It has been said that true leaders look for what they can give back, not take what they can in selfish pursuit. They seek to impart their knowledge to the generations coming up behind them and to leave behind skills that will serve the profession for decades to come. Never has this adage rang truer than in the example of Marilyn Govender, HR Compliance Manager at Atlas Copco. Not only is she passionate about imparting her skills to the young professionals coming up behind her, she is also hungry to learn as much as she can so that she has more to leave behind.
Marilyn began her career with the company in November 2005, having started out as client liaison officer within the business control team in the previous Atlas Copco mining and rock excavation division. With hard work and determination, she worked her way up the proverbial corporate ladder. Nearly 15 years later, Marilyn has learned that you can achieve anything you want if you are determined and prepared to work hard.
“Being a woman working in a male dominated industry is no doubt challenging. Having started out in the early thousands’, working across sales, B-BBEE , Procurement and then SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) pushed me beyond my limits and some days, left me wondering why I chose to do what I do. All I can say now in hindsight is, is that I am glad to have pushed through, despite the hurdles,” she says.
Given her grit and refusal to quit, Marilyn worked her way to HR Compliance Manager at Atlas Copco in a space of 15 years and, is now in her last year of acquiring her MBA degree.
Marilyn’s job is not always easy. In addition to being the textbook HR Compliance go-to professional at Atlas Copco, part of her job also involves the difficulty of dealing with challenging and often times sensitive employee matters. “Every day comes with its own set of challenging curveballs. Humans and their actions, unlike technology cannot be predicted and require compassion and empathy especially when dealing with sensitive issues. I have learned that it is crucial to offer these particular skills when dealing with such issues in the workplace. I have learned that a human touch is as important as performing your job with expert skill and precision. These skills make for an effective leader,” she says.
When asked how her job influences her general lifestyle, she places emphasis on remaining committed and hopeful: “I am optimistic, driven and deeply committed to seeing others improve, do and become better people. Seeing the success in employees, work colleagues, family and friends is greatly motivating and deeply rewarding for me.
Atlas Copco as a company, places a strong emphasis on its people as the first business pillar. Marilyn’s key core values mirror Atlas’ values of interaction, commitment and innovation. “These core values speak to me as an individual as; I am passionate about people development across all spheres of life. I am deeply committed to my family and strive to work hard to maintain a strong work, life balance. I love networking with my colleagues across all business areas and thrive in search of innovative ideas to improve productivity, efficiency and promote teamwork which brings about positive results to the business areas that we service,” she says.
Marilyn maintains that giving back remains paramount in her life and enjoys building up her community, by getting involved with organisations that are focused on empowering the less fortunate and disadvantaged. Through her work , she is able to partner up with organisations such as Apricot Tree which is; a school that is committed to the stimulation and development of children and young adults aged between three and twenty five years with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “Knowing that I have built up a group of people who can offer me nothing back other than a smile fills me with a sense of purpose. I have plans to continue these efforts, even in my own personal capacity. Marilyn enjoys cycling, hiking and embroidery when she isn’t so busy pursuing her life’s purpose.