Public Sector Manager - - WOMEN IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR -

Por­tia Nondo leads with a con­fi­dent, metic­u­lous yet easy stride as she steps into her Mc­Don­ald’s Boks­burg restau­rant on a busy Fri­day. This was the sec­ond of her restau­rants. Ger­mis­ton, her first of five, all in Ekurhu­leni, pre­sented a shock for her when it opened in 2007 in­clud­ing field­ing calls from cus­tomers in the small hours of the morn­ing and not get­ting a fa­mil­iar cor­po­rate salary for months on end. Fast for­ward to 2018: Por­tia is ful­filled that through her busi­ness, which em­ploys about 220 peo­ple, she’s also able to en­gage with her com­mu­nity to assist dis­ad­van­taged school chil­dren with their ed­u­ca­tion. She has come a long way, but she po­litely de­fers to her team when the topic of suc­cess comes up. Her busi­ness jour­ney has ex­pe­ri­enced many chal­leng­ing mo­ments. “It is dur­ing tough times like these that a strong brand like Mc­Don­ald’s makes it eas­ier to ap­proach the banks for as­sis­tance and that a part­ner­ship re­la­tion­ship with the Fran­chisor does and can make all the dif­fer­ence,” as­serts this for­mer banker who amaz­ingly opened a quin­tet of Mc­Don­ald’s restau­rants – in­clud­ing those in Vosloorus, Parkrand and Sun­ward Park – over a seven year pe­riod. “I have not ex­panded in num­ber of restau­rants in the past 4 years be­cause I be­lieve it is im­por­tant to pause and con­sol­i­date your busi­ness. This al­lows for the em­bed­ding of op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cien­cies which leads to or­ganic growth. You need to stop and check whether ev­ery­one on your team is still on the same page as you em­bed your cul­ture. I don’t take a sin­gle em­ployee for granted,” the al­tru­is­tic fran­chisee says, cred­it­ing her staff for their ef­fort. She is awake to their of­ten-tough back­grounds. “I would like them to use their time here to har­ness what they can achieve and to break the vi­cious so­cial cy­cles that hin­der their per­sonal and pro­fes­sional growth.” Her ed­u­ca­tion-fo­cused com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive, which works with the De­part­ment of Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion, fol­lows sim­i­lar prin­ci­ples. It has a net­work of pri­mary schools in Katle­hong, Thokoza and Vosloorus and touches the lives of 200 chil­dren each year. Por­tia tran­si­tioned to en­trepreneur­ship from an il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer in bank­ing where she ended on a high note as a Divi­sional Di­rec­tor. Her re­mit in­cluded debt fi­nanc­ing for black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment, merg­ers and ac­qui­si­tions fi­nanc­ing in the Busi­ness Bank­ing space, and fran­chise fi­nanc­ing. “While I was in the fran­chise space [in 2004], I started work­ing with big cor­po­ra­tions like Mc­Don­ald’s and Pick ’n Pay that had fran­chises, and I picked up in­sights.

I got to un­der­stand their busi­ness models,” she says. Al­ready armed with an MBA and a de­gree in In­dus­trial Chem­i­cal Engi­neer­ing, she started plan­ning her next move. “Par­al­lel to that role and ac­quir­ing new skills, I had started get­ting this nig­gling feel­ing to do some­thing on my own. I knew I didn’t want to be in the cor­po­rate world for­ever.” Por­tia sought an en­tre­pre­neur­ial path that would let her ap­ply her cor­po­rate and aca­demic skills while lever­ag­ing her per­sonal strengths. “I wanted an es­tab­lished busi­ness since I am not a green-fields kind of en­tre­pre­neur. Af­ter a pe­riod of re­flec­tion, I fig­ured that fran­chis­ing would be per­fect. I was fa­mil­iar and com­fort­able with the Mc­Don­ald’s brand and its val­ues,” she ex­plains. It took loads of de­ter­mi­na­tion to get in the door and to, even­tu­ally, get things mov­ing in 2006. But first she gave up her cushy job, fat in­come and com­fort­able life­style. “I am grate­ful for the four years of fi­nan­cial pre-plan­ning, this is what sus­tained me in the first years of grow­ing and de­vel­op­ing my busi­ness,” says the ever-scrupu­lous Nondo. You need to stop and check whether ev­ery­one on your team is still on the same page, as you em­bed your cul­ture. I don’t take a sin­gle em­ployee

for granted.

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