Meyburgh and Group MD Dumisani Madi. “I’m a firm believer that success is not just through one’s hard work. Eben has been fundamental to my growth in the organisation, while Dumi has been a constant source of support and wisdom for me. The industry can benefit from selfless leaders like these. Leaders who want to see the potential in women and young people being fully reached. There is a lot of unrecognised talent in the industry and it needs true commitment from its leaders. I strive to be one of those leaders myself.”
Serithi offers the following advice to other women wanting to attain similar success: “It is possible. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. It also takes some level of self-sacrifice. And if you have a young family like me, a bit of self-forgiveness too, because you will miss a school play or two. But it is essential that you have the support of your family and partner. I am very blessed to have that.”
Serithi adds that she would like to see more women in the industry. “It’s not easy being a mother and a partner, but I wouldn’t want to use it as a crutch or for other women to see their roles at home as an inhibition in any way.”
“I consider myself as being representative of many women out there and therefore it is my responsibility to empower others. This male dominated industry needs more women in it and we’ve got to stay committed. Look out for that mentor, find the support that you need to grow. When you achieve this, it makes reaching those goals possible,” concludes Serithi.