Employee Spotlight: Portia Chipaladza-Tobedza, Group Human Resources Manager at Bolux Group (Pty) Ltd.
What is your job title and location?
I am currently employed as the Group Human Resources Manager at Bolux Group (Pty) Ltd., in Botswana – Southern Africa. Bolux Group was established in 1985. We are the largest Maize and Wheat Milling Company in Botswana. Bolux Group is the proud producer of the following products:
A1 Super Maize Meal
Also, Bolux Group has been successfully feeding the nation for over 30 years. The company imports raw materials (maize and wheat grain) from across the globe, and the entire production and packaging process takes place on site in Ramotswa. The company employs over 450 people and runs a 24/7 shift.
How long have you worked for Bolux Group?
I have worked for Bolux Group since June 2001. I started as a Human Resources Officer and was promoted to the position of Human Resources Manager. Then, three years ago I was again promoted to the Executive level of Group Human Resources Manager.
I provide leadership and coordination of the company Human Resources Functions. Reporting to the Managing Director, I oversee the following: Recruitment and Placement, Training and Development, Industrial and Employee Relations and Payroll and Employee Benefits Administration.
What is your history/career path with Bolux Group?
Prior to working for Bolux Group, I worked for PG Industries as a Graduate Management Trainee immediately after graduating from the University of Botswana. Later, I joined Sefalana sa Botswana as a Human Resources Officer.
What do you enjoy most about working for Bolux Group?
I enjoy the depth and complexity of the issues we grapple with on a day-to-day basis. Working for Bolux Group is far better than attending MBA classes. Most of the business scenarios that are taught in business schools play out here, and I’ve been fortunate enough to experience them first hand. Botswana is also my home country, and it is a very peaceful country to reside in.
What’s your favorite story/memory about working for Bolux Group?
My favorite story/memory is when I received my first promotion. I have always dreamt of being a Manager, so when I received a promotion for the first time in 2003 and qualified for some of those interesting perks, I was elated. I remember calling everyone who was important to me and sharing my wonderful news. Also, the people at Bolux Group are very warm and easy to work with.
What important values do you think Bolux Group delivers on?
I think that Bolux Group’s values include:
What surprised you most about your job?
I think what surprised me most is how dynamic the milling industry is. Changes in legislation or in grain prices in the neighboring countries, especially South Africa, often have serious consequences for the business. Another thing that surprised me was how selfless and caring Mr. Pieter van Niekerk has been. There were years when Bolux Group was really struggling for survival, and Mr. van Niekerk went above and beyond for us. He went as far as using his personal resources to ensure that the company would survive, and kept hundreds of people employed as well.
Overall, I am an avid reader, I like to travel and I am an active citizen. But to go more in detail:
In August 2015, I started a unique educational intervention in Secondary Schools called, “THE PORTIA CHIPALADZA – TOBEDZA NATIONAL READERSHIP CAMPAIGN,” after reading Know What Matters, a unique life skills book by a local author, Saidi Mdala. I loved the book so much that I decided to share it with all the students in Secondary Schools, and by the end of May 2018 the PCT Readership Campaign, in partnership with Game Changers, will have benefited 45 Secondary Schools enrolling tens of thousands of learners. Along with many Public Libraries and several Civic Organizations across the country.
The total number of books that I have donated will total 1,337 copies. In 2017, my employer, Bolux Group threw their weight behind the Readership Campaign with 100 copies. They donated the copies to five schools in the Ramotswa area, which is where the company operates from. In continuing the gesture of support for this noble endeavor, Bolux Group contributed towards Game Changers logistics and accommodation for the period they would spend executing phase 3 in May 2018.
I have also invited Bolux Group Marketing Department to partner with the Portia Chipaladza – Tobedza National Readership Campaign, by launching alongside its Phase 3, a creativity competition that will see one of the fifteen beneficiary schools, and one student to win P10,000 and P1,000.00, respectively. The positive testimonies from grateful students, who have read Know What Matters, trickle into our inboxes daily and this keeps us motivated and wanting to do more.
What is your hidden talent? Or something most people don’t know about you?
I am a great story teller and Life Coach. My life itself is a beautiful story of sheer hard work and perseverance. Besides coming from a disadvantaged family background and having two children born out of wedlock before the age of 19, I managed to complete High School, acquired a University Degree, joined the world of work and excelled to the Executive Level.