Women in Manufacturing: Getting to know Nerissa Jalim

Nerissa Jalim, Financial Controller at Aveng Manufacturing, has for a significant portion of her career worked in the logistics and manufacturing sector, an industry largely dominated by men. Through her daily interactions with her colleagues she has learnt that men are less complicated than women but have very different management styles.

Nerissa explains: “What you see is what you get. A man’s approach can be harsh and abrupt at times, but I have learnt to not take it personally. We are all employed for a common goal and we should not be overly sensitive to the delivery of a colleague’s instruction, but rather get on with the task at hand to the best of our ability. Men and women have different management styles and understanding different personalities can be an added advantage.”

Nerissa’s success in this industry can be attributed to perseverance. “My career progression has been a journey that has taken strength and character,” says Nerissa. “Women in today’s business world need to be headstrong, disciplined and willing to work hard to materialise their ambitions.”

Her advice to other women is to set goals and go out and make them happen. “Always remain true to yourself and don’t compromise on your values or opinions just to fit in - be your authentic self. Own your job and position and do it to the best of your ability.”

“Stand out by being the best at what you do and then make your career aspirations known through performance reviews with your line manager. Highlight areas where you would like to develop and understand what you require to progress your career. Drive you own career path and be clear about your career goals. The world is your oyster. Dream big, work hard and anything is possible,” adds Nerissa enthusiastically.

Nerissa joined Aveng Manufacturing five months ago after leaving Gunnebo (Pty) Ltd where she was the Internal Support Services Director. She is responsible for examining and managing each business unit’s cash position and understanding the reasons for them being over or under plan or forecast. She also interacts with the group’s financial director, executives and the finance department within each business unit to drive business performance. As a financial controller, she is the gate keeper of controls, business processes and financial results for each business unit within her operating group.

“Sound business processes and strict key controls are the building blocks of a solid foundation and enables our business to deliver profitability and build shareholder value,” explains Nerissa.

Nerissa enjoys interacting with a diverse range of colleagues.

“Our unique and diverse employees at Aveng enable me to network and build sustainable relationships across the company. The strategic aspect of my job is by far the most thought-provoking and fun part of my job. It stretches my thinking and provides growth as there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t learn something new,” adds Nerissa.

Ewa Linsater, her previous regional financial director and the person she is proud to call her mentor, has had the biggest influence on her career as an inspirational leader. Her approach was different to any other leader. She wins the support of colleagues with a vision that people aspire to. She is a mother and successful woman and is able to demonstrate that neither part of your life has to suffer at the expense of the other.

Nerissa’s short-term goal is to assist in improving the profitability of Aveng Manufacturing through process improvement initiatives, while over the long-term she would like to work her way up the ranks at Aveng to a managing director for one of Aveng’s business units.

In her spare time, she enjoys yoga and activities that slow down the pace of life because she believes that the power of one’s mind is a powerful tool. Nerissa enjoys travelling and learning more about different cultures. “Exploring the world and its people reminds me that we are all just a tiny part of a large world with boundless opportunities, concludes Nerissa.

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