The all-female management team making space in the office & storage sectors

COVID-19 lockdown has questioned the need for large corporate office spaces when globally, many people are setting up home offices. But working from home also comes with challenges. The all-female management team at The Workspace and XtraSpace have responded intuitively to meet the needs of entrepreneurs, SME’s, corporates, students and consultants who want a more professional office space.

The Workspace powerhouse team is led by CEO, Colleen Mansour, whose servant leadership style and collaborative approach has been the key to developing a dynamic team who feel empowered and capable of operating in the property space. The team includes Stephanie Fourie who is the finance manager and takes care of the billing, revenue, budgets, cost management and is the Branch Champion of Melrose Arch and Village Road sites. Diandre Ann Jackson, regional controller, looks after all collections, bad debt and is the Branch Champion of the Blackheath and Robindale branch. Communications manager, Maxine Forero de Jager manages all community aspects at the branches, client liaison and marketing and sales. Maxine is the Branch Champion of Morningside Manor and Wynberg offices. Althea Martens, Operations manager, has her plate full as she oversees all maintenance projects on branch level and is the Branch Champion of five branches, Sunninghill, Midrand, Pretoria, Ballito and Pietermaritzburg.

The property industry is changing with more female owned properties and businesses. There is a positive shift in the management of these businesses where women are involved in key management positions, which is a welcome move in the right direction.

The Workspace is a professional and community driven serviced office, coworking business, while Xtraspace offers storage spaces. With branches in KZN, Gauteng and Pretoria, these office spaces provide a safe, non-discriminatory working environment where clients can network and collaborate with like-minded people.

Mansour says, “We are in the business of supporting businesses and working with an all-female management team, who demonstrate a variety of multifaceted skills enables us to deliver on our strategic objectives. It is also beneficial to the business and our clients. Women are flexible and bring incredible dedication, discipline, creativity, productivity and humour to the workplace.  Women have this ability to be able to self-correct, re-focus, re-direct, all at once and move on from challenges.”

South Africa is seeing a rise of female entrepreneurs and female lead businesses which is evident in the growth of the client list at The Workspace. There is still more to be done to encourage, guide and support female entrepreneurs and who better to understand that than the branch champions who run each branch with an entrepreneurial approach.

“We have structured offerings specifically for women owned businesses because we want them to know that they are recognised, and that we take them seriously, “ says Althea Martens, Operations Manager.

The XtraSpace team, also lead by Colleen, has a predominantly female core management team who look after multiple portfolios across the country. Lucinde Slabbert is the Finance Manager and Site Champion for XtraSpace in the South East Rand Region. Shaney Backhoff, Sales and Marketing assistant manages two storage branches remotely and is the  Site Champion for the Gauteng North region while Laurel Hlongwane and Anita de Bruyn are regional controllers for the JHB CBD, Durban and Cape Town sites and the Gauteng North East region and Durban and Cape Town regions, respectively.  Selby Malaphane, Operational Manager at XtraSpace, is the only man on the team and oversees all the Gauteng branches. He says, “ I am honoured to share this space with this team of competent and energetic women who take on tasks with grace and a “never quit, never fail” approach to any challenge they face.”

The Workspace and XtraSpace management are true advocates of gender equality, who provide equal opportunity for staff through the implementation of employment equity programmes, recruitment programmes, in-house educational and training programmes and by promoting staff from within the business based on their performance. These initiatives set the culture and tone of the business which is expressed in their service offerings.

This dynamic team of women leaders do not take lightly to the notion that women are not capable of handling tasks like building maintenance and feel strongly that the business world should engage with women respectfully and with business intellect.

Don’t underestimate their abilities based on their gender. Their winning recipe is evident in their successful track record and their satisfied clients.

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