Describe your business in two sentences. We grow organisational competence by developing capability and shifting mindsets of people, helping organisations grow or change how they do what they do, and we produce really cool videos. We have a Collaboration Hub of experts who work with organisations and teams, coming together as needed.
How long have you been in business? I have been involved in this industry since 1998, but Ingeneum has been operating since 2010
How did you get into this business? I started my career in Maths and Science education abroad and through an NGO here in SA. That evolved into project management in the non-profit sector, then into training in the business sector and eventually into Organisational Development. I started Ingeneum initially as a vehicle to “ply my OD trade” in the non-profit sector, but it has grown into an established business working in the corporate, small business, non-profit and education sectors.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it? When the owner of the previous company I worked for died unexpectedly, he left behind a bankrupt business with clients who had already paid for our services, and suppliers and partners who were owed a lot of money. The feelings of personal loss, betrayal and devastation were almost as difficult to overcome as the financial loss. Overnight I lost 5 years worth of retained income and my reputation – so often we are assumed guilty by association. But faith in God and in His purpose for my life and for my family kept me going, together with my husband’s belief in me and what I might be able to do. Many, many lessons have been learned – about life, about business, about relationships. And I am definitely stronger and more resilient for it.
What single trait/skill could you not have succeeded without? Tenacity and a good dose of the South African philosophy I inherited from my dad: ‘n boer maak ‘n plan!
What is the best business advice you’ve received? Two things from a mentor who enabled my transition from education into business
1. Do such a great job that you are invited back – because they want to work with you, not because they still need you
2. Don’t wait until you know how to do something – just say yes and try, the learning will come.
Your secret to business success is? Living by that advice! It has helped frame Ingeneum’s approach to OD and to all those who work within our Collaboration Hub. And by surrendering my business and my talents to God, He is able to do far more through me than I could do in my own strength. Clients have come on board more through His doing than through any marketing I have done! Both who they are, and when they engage us, have been quite miraculous.
What is your business goal for 2015? I have two big ones for 2015-16:
- To take our Collaboration Hub into the education sector and make a significant difference by bringing together a cross-section of cleverness, passion and experience facilitate the co-creation of solutions to our dismal performance in Maths and Science
- To create an online learning environment that will encourage and enable local trainers, coaches and instructional designers to share their programs, courses, articles and resources with those who wish to learn from them – in a simple, cost-effective, user-friendly way. And to develop the business model behind it to make it sustainable.
Tell us one thing that not many people know about you? When I started my career in education and learning design at the tender age of 21, it was in a sundress and pair of “slops”! I was a volunteer at a mission school in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, teaching Maths, Science and Biology in a classroom with a concrete floor and a banana leaf roof – and I have never looked back!