Marcia Mayaba, Franchise Executive Barloworld Motor Retail
Marcia is the first black female to be Franchise Executive Ford and Mazda, a first for Barloworld and a first in the South African Motor Industry
Marcia recently did an interview on Metro FM. This is how the conversation went:
“My journey in the motor industry was just by coincidence. I was minding my own business, studying my BA Law Degree at Wits and life happened. My mom passed away and all of a sudden I had these two siblings to look after. I needed to find employment so off I went on this journey. The doors were pretty much closed. No experience, no degree, no particular qualification. My journey led me to knock on the Barloworld door. It is quite ironic, it is my second time working for Barloworld, Barlow Bam Truck Hires. So I knocked on their door and without any experience, just a young girl looking for an opportunity. Mine was a pity experience. And they said to me, you got no experience, you got the drive, we like you but you have to be prepared to come in here and do and be whatever we ask you to be. One day, you will be a receptionist, tomorrow you will be a driver, a typist and you will be in operations. I was pretty much a gopher. What made me take the position was that I had two younger sisters that were still at school. I got my lucky break, through two women, Shireen and Karin Copper. They gave me a company car that I needed in terms of shuttling and taking care of my two sisters. The motor industry chose me. I was not a common denominator here. It was in 1997, “here is a young black girl coming into this environment. I thought you know what? I am a necessary distractor in this industry, therefore I have stayed.” 22 years later, I have stayed. The rest is history.
Do you still find being the only one like you?
I think with my recent appointment, it is exactly that. There is still a lot of just me at various levels.
My new boss, when he interviewed me, he shook my hand and said, the new torchbearer of many firsts. I think he gave me the title of my very first book. For every journey and every level of position and responsibility I have held, I have always been the first. But what I like, all of a sudden I am called “Ausi Marcia”. You know I started at the age of 23, ladies and gentlemen coming into our industry are calling me “Ausi Marcia”. It is great to see how the motor industry has evolved and it is shifting and it is awesome to be a part of it. I am very passionate about the youth that is coming into the business. For me, it is no longer about the career, it is about purpose. I have a saying that says “my legacy should be, and I made it better than the way I found it”. I make time for young people. They call when they go for interviews.
What was the hardest thing you had to adjust to (as a female)?
I am 45 years old this month (July). One of the biggest challenges and it continues till today is the fact that, “Can you do the job?” I sat with one of our senior executives last week. He was giving feedback on the engagements he made on various people about my appointment and the first thing he said “People are saying, do you think she can make it. She is a woman?” And it is 2019. That is the reality. You come in as a woman and the trust factor that you can do the job is questionable. But I have always said, I never stand on rooftops and shout what my abilities and capabilities are. I work very hard. In working very hard, I present and create opportunities for people to train and develop and I am very proud of that. I have always said that any dealership that I have worked at if I work there and I leave, and haven’t given someone an opportunity, whether it is management training, or even at lower levels like the NQF business training for our drivers, technicians, then I would have failed as an ambassador for the motor industry. The work speaks for itself. So I have pretty much shut up, stuck to my lane. Not listen to the noise of what is happening next door and did what I do best and that is to work hard. That is the only way. And that hustle continues and that journey continues. Even now there are naysayers with my position but it is okay. I am going to work hard. My recipe has never failed me over 22 years.
Youth Unemployment -The youth that believes that there are jobs that are beneath them. We have got young management trainees that we have given opportunities to at Barloworld. They come in at a stronger footing because they got a qualification. But the minute they enter our environment, the expectation is “I have now got this qualification, therefore, I am ready to assume a senior role. No better person can mentor and coach these young people because that is where I come from. So sitting them down, pretty much breaking it down for them to say this is where it starts, this is how it looks like. You are much more fortunate. You will not wait to be 45 to be a franchise executive. You might get there by the age of 28. But this is the base. Talking about unemployment, one of the people that I am trying to reach out to is Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi. Not because he is Panyaza but because I share a work ethic with him. The dedication, commitment and the servant leadership that comes with that man is amazing. I want to start going into the schools. People need to know that there is a motor industry. These young kids love cars. How the industry hangs together, they don’t know. To them it is like I am going to one day go there and get a car. There is an opportunity. There is a career. Metro FM has a tagline that says “What’s next, is what matters. I remember going to the airwaves two-three years ago. I resonated with it since then. I think you are referring to Steven Nale who owns the Ford and BMW dealership in Newtown. Clarance Mgadi is in the Eastern Cape. We also have a team in Polokwane that has their ownership. In 2011 when I was appointed, a first black female dealer principal in the country I started enquiring with the manufacturer that appointed me and asked, “What are we doing about ownership?” I still remember looking at these faces. It was like I was talking Greek “Listen Marcia, we are still busy with an appointment pretty much at line management and principal level and you are taking ownership.” It is 2019, and it hasn’t happened yet.