By Charndré Emma Kippie
For Annelie Kruger, landing a spot in the automotive industry was by chance, but regardless of how she entered the booming sector, Annelie believes it’s where she is meant to be.
Today, with more than 21 years behind her, Annelie is the Managing Director of Carty Carvenience, in Garsfontein, a member of the South African Motor Body Repairers’ Association (SAMBRA) and a proud Association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).
What got you into the field you’re currently in?
I believe that it’s God’s plan for me and he prepared me for this in previous careers. I am a teacher at heart and practiced between 1984 -1988. I was then involved in market research for Nissan for two years and this then led to my passion for the automotive sector. The energy and constant change in this industry that I came to know during my employment at Nissan really inspired me so when my husband shared his vision to combine a Car Wash & Valet centre with Dent Repairs it was a done deal and this led to the birth of Carty Carvenience in March 2000 – a first for SA at that time.
What excites you the most about your role?
Being part of the difference that the opportunity of employment and growth makes within a person’s career. To offer opportunities for growth and to see people learn, grow and advance into new and better opportunities and/or job positions – some within the company, some achieving qualification in the Panel Beating and Spray-Painting Trade, others in new job opportunities with other companies and some that started their own businesses. I enjoy keeping in touch with all – it lights up my day to get a visit from ex-employees and to have them as friends and customers.
Then there are also our loyal customers and the privilege to be of service to them. Without the interaction with the Carty team and Carty customers, the passion for cars wouldn’t have been enough.
In what ways do you think your organisation/business is enhancing the South African economy?
We are a member of the South African Motor Body Repairers Association (SAMBRA), which is a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation and over the years we have offered employment to between 20 and 46 people annually and in this way supported them and their families (and sometimes extended families).
In supporting employees to qualify in the trades (in total 4 with 2 additional apprentices to soon qualify) and in doing so open a world of job opportunities to them.
With regular and thorough cleaning and with Dent & Scratch repairs, we maintain the value of vehicles, increase the resale value, fit new parts, and buy automotive paint and related products which supports many other businesses.
We also support other small one-man businesses like the person who collects and recycles the dirty thinners, the rubbish removal company, the chemical/detergent supplier, the company that supplies uniforms and protective clothing, printing of job-cards and marketing material and a few more! It is so key for small businesses to support other small businesses.
What are your top 3 tips for ensuring the success of women in your field?
- We need to involve / promote the opportunities to qualify in the trades of Panel Beating and Spray Painting to women as well . I don’t believe this is a career path only for men. We also need to encourage business education – there are many opportunities and women need to be open to these. We are generally strong at building network relationships, and these need to start with SAMBRA, and extend to Insurance companies, Brokers, your customers, and your suppliers.
- Stay true to yourself.
- Make sure to have a good support system at work with your team (employ well), at home and most important for your kids.
What have been some major obstacles in your career, as a woman, and how did you overcome them?
- To balance family life and business. You need a strong team to overcome this. Building a strong team that you can rely on and can give you time away from business with your family
- To “convince” men that you understand/know what is involved in the repair of damages to vehicles. Overcome this by being eager to learn, by being involved and observing processes and reading/learning as much as you can. Then you can talk with authority on the matter. Always great to give advice and recommendations.
- To keep emotion out of the business. I overcome this in faith and with the support of my husband, children, and friends/family.
What are your goals for the future?
I’d love to help start-ups in the industry as I am passionate about empowering people with new skills and qualifications.
What advice do you have for young women entrepreneurs who aspire to work in your field?
- Learn as much as you can about the trade and about business – never stop learning
- Be passionate and show it
- Belong! Become an active member of SAMBRA and of a network organisation(s) such as BNI. Also get to know the industry leaders.
- Be true to yourself and do business always in an honest way.
Do you have a special message for women across South Africa as we celebrate Women’s Month?
A small action today, with or without your knowledge, can have a huge impact in the life of someone else. Guard your heart and your beliefs and be cognitive of your actions and your words.
*For more, check out our bumper 16th edition of the Standard Bank Top Women Leaders publication on Issuu – Digital Publishing Platform – here.
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