Being a woman engineer can often be challenging in Africa, and for many young aspirant women engineers, it can be a hard industry sector to break into. One enterprising woman entrepreneur is looking to change that. Puleng Pooe has founded Lina Sarah Team, a specialist recruitment and HR solutions business focused on female engineers.
LoA found out more about this highly focused and specialist business that is set to be a real game-changer in the lives of Africa’s women engineers.
What does your company do?
Lina Sarah Team is a specialist Recruitment & HR Solutions business, and our main focus is on female engineers in Africa. Women are generally underrepresented in leadership roles, with the perceived notion being that there are few available women with the relevant expertise and with the specialized skills to take up demanding roles. This perception is further propagated in historically male dominated industries and professions such as engineering. The misconception of there being a lack of highly skilled women in specialized fields needs to be obliterated by placing a consented focus and effort in the empowerment and advancement of women on the African continent. We need to showcase Africa as a TALENT HUB for capable and talented women.
African women have a story to tell and therefore we need to give them a platform to showcase their talent, capability and to give them a voice.
"Women are generally underrepresented in leadership roles, with the perceived notion being that there are few available women with the relevant expertise and with the specialized skills to take up demanding roles."
What inspired you to start your company?
I worked for a number of years for a multinational. I have seen how the females in that discipline were overlooked for certain roles. Further to that, I hear from other organizations equally complaining about the lack of women in the field. Yes it’s true, there are not so many - however, the question needs to be asked as to what is being done to empower those in the field and retain them? How do we build a platform that would encourage young girls to join these industry sectors. What stories are we telling about the minority situation in this field?
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I am an experienced manager with a specialist pedigree in Strategic Human Resources Management, Recruitment and Organisational Development. I have a combined 15 years HR and Customer Services experience in the Financial Services and Manufacturing industries. I also have a strong background and collective experience in numerous aspects of HR Management from a top level strategic planning and operational background. I have a traceable track record in developing and implementing appropriate HR strategies and policies that motivate and retain critical and scarce skills. I have hands-on experience monitoring change management initiatives, designing, implementing and monitoring organizational development initiatives. I offer a combination of strategy development and execution, recruitment and selection, performance management, change management, talent management, succession planning, and employee engagement. At Lina Sarah Team, we do not push CVs but offer integrated HR Solutions.
"African women have a story to tell and therefore we need to give them a platform to showcase their talent, capability and to give them a voice."
Tell us a little about your team
Lina Sarah team is made up of the founding member and two interns. It is the founder’s vision, to develop, empower and coach future leaders for success, while creating jobs and hands-on experience for the unemployed.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
It is important as a start-up to be able to clearly define exactly what one wants to achieve - to go out there and acquire specialized knowledge. Do not be tolerant of indifference, do not easily compromise on what you believe in, rather meet the opposition and be able to fight for what you believe in. I have also learned that it is easy to quit at the first sign of defeat because of all the work you have put in. I have seen and learned that entrepreneurship is not an event, it is a journey. You need willpower and a burning desire to succeed. Some will understand your business idea, some might not, and promising business deals may collapse at the eleventh hour. As people, we are often ready to throw our aims and purpose overboard and give up at the first sign of opposition.Therefore, PERSISTENCE is essential on your entrepreneurial journeys. Get yourself a mentor right from the start. This has certainly been of huge benefit for me from a support and sounding board perspective. I believe that I have always been a corporate entrepreneur, there is no single position that I have held in the past that did not require me building it from the start.
"It is important as a start-up to be able to clearly define exactly what one wants to achieve - to go out there and acquire specialized knowledge."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
Developing an interactive career networking platform for Women Engineers in Africa. The platform would be used for building the portfolios for the community members. The platform would also be used for women to share experiences and knowledge in the workplace. We intend to use the platform to showcase the talent in Africa, to find exchange programmes, mentors and career development opportunities for the women engineers in Africa. Our aim to to make sure that women engineers are ready to step into leadership roles.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Changing and impacting people's lives in a positive way and getting positive feedback from our client companies.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Never entertain the habit of wishing instead of being willing to roll up your sleeves and put in the hours and work. Have FAITH, it is a starting point for achieving your goals, and FAITH is the only known antidote for FAILURE!
Contact or follow Lina Sarah Team
Why LoA loves it….
At LoA, we love those women entrepreneurs who look to help others to break into traditionally male-dominated industry sectors and make their mark. Puleng Pooe, founder of Lina Sarah Team, is on a mission to create opportunities for aspirant and existing women engineers to fulfill their potential in Africa and to genuinely break into one of the toughest industry sectors. She is making her own vision real and in the process positively changing the lives of so many other women like her. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa