Leoné Odendaal

Human Resources Manager at InnoVent Rental and Asset Management Solutions (Pty)Ltd

Since 2020, Leone has been heading up InnoVent’s partnership with Progression, focussing on learnerships for people with disabilities.

  • Why do you think Women’s Day is important?

I grew up in an era where a woman’s opinion did not count, and women were silenced. Although that was the era, I grew up with a voice in our home and I was encouraged to speak up, form my own opinions, take a stance, defend my opinions, and have a voice even if it is contrary to the voice of the majority.  I was encouraged to not let my gender be a hinderance but for it to be my strength.  I come from a long line of strong independent women who stood up for injustices and who left a legacy for each generation of women after them.  Women’s Day reminds me of how far we have come as a gender and how strong we are.  It also reminds me that we still have some work to do for future generations.

  • How can the lives of women be improved in South Africa?

Early childhood education, and education in general, is something that is dear to me.  Having the right structures in place and focussing on the things that matter, creates good well-adjusted adults who will be able to make a positive contribution to society.  As moms and future moms, it is our responsibility to teach boys and girls to respect and treat people the way you would want to be treated.  As women, we need to lay that foundation within the first 5 years of a child’s life.  This way, we are creating a better future, not only for females but for everyone.

  • As a woman in the corporate world, what are some of the challenges you have had to deal with in your journey?

I had to deal with sexism, ageism, and blatant questioning about my abilities purely based on my gender.  I needed to work harder to prove my worth and to be seen.  I had to watch my words in meetings or rephrase things to fit in with the picture that corporates have of a female manager not being too strong and assertive while at the same time not being a pushover.

  • What advice would you give to other women who want to be successful?

My advice would be to stay true to yourself and your values. Do not change who you are to fit into a workplace or in life.  Be the leader you aspire to be and never lose your voice.  Stand up for what is right, even if it means you stand alone.

SHEroes at Work

“The circles of women around us weave invisible nets of love that carry us when we are weak and sing with us when we are strong”
~Sark