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Blazing a trail in construction and project management

Nomvula Rakolote, CEO of the Association of Construction Project Managers (ACPM), works closely with Profica CEO Tim White and Senior Project Manager Godfrey Ajusi– both ACPM board members. Dynamic and resilient, she has worked hard to transform the landscape of professionals who register within the project and construction management disciplines for the past 9 years. Her inspiration? “Go where there is no path and leave a trail” Ralph Waldo Emerson

1.    What drives you to get up in the morning?
I am a firm believer of continually having to set new targets and goals in order to not lean on past achievements, nor bask in the glow of other’s achievements. I firmly believe that an individual’s status should always be current.
 
2.    How would your colleagues best describe you?
“The great strides she has taken in her life are by no means a coincidence, but a consequence of great vision and planning. Her gift of motivating not only herself but her children and co-workers, speaks volumes of this dynamo of energy and enthusiasm.”  
 
3.    What do you most love about what you do?
The flexible work schedule and my decisive leaders who are EXCO Members of the ACPM. Most of all, the opportunity to be an industry thought leader who is passionate about growing and transforming the industry through various interactions, including mentoring young professionals entering the industry. 
I cherish youth development and gender equality as critical areas to be addressed in the construction industry, which is still lagging in these transformation areas. Getting this right is crucial in order to positively contribute to the national imperatives. 
 
4.    What are some of the challenges you face working in a male-dominated industry?
I believe one can experience challenges irrespective of the industry you work in. 
In what I do, I find there is not a single moment where I cringe in a corner and feel sorry for myself, or interpret every challenge that comes as being associated with the fact that I am a woman in a male-dominated industry. In fact, it’s the opposite! I love what I do and the men are very supportive, encouraging and willing to lend a helping hand. I believe that things happen more easily when you place everything in God’s hands, so everything happens as a result of divine intervention. 
 
5.    What advice would you give to other young women that want to be in this industry?
‘Our mistakes don’t limit us; only our fears do when we go through this unpredictable journey called life.’ Therefore, embrace each day, as every day we get a chance to do and to be who we were destined to become.

6.    What would you like to see women do more of in your industry?
I would like to see women increasing their active participation in the built environment and construction sites, and more women-led businesses thriving in the construction industry. In addition, re-skilling should be a priority given the dawn of the 4IR. 
 
7.    What has your experience been working with Profica?
Profica is a home away from home. I love the family-like organisational culture that is contagious to every person that walks through the doors of their office. What fascinates me is the focus on the continual growth of the company, with a footprint that now extends beyond the borders of Africa. In addition, the development and mentoring of young professionals, nurturing and “ doing things together”  It would be remiss of me to leave out the good coffee and hospitality!