In a country that was once marked by a scarcity of black female leaders, Phindi Mthambama stands as a beacon of determination and empowerment. Her remarkable journey from a temporary role at South African Breweries (SAB) at the age of 21 to the pinnacle of success as the first black female director of brewing, is a testament to the power of persistence and vision.
Mthambama’s story reminds us that even the smallest of beginnings can lead to monumental achievements. Her unwavering commitment, tireless work ethic, and relentless pursuit of excellence began to carve a path that would eventually redefine the boundaries of possibility.
Starting as a laboratory technician, her can-do attitude and unyielding spirit earned her a permanent position and soon saw her becoming one of the first women to join the shift work as a brewing operator.
Onwards and upwards
Her ascent continued as she was promoted to brewing team leader, a testament to her innate leadership potential. With each step, she defied norms and expectations, proving that talent knows no gender or background.
As she continued her journey, Mthambama’s trajectory only soared higher. From brewing area manager to quality manager, she demonstrated not only her personal growth but also her ability to foster growth within her teams. Her collaborative approach to problem-solving not only showcased her leadership but also created a supportive environment for her peers.
The years rolled on, and in 2016, she assumed the role of brewing manager at the Rosslyn plant, then at the Alrode plant in 2017. These experiences taught her the value of teamwork and the importance of collective efforts in achieving greatness.
Her career journey took a further leap in 2019 when she joined AB-InBev Africa as the Africa VPO specialist, subsequently ascending to the position of Africa VPO manager. Today, she proudly holds the esteemed title of Africa brewing and quality director.
With over two decades of accomplishments under her belt, she reflects on her journey with gratitude for the opportunities unlocked through hard work, collaboration, and the support of mentors and allies.
Balancing her demanding career with her roles as a wife and mother of two, Mthambama shattered stereotypes while achieving academic excellence. Holding qualifications in engineering, management, and brewing, along with several leadership certificates, she radiates the essence of a multifaceted leader.
Not content with personal success alone, she embraces the responsibility to empower those around her. She envisions a future where mentorship, equity, and opportunities lead to a wave of transformation. Her belief in extending a helping hand to fellow female leaders, and guiding them toward success, epitomises her commitment to creating positive change.
Paving the way
Reflecting on her journey, Mthambama offers sage advice: “As leaders, we must ensure that we hold the ladder tight for others to climb up alongside us.” Her life’s work has not only shattered glass ceilings but has also paved the way for countless others to follow in her footsteps.
Mthambama’s story is not just about beer; it’s about breaking barriers, challenging norms, and championing a future of inclusivity and achievement. Her journey stands as an inspiring testament to the heights that can be reached with determination, hard work, and a heart set on uplifting those around us.
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