Themba Vilane
Forest resource manager / Operations manager

Company: Mondi South Africa
Country / Territory: South Africa

I joined Mondi in 2002, having been attracted by the manner in which Mondi people always had high energy levels and were always more open to new ideas. Once I was part of the Mondi family, I realized that Mondi is a great company because of its good value system as evidenced by the respect people have for one another; an impeccable safety record and a drive for results.

Although, I joined Mondi having studied forestry, the organization gave me the opportunity to study further by assisting me to study management and leadership. This intervention has been worthwhile to my career and development as a Mondi employee and to my self-development. Over the years I have also had the privilege of interacting with senior managers and other employees in the organization. This has helped me grow and understand strategic thrusts that the organization follows from time to time. Additionally, I have had to be a participant in some of the strategic discussions, an opportunity that I will always cherish. That has given me the greatest joy and has enhanced my understanding of the Mondi way. Consequently I have enjoyed being involved in shaping the company’s direction, no matter how limited that role has been.

I am currently in the forestry leadership team. My journey to this level has taken 24 years after high school, inclusive of six years at tertiary institutions. I certainly remember that after high school, as youngster I wanted earnings to be as high as possible with very little work to show for it. I quickly learned that life is not like that. If you want to be rewarded, you certainly have to put your ‘pound of flesh’. Therefore to youngsters that intend joining this great company, please take note that if you are willing to work harder and smarter, an organization like Mondi will certainly reward you, commensurate with the skills and qualities that you are bringing. It is like they say: patience is a virtue. And you certainly need that. Be prepared to learn from other employees, particularly the more mature and experienced individuals in the organization.