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Women In Compressor Technique: Meet Zenda Kleupedersen.

Workshop Manager, Atlas Copco Compressor Technique South Africa

Zenda Kleupederson - Workshop Manager CT SA
“I joined Atlas Copco on 1 April 2014 as a Planner for CTS. This was most certainly not an April fool’s day for me! On the contrary, it was the first day of my successful career at Atlas Copco! Only 4 years later, I was promoted to CTS Workshop and Technician Supervisor, a position I still proudly hold today.

I manage a workshop and a team of 15 Technicians, so my challenges are many but so are my rewards. I control chaos and deliver value as I change between the 40 hats a manager needs to apply to address different situations which can change in an instant: Plan, organise, direct, control, lead, co-ordinate, report, motivate and resolve conflict. Not forgetting to wear the all-important communications hat to be able to converse with employees, customers, suppliers and management. I also must encourage, inspire, innovate, implement, schedule, measure and standardise so my work is certainly cut out for me. Why do I want to do this? The answer is quite simple: I want to make a difference.

Apart from my work experienced gained prior to starting at Atlas Copco, my background in art (Diploma in Graphic design) has taught me some important skills that I find useful in my daily life. Being creative and innovative gives me the ability to solve problems and think outside the box; the perseverance to keep on going despite the obstacles ahead; the focus and discipline to reach deadlines and goals and the ability to observe people and things around me.

I can say without any hesitation that the most rewarding part of my job is working with my team and seeing them develop. Employees are our most important customers because they can provide crucial insights into the overall customer experience and efficiency in the workplace. Without their input we would be operating in an ivory tower. Where once you defined success through your own accomplishments you now measure it through the growth of your employees. Your employees look to you to frame things credibly, helpfully, and yes, inspirationally. This is when your coaching, feedback and mentoring pay off as your team members reach their goals and organisational goals. You set standards, evaluate performance and values, and celebrate wins. You get the satisfaction of watching them do the right thing, time and again. It’s a great feeling! While keeping an eye on today’s work, you focus on the bigger picture. What’s next? What’s better? What do customers want and how do we deliver it? Then you help turn the strategy into action. There’s satisfaction in building a playbook and positioning your team for wins.

It takes strong leadership to achieve success and wins. I believe that women in general are transformational leaders. In addition to accomplishing organisational goals, leadership for women is also about transforming their employees into better people. We inspire our teams and spend time on coaching, and we push people to be their best. I care about my team’s personal development as it builds their confidence. I emphasise teamwork and authentic communication as a key to success. In the end we all achieve the same organisational goals; women just take a different approach. I think good leadership is best summed up by this quote from Sherly Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook: ‘Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure their impact lasts in your absence”.

Every career has a ladder to climb. I have set goals and I’m humble enough to learn from those who have gone before me. By combining my efforts, visions and advice from my mentors I will climb the ladder as high as it will take me. I’m also furthering my education and currently I am busy with a Higher Certificate in Business Management.

One afternoon we debated the technical skills of a woman versus a man. In the middle of this conversation one of my customers replied to an earlier email we sent requesting information about his compressor. His reply to our question on the compressor’s current running hours was: ‘7am to 5pm Monday to Friday’! This concluded the conversation - woman or man. I believe that we all have our own skills sets and here gender makes no difference. The difference comes in the way we approach things. Whether you call it a bearing and I call it the round thing that does 1, 2 and 3, it’s still the same thing isn’t it?

I would like to wrap up with a special message for all my colleagues: Remember the time you spend in your job is not what is valuable. What is worthwhile is that your time has been spent on a good cause and it has born good fruits. Take challenges which come your way and never say no to try.”

Favourite Quote

“You must do the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Zenda's Fun Facts:

Zenda is married and has 3 daughters
Birthday: 27 October
Star sign: Scorpio.
Hobbies: Painting and reading
Favourite food: Pasta dishes
Favourite novel: Books by Danielle Steel
Favourite movie: Cool Runnings
Favourite TV Programmes: Suits, Pearson’s and Documentaries