First female GM for Rössing Uranium


23 February 2018 | People

Leandrea Louw

Liezl Davies is the first female professional to hold the position of General Manager: Operations, in the more than 41 years of Rössing Uranium Mine’s operations.

She took over from Martin Tjipita, who left Rössing to take up a senior executive role of leading the Namibian operations of an international company involved in the resources sector.

Davies was born in Oshakati and lived there until she was about 15 years old. She moved to Windhoek to finish her high school education at Academia High School.

She studied industrial psychology, specialising in human resource management. “After my studies I joined the mining industry and started working for Namdeb and then De Beers Marine Namibia in various human resource related areas, specifically focusing on training and development as well as organisational effectiveness, performance management and strategic planning. On 1 July 2012 I joined Rössing Uranium in the role of organisational effectiveness manager responsible for leadership development programmes, diversity, succession planning, employee engagement, employee recognition programmes and performance management.”

During April 2013, she ventured into the field of business improvement. A year later, in August, she moved to the position processing manager, as the head of the plant and processing Department.

“Here I was responsible for the entire plant operation. This role was very rewarding as it stretched my development and gave me an opportunity to work in an area that was out of my comfort zone.

“In October 2016 I moved to the role of production manager, focusing on creating sustainable production through productivity - initiating and implementing productivity and other initiatives throughout the operations of the business. This gave me extremely valuable view of the challenges the business faces across the entire operation, and put me in a perfect position to compete for the role of General Manager: Operations. Throughout my extremely exciting career journey I could clearly see that an understanding of the challenges of the business and the teams is really important. However, it is the understanding and appreciation of how to lead and motivate teams that is ultimately important to ensure successful deliver of outcomes.”

The ‘top dog’ of operations at the mine is married to Rodney Davies and has two children, Ciara (16) and Dale (13).

She is also involved in coaching and mentoring others. “I have always been extremely passionate about making a difference in the world and contributing to people's lives in a positive manner. I truly feel that this is my contribution to society - working with leaders who are also passionate about their teams and about leaving a wonderful legacy behind when they move onto the next big challenge in their careers. I use these coaching opportunities to further support women prepare for future leadership roles.”

The one thing she would tell her younger self is to never compare yourself to others. “You are running your own race. I was and sometimes am still my biggest critic, and I was constantly putting pressure on myself to do more and to compare myself to other’s achievements. Whilst this is fine on the one hand, to be driven and to constantly push yourself to achieve more, you also need to enjoy the now and where you are at the moment or you will not fully appreciate this current experience and get the most learning from your current reality.”

She advises other women to be the ‘best you’.

“I have been blessed to work for a company such as Rössing Uranium who have very clear practices to treat males and females as equals in the workplace and to make career advancement opportunities available to performing workers, regardless of gender. We often try to be someone we are not, or behave in a manner that is not in tune with who we truly are. We are women and we come with our own strengths and ‘flavour’. Bring that to the workplace. Don't try and be someone else. Just be authentically you. People will appreciate it.

“As women we need to support each other. I sometimes see that in this perceived competition to succeed in a male dominant environment we break each other down. That is the saddest thing to see. I don't see a need to be in competition with each other. Real queens fix each other’s crowns. There is a place and contribution for all of us to make.”

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