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Stella Mthembu on Talent, Career and People

Stella Mthembu, employed as a Land Reform & CSI Manager in the Sugar and Milling business unit is an example of the worthy investment that RCL FOODS continues to make in inspiring its people to make a positive impact on the business and the communities in which we operate.

Stella began her career at RCL FOODS, then TSB, in 2002 as an Agriculture Training Facilitator tasked with implementing sugar Industry guided training and development programs for the company’s agriculture division as well as small and-medium-scale sugarcane growers in Mpumalanga’s Nkomazi.  She later joined the public sector where she worked with various communities, NPOs, commodity groups and the private sector towards sustainable land reform. She re-joined RCL FOODS in 2014 and is tasked with developing and implementing business strategies and plans with a focus on building stakeholder relations for the purpose of developing sustainable and thriving land reform communities in the RCL FOODS sugar milling areas.

Here’s what Stella had to say about her experience at RCL FOODS so far:

What has been the highlight of your career at RCL FOODS?

One of the highlights of my career at RCL FOODS has been the opportunity to work within a diverse team and for a company with strong values and clear standards of leadership; leadership that focuses on developing its people. I love that I can be myself and that my job connects me and my team with people from all walks of life.

Which RCL FOODS’ value resonates with you the most?

Most definitely ‘respect for people’ resonates with me most.  No matter our differences as people, it is important to maintain a level of respect at all times.  That way, our relationships can be sustainable, resulting in a win-win for all parties involved. .

What’s the one thing you love/ what energizes you to come to RCL FOODS every morning?

They say “the only constant in life is change”. This couldn’t be more true in my line of work!  I’m energized by the fact that there lies new and exciting challenges ahead. The solutions to these challenges and the achieved results will go down in history and will be part of the Nkomazi heritage, one that needs continuous and deliberate strategic management for growth and sustainability.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role and how do you personally navigate through this?

I would have to say that the uncertainty that comes with community unrest, mainly due to the region’s (Nkomazi) high unemployment rate, particularly the youth sector, is one of the most challenging aspects of my role.  In fact it is one of the high business sustainability risk factors.  Global trends show that if a country’s youth is left idle, its development is significantly affected and RCL FOODS, as the major economic contributor in its sugar milling areas, plays a vital role in mitigating this.  The journey ahead will require well calculated moves or strategies, and meaningful stakeholder collaboration will drive our social license to operate.

Congratulations to the Learning & Development Team for providing exceptional and ongoing development opportunities to high-caliber Experienced Hires, like Stella, enabling us to grow and develop business leaders and make more impact on our business and the communities in which we operate.

We wish Stella all the best in her career with us!