Where do you hail from/ where are you originally from (city, country)?
I was born in Giyani, Limpopo but grew up in Krugersdorp, Gauteng where I started my schooling
Where do you currently live (city/country)?
Johannesburg, South Africa
What did you study after completing high school?
I enrolled for a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a second major in Chemistry at the University of Cape Town. After completing, I completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Management. After a few years of working I completed a Certificate in Project Management, a Certificate in Air Quality and finally a Master of Science in Project Management which I am still busy with through the University of Cape Town.
Why did you choose to study that particular course/courses?
Having attended a high school where science and technology was the focus, it was only natural for me to do a degree in science. My first choice was actually Civil Engineering but after learning more about the curriculum, I realised that it lacked the human element for me which has always been my passion. Environmental Science was a good compromise to keep my scientific background and also have the human element in my studies.
Did you get any funding from an organisation cover your studies?
I have never really paid for my studies in my life. My primary school was covered. I received a scholarship to study in a private school in my secondary years. My high school sponsor continued to sponsor me for tertiary education. In addition, I received additional scholarships and funding from other organisations. Even for my working life studies such as my certificates and Masters degree, the organisations I worked for sponsored my studies. So yes, I have never paid for school fees in my life.
What was your first job?
My first job was with a consulting firm called Metago Environmental Engineers based in Fourways whose main focus was on mining projects. I worked as a Junior Environmental Consultant. Metago was one of my sponsors for my Honours studies at UCT. They were more than happy to accept me as a permanent junior staff member after completion of my Honours degree.
Industry you work and a brief description of the function of your industry (if Industry is too broad i.e. Banking, please describe it in the context of your specific team)
CCBSA is part of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) is Africa’s largest Coca-Cola bottler. The company has been formed through the combination of African non-alcoholic ready-to-drink bottling interests of SABMiller plc, The Coca-Cola Company, and Gutsche Family Investments. The new company will produce and distribute approximately 40% of all Coca-Cola beverage volumes in Africa and is the 10th largest Coca-Cola bottler worldwide, initially serving 11 high-growth countries, which will increase to a total of 14 countries. CCBA is headquartered in South Africa and it will manufacture and sell 40 still and sparkling brands from more than 30 African bottling plants. CCBSA is therefore one of the leading companies in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) in Africa. My role is based within the Sustainability area and as a Coca-Cola bottler, CCBSA subscribes to the sustainability framework that is known in the Coca-Cola system as “Me, We, World”. This is our shared vision for how we work together to create social value and make a positive difference for the customers and communities we serve. Furthermore, ABI is committed to producing and selling our products in a responsible way and ensuring a sustainable future.
Are you a manager of people, if yes how many?
My role is a management one with strategic overview of all the CCBSA regions within South Africa. I currently do not have people who report to me directly.
What is a key leadership principle you have learnt/applied over the years in managing people?
As a leader, your people (team) are your most valuable assets. It is therefore crucial that you empower them, develop them, expose them and take time to understand them. The aim of this principle is that your department or unit must still be able to function successfully in your absence. You must not be the glue that holds the team together but be the water that allows the team to flow together. The success of your team is the success of you as a Leader. It is not about Me, Myself and I.
Describe a typical day in your life from the time you arrive at your office?
Based at the head office and working with various regions, my role is that of a consulting and advisory one. The key purpose of my role is to enhance CCBSA corporate reputation and citizenship by identifying, designing and overseeing the implementation of National Flagship and strategic community partnership projects in support of CCBSA Sustainability and Business Strategy. I am typically involved in a number of projects within my area and I constantly have to evaluate and monitor my projects to ensure that we are meeting our timeframes, meeting quality and working within allocated budgets. This entails engaging with various team members and both internal and external stakeholders on an ongoing basis. Risk management is a key component of my typical day.
There are always project risks and uncertainties that are faced as the project unfolds and it is my responsibility to ensure that all risks are addressed and mitigating measures implemented so that the success of the project is not affected in any way. As an expert in my field of environmental science and project management, I also have to advise the business on technical issues linked to my projects. By the end of the day, I already have a list of actions that need to be addressed and part of my role is ensuring that I design adequate tools to track and address them.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started your first job?
I wish I had learnt earlier that I am in charge of my own development and growth. As a new entrant in the job market, I relaxed and waited and hoped that my company would train and develop me so that I can grow in my field. As an experienced professional, I have since learnt that I need to understand where I want to go in my career, identify gaps in my skills and knowledge and then come up with my own development plan to enhance myself and build my profile. If an organisation supports my plan, then it is a bonus but I am not going to just sit and wait for somebody to tell me how to develop myself. I have since involved myself with a number of professional bodies and associations, getting the necessary accreditations and certifications and playing a leadership role in some of them.
What challenges did you find along the way to where you are now in your career and how did you overcome them?
One of the challenges I faced was having my own vision and future growth plan which was not necessarily in line with the organisation I was working for. One is always tempted to stay in such organisations because of financial reasons. How I dealt with this challenge is never to constrain myself to an organisation that is not in line with your vision solely for short term financial benefits. I always think beyond the short term and will never stifle my growth. I therefore looked for an organisation that was in line with my vision and the results were amazing. I performed better, I got great support for my development and the financial rewards were even better. My advice is for professionals never to trap themselves and that they should go out there and live their passions.
Share your secret to success, what would you say has allowed you to stand out from your peers?
I always go beyond what is expected. I want to be involved in all aspects of my profession and not just stick to my job specifications and expectations. So if my job requires me to pack 12 boxes a day, I find innovative ways to pack 20 a day. I even go as far as investigating if these boxes actually need to be packed or if there is another way to store them. Further, I join the association of box packers or box manufacturing and become accredited as a professional box packer. If the association of box packers have opportunities for me to play a leadership role, I always avail myself. This will further help me to be at the fore front of the association in terms of best practice, networking and industry knowledge. So this is how I become the best in packing boxes. It is putting excellence in everything I do. This is how I have become a preferred candidate in most of career moves.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Never to underestimate the growth impact you may have in a business. Never to aim low. Never do the bare minimum. Always empower yourself even outside of your organisation. Network is really net worth, so get to know your industry and all the thought leaders in it. You are never too young to achieve anything. Never limit yourself to the sky when there is a vast universe out there.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to break into your industry?
It is always important to understand the industry you want to break into. Young people should be lured by success stories, financial rewards or following popular trends. It is important to understand your strengths and passion so that your journey can be enjoyable especially during challenging times. The industry is also broad, it is therefore crucial to learn what is it that you like so that you can begin to empower yourself in that field and build a profile for yourself and gain a wealth of experience. Research, research and research. Engage with people
in the industry to get a realistic view.
Profile – Ntsako Baloyi
At the age of 32, Ntsako Baloyi was the youngest President of the South African affiliate of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) since its inception in 1992. He has previously served as a committee member for Gauteng before he was elected into the national Executive Committee and then elected as President. He has a BSc in Environmental Science and Chemistry, a BSc (Honours) in Environmental Management, Certificates in Project Management and Air Quality Management and is busy with a Master’s Degree in Project Management. A young achiever, at 27, he got professionally registered as a Natural Scientist (Pr.Sci.Nat) with the South African Council for Natural and Scientific Professions (SACNASP). At 28, he got certified as a Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute (PMI, USA). PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP® demonstrates that you have the experience, education and competency to successfully lead and direct projects. At 29, he got accepted as a Professional Member (MIEnvSc) of The Institute for Environmental Sciences (IES) in the United Kingdom and also got registered as a full professional member with the Southern African Institute of Ecologists and Environmental Sciences (SAIEES).
At 30, he got accredited and qualified as a Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) with the Society for Environment also in the United Kingdom. CEnv is the highest and most prestigious level of professional qualification for environmental practitioners. There is currently fewer than 20 Chartered Environmentalist in South Africa and he is certainly proud to be listed amongst the thought leaders in the environmental field. In addition, he is also a professional member of the International Association for Public Participation, Southern African Affiliate (IAP2sa). In 2013, he was appointed as a Board Member for the African Leadership Academy’s Student Enterprise Programme where he mentored students in their environmental projects and business ventures. He has served as a Judge for the annual Enviropeadia Eco-Logic Awards and also as a panellist at the Thabo Mbeki Africa Leadership Institute inaugural Alumni Conference. Ntsako Baloyi is also the Chief Executive Officer of Limpopobased Xisasi Foundation that focusses on providing lasting solutions that brings about change in people’s lives. He was recently featured in the prestigious Mail & Guardian Top 200 Young South Africans to watch in 2015 in the Environment Category. He has also been selected as the Business Events Ambassador by the South African National Conventions Bureau. Ambassadors are thought leaders, internationally recognised for achievements and contributions in their field, and enthusiastic in their support for South Africa. But this diligent scientist also has a fun side. He was featured in the local version of BBC Entertainment’s reality show Come Dine With Me. Ntsako is currently employed as a Project Manager (Environment and PMO) for Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa(CCBSA). Previous companies he has worked for include global mining giant, BHP Billiton as an Environmental Specialist and the world’s biggest consulting firm, Accenture as a Management Consultant and one of the leading global environmental solutions’ firm, SLR Consulting as an Environmental Project Manager.