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Dorah Mmekwa, a Manufacturing Engineering manager at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s Silverton Assembly Plant, has been selected as the winner of the Woman of Excellence award after the majority of public votes were cast in her favour.

Due to the Covid-19 restrictions, the Motoring Women of the Year Awards (MWOTY) took place virtually on 27 November 2020. This annual prize-giving ceremony serves to acknowledge women and their diligent approach towards the success of the motoring realm in South Africa. MWOTY is a non-profit organisation (NPO) that hosts the annual national awards ceremony, which is sponsored by Nedbank and produced by Women-Torque, an online motoring magazine.

“MWOTY recognises women who have devoted their careers and lives to the industry despite it being traditionally male-dominated,” explains Desh Bechan, the Creative Director at Women-Torque. “Our goal is to encourage, reassure, appreciate and positively advance and develop women in South Africa.”

Women in the automotive industry are disrupting the status quo. In the past, the motoring stable was seen as a man’s world but women like Dorah Mmekwa are certainly proving that stereotype wrong. Women have become instrumental to the growth of this industry and are making significant strides within the motoring fraternity.

“We are exceptionally proud of Dorah not only for receiving this coveted award but for her career development in general and her rapid ascension into leadership level. I would like to thank Dorah for her contribution to Ford over the last 11 years and look forward to seeing her continue to make her presence felt in the industry for many years to come,” comments Ockert Berry, VP Operations at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).

Mmekwa’s 11-year long career with Ford began in 2009 when she joined the company’s graduate trainee programme within the Industrial Engineering field. The yearning for more responsibility and challenging roles saw her climb up the corporate ladder, from the trainee programme to an hourly employee as Process and Industrial Engineering technician in 2010. Her leadership qualities earned her the opportunity to lead a group of quality inspectors on the Trim, Chassis and Final (TCF) line in 2011.

She was then promoted to Quality System engineer in 2012 and was awarded another promotion in 2015, as Senior Process engineer at the Paint Shop, where she had to ensure the ongoing development of procedures and enhancement of Ford’s vehicle manufacturing products.

Mmekwa has devoted herself to every position and gained essential skills from each role. “Ford has given me the platform to expand my knowledge and experience,” she says.  “Mentors were assigned to groom and coach me in the various areas of the business, and to prepare me for my next job assignments.”

In 2019 she was appointed the Acting Manufacturing Engineering and Maintenance manager in the Silverton Assembly Plant’s Paint Shop, and six months later she became the new Manufacturing Engineering manager. “The continuous training and skills development opportunities helped increase my knowledge and understanding of my various functions, and allowed me to constantly progress,” she states.

Her nomination and selection for the Woman of Excellence award is testament to her hard work and positive attitude. With over 1 200 submissions from the entire motoring fraternity for the 15 different categories, being chosen for this award is a significant accolade.

The voting process was conducted via Facebook, where she received a tremendous number of votes and supportive commentary from the public. Over 350 encouraging comments were posted by the public holding her in high regard as a role model.

“We are exceptionally proud of Dorah not only for receiving this coveted award but for her career development in general and her rapid ascension into leadership level. I would like to thank Dorah for her contribution to Ford over the last 11 years and look forward to seeing her continue to make her presence felt in the industry for many years to come,” comments Ockert Berry, VP Operations at Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa (FMCSA).

Women have played essential engineering roles for decades within Ford Motor Company. Click here an take a look at the inspirational stories of some of these dedicated professionals https://www.facebook.com/FordIndia/videos/728806814605758/