Bongi has been a part of our amazing growth journey since 2000. Having first joined as Quality Controller, she has seen the company become stronger and more innovative over time. Today, as part of our Marketing team, she is crafting the future trajectory for our category leading brands.

Get to know Bongi

 


Ayodele, who leads Digital Marketing for us, loves how joining Darling allowed her to "change the game" in an ever-evolving space. She has been instrumental in drawing a follower base of over 100,000 people across the business' various digital platforms, and is excited to see what's next.

Get to know Ayodele

 


Olivier, who leads the R&D, Quality Assurance & Demand Creation team for us, loves how his journey with Darling Kenya has helped him overcome many fears. Starting off as a hair stylist, he later became the R&D and production assistant manager; and now leads a countrywide function today.

Meet Olivier

 


Nhlanhla (or NZ as we call him), is a die hard soccer buff, who leads Sub Saharan Sales. Along with his team, he is all set to deliver on our ambitious growth targets.

Meet Nhlanhla

"Teamwork makes a team work"

(Amateur photographer, country hopper, aspiring chocolatier, food blogger, F1 racer in past life)

October 2012: The beginning of an amazing race

From the world's best chocolate to the world’s best hair colour. And so my journey with hair began. The Godrej business was growing from strength to strength, and there was a need for a Category Manager. Joining the marketing team was an extremely exciting adventure! My core function was to have a category and trade marketing input into the business; my previous experience in the FMCG and retail spaces allowed me to ease into my new position.

May 2013: A milestone reached

After researching the needs of our brands at trade and category level, we realised there was an urgent need for us to improve our shelf presence. In March 2013, I rolled out a generic retail planogram nationally, to all merchandising agents, sales teams and distributors. With the help of team workshops and group sessions I personally educated our external parties on our brand and instilled brand loyalty. The planogram was successfully implemented in modern trade, resulting in an increase of market share and sales.

At our annual conference in May 2013, I won Best Newcomer for this trade marketing initiative - a milestone that I'm extremely proud of!

January 2014: The winning team

Our Renew brand required urgent attention at one of our key retailers. Sales were plummeting and market share declining. With the help of data insights, I strategically selected category stores where there was an opportunity to increase our distribution, shelf presence and market share. During the project recovery, unit growth soared to an all-time high. The sales team strategically placed point of sale units in stores; this contributed to an increase in overall sales. We also reworked the distribution of our Renew Highlights range at a national level.

I was thrilled to receive an award of excellence for my efforts in recovering the brand sales and increasing distribution.

Today

My category management team has become skilful in providing both internal and external data insights over the last two years. We communicate sales trends and channel insights, along with customised strategies, to stakeholders within our business.

In the near future, I will be exploring shopper behaviour, to understand how our consumers behave as shoppers across different channels and formats, and leverage this intelligence to the benefit of all our stakeholders.

Nicole completed a Diploma in Marketing from IMM (2009).

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"Don't work hard, work smart"

(Self-proclaimed "Cake Boss", an avid baker, enjoys keeping fit through fun exercise, dancing (as a child))

September 2014: New kid on the block

When I joined Godrej South Africa, I was taking a BIG leap from a close competitor. It was a bold decision that I’m glad I made. My first milestone was getting to know my new team and setting out expectations from and to my team members. Differing work styles and personalities were an interesting find, and so began my journey of growth. Being the new kid on the block always poses its pros and cons. But being the optimist that I am, I took full advantage of this and used it to ask as many questions as possible

to broaden my "start up" knowledge.

October 2014: The brand mayhem begins!

My first sizeable task was to lead and execute two major brand initiatives, namely, the total relaunch of the Renew and Inecto Plus brands. This included a full packaging upgrade and a well tailored 360 degree marketing support plan. Timings are tight, since this is to be achieved by March 2015.

The task includes the sourcing and selection of a strategic, creative agency to help me lead the project. We have to manage the re-creation of the brand propositions and positioning, as well as create a full brand communication strategy.

The biggest task is managing the rather

tight timelines and ensuring that we spend our budget efficiently. It is an exciting project and I am learning new things every day by working on two very different brands.

As the pressure mounts and the brand mayhem continues, I feel very excited to make this an epic project; one which could cause significant disturbance in the marketplace.

Today

I am energised and feel so excited about our future plans. Our upcoming marketing initiatives will surely bring a lot of value to the overall Godrej South Africa business and also reaffirm our brands within the hearts and minds of our South African consumers.

Godrej has an amazing vision for

Marketing and where we plan to take this function in the near future, through people and category expansion. There is a lot of focus placed on the team, which will ensure adequate training and skill development to make us world-class!

Over the past five months, I have been implementing some core processes and tools, to set the foundation for our Marketing journey.

Godrej is a place of endless opportunities and I am eager to open up more doors!

Verusha has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with majors in Marketing & Business Management and Information Systems & Technology (2006).

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"Winning, in the long term, should be your ultimate goal"

(Loves soccer, cars, DIY and wildlife)

August 2014: Starting from behind

Joining Godrej South Africa, a company with a colourful history of success, at a time when it was uncharacteristically experiencing its toughest period in sales, I was met with the challenge of guiding the sales team to turn the tide from my very first day on the job. Five months down the line, it was fulfilling to see the difference that great teamwork, agility and cross-functional cohesion achieved in such a short span of time.

January 2015: Evolution

One of the first challenges I identified upon joining our team, was the overly

lean, agent dependent sales structure that I had inherited. With the mammoth task to grow the business well ahead of market expectation, I realised our business would require a stronger focus on customer development, which our existing structure did not allow. To address the need for improved focus on both existing and new customers, we required a new sales structure with the added need for a phased introduction of new staff. Getting approval for an increased headcount is always difficult, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the response of Godrej senior management. They understood the business case and gave the full buy in - we truly have visionaries at the helm.

The support from all departments, especially HR, is very encouraging, and we welcomed a new manager and field sales manager in less than two months

from the proposal. This gives our team the boost it needs and we indeed have all the variables for a brighter future!

Today

As the Head of Sub Saharan Sales, I have to back our sales department to deliver on our very ambitious company objectives in the present, medium and long-term. That will include, among other initiatives, team development and optimal resourcing.

It is also my objective to harness relationships with cross-functional teams and ensure continuous alignment to guarantee that, as a business, we win in the long-term.

Another critical challenge at hand is to develop our exports market. Watch this space for more!

Nhlanhla is a Marketing Diploma graduate from the IMM Graduate School of Marketing (2004).

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"Do it right the first time"

(Enjoys light engineering, woodwork, repairing the irreparable and hiking in the 'burg)

January 2006: The dawn of a new era

Nothing better builds character and resilience, than being thrown in at the deep end. I recall my first three days at Godrej South Africa (previously known as Rapidol) so vividly. It was the annual factory shutdown and factory workers were on site. I thought to myself what a pleasure to begin a new job, stress free. How wrong I was!

We were running short of stock. I, being the new kid on the block, was tasked the responsibility of manufacturing our products. I found myself literally following a formulation

card to manufacture batches, making my way around equipment like vats, boilers, mixing vessels, water purification plants and various pumps and manufacturing peroxide. My greatest fear was that I had the sole responsibility of ensuring that the Number 1 ethnic brand of hair colour was on shelves.

March 2009: Game changers!

On March 9, 2009 I was chilled to the bone when a specialist took a look at a small spot under my tongue and said “Yup, that’s Cancer, alright”. I was paralysed with fear. The biggest positive of hearing this gruesome news, was that I gave up my 60 cigarettes a day habit instantly. I soon realised the resolve required and how strong you would need to be, mentally and physically, to overcome this. I was lucky that I had my

immediate family and my Godrej family to help me fight and survive.

In August 2010, with our volumes increasing, our 40-year old tubing machine could not cope with the increase in requirements. We had ordered new machines from India – I had the privilege of visiting Mumbai. I was bowled over by the hospitality and passion of its people. I will forever be grateful to Godrej for giving me this opportunity as the memories and the friends I made during that visit will stay with me forever. And yes, the tubing machines are still in operation today, with no breakdowns!

Today

With our aggressive vision and exponential growth aspirations,
we are focused on more in-house

manufacturing and reducing our reliance on outsource manufacturing. I have been tasked the responsibility of sourcing and testing new machinery for the factory and overseeing the installation and commissioning of the equipment.

Starting with 13 SKUs in 2006, we now have about 58 SKUs, with far bigger market penetration. I am thrilled to have been part of this amazing journey of growth in the Godrej Group.

Kevin has a Matric and has completed a number of specialised courses in management.

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"Keep on learning - knowledge is power!"

(enjoys travelling, going to Durban with the family, R&B fan, movie buff)

February 2000: The start line

I joined the Darling Group as a Quality Controller. I worked at our factory and was in charge of checking quality, through the different stages of manufacturing, right up to the finished product. Our main business is in the dry hair category. We are the leading player and having high quality products is central to our brand promise. My role was very hands-on in its approach and great learning.

September 2009: It's time for marketing!

I was very excited when I was offered the chance to work with our Marketing team. I was looking to learn something new and this was perfect! I first started out as a Marketing Assistant. My new role involved working closely with our in-store promoters, who are pretty much our eyes and ears, on ground. This meant that I was out, in the market, interacting with a whole new team. I demonstrated samples of our new products and gathered feedback.

Innovation is a key focus for us. We are constantly working on creating new styles, in line with the latest fashion trends. Testing these new products and even doing quality checks, was all part of what I was now doing. There was a lot to learn.

January 2014: Brand activations and the Style Lab

What I enjoy the most is working on marketing activations. We are always on the lookout to engage our consumers - whether in universities and high schools, in stores, salons or malls - there is so much to do.

Last year, we set up an in-house style lab at our headquarters. This is a big first for us. We have created the lab as a space where we can train stylists on the latest trends. It helps them build on their skills and allows us to familiarise them with our products. As part of the team, I assist on planning for the different sessions and coordinating with the stylists who sign up for them.

Today

I enjoy how my role has kept evolving and the many opportunities I have had, to learn across our business. A lot has changed since I first joined; we are becoming stronger and more innovative as a company. I am personally, very excited to be part of this journey.

Bongi has completed a course in Internal Auditing from TSA.

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"Get up, dress up, show up!"

(loves tending to her home and garden, enjoys reading, good food, taking her shoes off and walking on the grass, playing with her dogs and braaing (South African barbecue)).

June 2010: The start line

I joined Darling after a 6-month sabbatical, following a 10-year career in the beauty sector. Why? The promise of getting to create this amazing brand in a whole new category drew me.

I started from scratch. In a business that was mainly manufacturing driven, marketing was an aside. We weren't big on market intelligence or innovation. We didn't even have a real budget! I rolled up my sleeves and

dove in. Over the coming years, we celebrated great growth. The numbers were stacking up and there was always a lot to do!

January 2013: Godrej comes on board

Darling entered into a partnership with Godrej and there was lots of buzz surrounding this new development. As with any merger, there was the anxiety that we were 'being taken over' and no one was quite sure what that meant.

Our first meeting with the Godrej team pretty much put those worries to rest. Their focus was to help us leverage their global expertise. That was an exceptionally busy year. We were standardising systems and processes, looking for new ways to add value and working on how we could make our brand even stronger. Whether it was our

salon engagement programme or our 360 degree approach to brand activation, there was lots happening.

March 2013: From firing off 2 cylinders, to all 12!

We found a great balance between the entrepreneurial spirit characteristic to Darling, and the benefit of world-class teams and resources from Godrej - a blend of the best locally and globally. The scope of what we were doing and what we thought possible was expanding dramatically.

On a personal level, I was enjoying being exposed to all these challenges and the news ways of thinking. One of my big wins was the Soweto Fashion Week. We had two weeks to pull off the 2013 partnership and it was a great branding opportunity. The next one in 2014 was

even bigger and better. It worked brilliantly, as a perfect fit to all that our brand stands for.

Today

As I see it, we have all the little pieces of the jigsaw in. All we need to do now is rev up the engines and hit the ground running!

Debbie has completed a National Diploma at Wits Technikon and a course in marketing from the Damelin Business School.

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"Nothing succeeds like success"

(Reading, listening to music, holidaying with family)

April 2014: Second innings

Godrej was not new to me. Shortly after my Chartered Accountancy, I spent 10 years at the Group, when I went on to head Finance at the erstwhile Godrej Sara Lee and later, Godrej Tea. This gave me tremendous exposure, which ranged from managing a high growth business to a young start-up, and I firmly believe it continues to hold me in good stead.

I have worked across various domains within Finance, such as treasury, accounting systems, ERP and taxation. Business planning, however, is what I always enjoyed the most -

being able to help businesses grow in scale and scope, while managing challenges along the way.

So, when I was offered the role of CFO, it seemed like the perfect move for me.

September 2014: Making South Africa home

This was my first time in South Africa and there was so much that was still very new to me!

The Godrej journey in Africa is a very exciting one. We see tremendous potential in this geography and especially, the exciting hair care industry that we are part of. From a more operational perspective, there was a lot for me to do - particularly strengthening our processes and streamlining them with our centres of

excellence. Integrating with the team and settling in has been great. Sure, there are many differences from what I was used to, but my team here has been very supportive. I particularly enjoy our open, entrepreneurial culture.

My family still lives in Mumbai, which means that I travel as much I can; and they visit too. Even as we are getting used to this change, I am grappling with learning how to live on my own - from keeping home to cooking for myself! I guess there is a first time for everything!

Today

I wear two hats. Apart from being the CFO at Subinite & Frika, I am also Regional CFO for Southern Africa, and I liaison between them with our central team in India. This requires me to work with different teams with distinct

working styles and in different stages of maturity. I am able to leverage my experience of working across multiple environments, as well as my knowledge of Godrej and what it takes to be part of a start-up, to deliver successfully. Nothing excites me more than creating something new - and that is exactly what this role offers.

Suhas has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Mumbai University, and is a certified Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).

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"Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly. Leave the rest to God."

(dog lover, veteran hair stylist, chess master who plays everyday)

February 2014: The start line

I came on board to manage our technical team at Darling. This is an industry that I love. I am deeply passionate about the world of hair - sometimes I even dream about it, as crazy as that sounds! As my friends and family would tell you, I pretty much eat hair, sleep hair… In short, I love hair!

My role basically involves spreading the word and educating the market in general, about our brand. We have different stakeholders in this - the

stylists who use our products, the salons, the stores where they are bought, and of course, our consumers.

At Darling, all of us have a 'PhD' - 'Passion for hair by Darling'. And as part of this exciting journey, we have set up an in-house style academy. This academy caters to stylists - they come here and are trained on advanced techniques and the latest styles. We have different training programmes that cater to their different capabilities as well. It is also a great platform for us to showcase and familiarise them with our products. We have received great feedback on this and are very excited about the potential it holds.

I also work closely with the Marketing team to drive our awareness and activation plans across different platforms, which is great learning as

well. We are exploring new ways to engage our consumers and partners across universities and high schools, in store, salons and malls. Our mobile salon in particular, is a big hit.

We are in the process of growing our technical team, bringing new people on board and setting up our larger systems and processes, all of which I am getting to lead.

Today

Prior to joining Darling, my focus was on the wet hair market. So, even though the industry isn't new to me, this is a new market and there has been a lot to learn. For me, personally, waking up every day and knowing that I am going to work on something that I love, is very fulfilling. And that is what keeps me pushing for more.

Thomas has diplomas in Hair care and cosmetology, and certificates in advanced hair care, customer care, financial management and basic business management.

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"Passion equals success"

(Supporter of Sharks Rugby, loves reading self motivation books and socialising)

January 2012: Inecto Superblack re-launch

I joined Godrej South Africa when we were preparing to re-launch Inecto Superblack, the number one selling SKU in the country, which also brought in the highest gross margin contribution for our company. I was assigned the arduous task of ensuring that the launch was effective and efficient. With what was probably the ultimate consumer exposure for me, and an introduction to a world of knowledge, I literally grew overnight. I am certain I would not have gained so much experience so early in my

career, in any other company, and will be eternally grateful to Godrej South Africa for placing so much faith in me.

May 2013: Inecto Plus grows

Early in 2013, we saw a competitor enter the market. As a leading brand with over 80 per cent market share, we required a 'combat' strategy. We crafted a 360 degree plan for Inecto Plus, wherein we gave our brand its first brand ambassador. This was a big challenge for me, as this campaign had to be executed carefully to ensure success. The end result? The brand enjoyed a double-digit growth and the premium exposure it deserved!

May 2014: My Big Break

In 2014, the Godrej South Africa management team was restructured and I was promoted to a role in brand management. This was one step away from my ultimate goal of becoming the Best Marketer in South Africa. In a matter of a year and a half, I became involved in defining brand visual architecture, played a significant role in packaging upgrade, and chalked out a strategy for growing the market share of the Ethnic category as a whole. This level of involvement is unheard of in most companies.

Today

I started out as an Assistant Brand Manager at Godrej South Africa, and was promoted to Inecto Brand Manager a year and a half later. I currently also champion all research, quantitative and qualitative, that we conduct for Godrej South Africa.

Bongi completed a B.Tech in Marketing from the Durban University of Technology (2010).

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"Building brands and teams excites me!"

(loves reading, writing poems and watching movies)

June 2014: The start line

I've always enjoyed creating things - from great ideas to amazing stories. Through the entire creative process, the thought of what the outcome would be makes me super excited. I apply 110% of myself to everything that I commit to. I am always eager to self-learn when trying out something new, so I can get a better hang of something that I did not attempt previously.

December 2014: First big success

You are truly successful when you are

happy with and appreciated for your contributions at the workplace. Joining Godrej Nigeria was a great career move for me. It offered a platform for me to "change the game" in the exciting digital marketing space in such a large multinational.

I joined the business at a time when our online presence was virtually non-existent. However, I saw this as an opportunity with tremendous potential and it has been just that.

January 2015: #DigitalNative

Soon after I joined, my core function was to understand where, when and how to effectively connect with consumers across digital channels. I had to help build an engaging experience for consumers, which would deliver

tangible business results. So, I transformed into a digital native, in the true sense.

Today

We have nearly 100,000 fans across our major digital platforms for the Darling and Tura brands. We initiated sales on our e-commerce portal in November 2014 and managed to kick off steady sales in January 2015, selling almost 3,000 products within six months alone.

I take great pride in having championed the launch of the new www.darlingnigeria.com website, which is drawing a large number of returning visitors.

Apart from a keen interest in digital, strategy, media and writing, I am also entrepreneurial and have undertaken several self-funded business projects. My ultimate goal is to marry work with passion and freedom to express my creativity. I intend to continuously use digital media to gain visibility among thousands of targeted consumers, consistently and efficiently, thus creating massive opportunity for our business.

Ayodele has a diploma in Law and Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Olabisi Onabanjo University.

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"Together we can make a difference"

(enjoys reading and learning new things).

March 2013: The start line

I joined as a Purchase Officer. It was a thrill for me to be working in a new environment where the people and culture gave me so much room for improvement.

I found it extremely rewarding to be assigned to lead tasks from early on. This was different from what I had been used to in my previous roles. I found it quite an exciting adventure! I felt respected and valued for what I brought to the organisation. The encouragement to come up with my own ideas and provide inputs to the team, meant a lot to me.

What I enjoyed the most about my new job was interacting with team members across different levels and functions within the organisation. I learned new things about the company, business and market everyday.

February 2014: Challenging challenges!

Over time, I came to learn that one can overcome several obstacles by maintaining good relationships with customers, dedication and innovation. Optimising cost through better negotiations with vendors also leads to reduction in production cost, thereby delivering more tangible benefits to the business.

Today

I am now a Procurement Executive and firmly believe my current role is a dream come true. I have found my true calling in the procurement sector, and would like to pursue this further as my career progresses.

Godrej is a highly respected multinational, and I see new and exciting opportunities for me to build my career here. I see myself supporting critical business, delivering savings and supporting other departments, in the future.

Gege has a Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA).

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"I love the idea of everyone rallying together to win"

(Loves swimming, spending time with the family, watching and playing cricket)

August 2012: The start line

Joining Godrej brought with it excellent opportunities. I really enjoyed the early days, despite the many challenges I faced. I felt very proud to be a part of a large group, which has been known for its values for over 100 years now.

November 2013: MS Dynamics implementation

I put in all my efforts behind the ERP implementation for Lorna Nigeria. This would significantly improve on

our systems and processes. It also helped me personally improve on my skills, so much so, my colleagues described me as a "game changer". I was elated to receive the "Outstanding Professional Achiever" award among the whole Lorna and Darling group, a few months later.

August 2014: The new online sales order processing system

Our journey was still not the smoothest post the ERP implementation. We continued to face challenges, as we tried creating a system that would be available completely online, in real-time. I was so excited the day our senior management decided to go with one system for all. The MS Dynamics team and I worked hard to strengthen the entire system and leverage on the existing ERP system.

I was so pleased when this initiative was awarded "Best IT initiative for GCPL (2014)" at our company's Global IT conference. However, the best day for me, so far, was when I received the "Outstanding Customer Service (Internal)" award from the Darling Group.

May 2015: ERP in Ghana

After focusing solely on Nigeria, our next stop was Ghana. Our team pulled off the unthinkable. We completed ERP implementation for the local business in just three months! This was one of my most fulfilling achievements, as a manager.

Today

I currently lead the IT function for West Africa (Nigeria and Ghana). The company's vision and exciting growth plans mean you get a chance to lead projects soon after you join. I am thoroughly enjoying the journey with Darling. My vision is to have a consolidated, single-system solution for our entire West Africa cluster. I look forward to working harder, and making this a reality for the business.

Pradeep has an MBA in Information Technology and B.Sc. (Hons) degree from Sikkim Manipal University.

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"Attitude determines altitude"

(avid reader of motivational books by sales professionals; loves travelling, soccer and relationship building)

February 2013: Ready, set, go!

When I first came on board, my role involved leading primary and secondary sales for Western and Northern Nigeria.

This was around the same time that we introduced "Take over Lagos" to boost primary sales. We also put a tricycle operations system in place to harness opportunities at the secondary level.

Working on two very different initiatives offered me the chance to learn new things everyday, which was exciting. It was then that I realised that sales is really 90% people management and 10% processes. When a good leader motivates the team, the unexpected can happen.

During that remarkable work year, the biggest challenge we faced, was fierce competition in the market. I remember this frenzied time as challenging and exhilarating. I got the opportunity to learn a lot about the business, different cultures, and people-business relationships.

December 2013: My big break

After effectively and efficiently implementing tricycle operations and "Take over Lagos" with the support of my team, we grew our Lagos sales significantly over the previous year. Consequently, at our end-of-year Awards ceremony in 2013, I received the ‘Outstanding Achiever - Sales Initiatives' award – something that I am very proud of!

Today

We have exciting times to come. Sales is being restructured to tap into the tremendous business potential. We are also carving out Lagos as a region.

Following my rich experience with Darling Nigeria over the last two years, I now have the privilege of leading the Lagos Region Sales team. I'm looking forward to working with my team to make Darling the leader in the largest hair extensions market in Nigeria.

Darling Nigeria is a place of unending opportunities and I'm keen to open more doors.

Ajose has a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Adekunle Ajasin University (2007) and MBA in Marketing from Obafemi Awolowo University (2014).

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"Do it for love"

(loves dancing, listening to music, cooking, practising yoga and karate, and dressing fashionably)

May 2003: The start line

When I joined Darling in 2003, I was required to connect with consumers from across the Kenyan market, whereby we introduced Darling pink lotion and braid spray, which became the leading oil moisturiser and braid spray in the market. A year later, I moved on from cosmetics, in order to focus on dry hair. My role comprised training hairdressers about products, by introducing mod acrylic braids in east Africa market. A year later, I introduced a salon loyalty programme "fidelity" in the region, which linked

salons with the brand Darling. In 2006, I was associated with the head of R&D and production Mr. Andre Saar for market trend research and style creation, whereby we started launching quite a number of items such as Abuja, flat irons, salsa, rumba, etc.

January 2008: The biggest challenge ever

My career track changed. Following my journey from hair stylist to hair technician, I became the R&D and production assistant manager. My role comprised being in charge of the factory opening and closing, production coordination and being the salons team manager. This really gave me a big opportunity to learn and manage people, machinery and fibre.

November 2010: Becoming a professional orphan

Following the demise of my immediate manager, I had to stand on my own two feet and prove myself as an innovator. It was a big challenge to fit into my talented boss' shoes. However, what kept me going was the promise to make him proud, before he passed. I applied my philosophy of "doing what I do for love", and it held me in good stead. With the help of KANEKALON, and the support of my mentor CEO Mahmoud, I was able to overcome my fears.

Today

I am now the country NPD, QA & Demand Creation head in Kenya. I divide my time between market "salon" factories and New Product Development.

A qualified fashion designer, hair designer and beautician, Olivier completed a diploma in Hairdressing from L'Oréal France (1994) and a Fashion & Beauty diploma from TCB Brazza College (1998).

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"Be calm and find success"

(enjoys rock climbing, white water rafting, and motorbike riding in the Himalayas)

February 2013: The start line

I joined Darling Kenya in early 2013, a business entity, which had partnered with Godrej Consumer Products Limited from India. Manufacturing hair extensions from synthetic fiber was a totally new experience for me, and I was well groomed for that, in the months to come.

May 2013: My first role

After training in Nairobi, my first role as assistant production manager required me to travel to Tanzania and assist in production. Manufacturing there was a big challenge for the business, at the time. But over a period of 8-9 months, with the full support of the local management, our team managed to overcome the language barrier with 1,200 local employees, and centralised manufacturing for East Africa. This was a fantastic learning experience for me.

February 2014: Back to Kenya

In early 2014, I was asked if I would like to move back to Kenya.

For me, Kenya was the ideal location because of its pleasant weather, natural beauty and the lack of any communication barriers. At the time, ERP implementation for the business was in the process, and the management team deemed me the right fit to help out on the project, given my prior experience on SAP. Along with ERP implementation, I was working on building my production team to increase productivity.

Today

In 2015, I was promoted as production manager. I now support our units in Kenya and neighbouring countries (Tanzania and Uganda) as well. I am now the production manager of the largest site, with 3,100 employees and recently received 'Best Performer' appreciation from the CEO of East Africa. I am very excited about where this will lead me to next.

Ajay completed a degree in Chemical Engineering from Panjab University, Chandigarh (2006).

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"Technology for excellence"

(enjoys reading technology journals)

March 2013: The start line

After landing at Nairobi airport, I navigated through the beautiful Nairobi city, looking around and observing the many opportunities the country had to offer. I enjoyed the travel, fumbling through new languages, and meeting new people from different backgrounds every day.

May 2013: My big break

My first assignment was as IT manager for the Darling Kenya business. Within the first six months of this stint, I was able to implement a number of key infrastructural changes. My key focus was on overseeing a point-to-point

connection between our Nairobi office and the Godrej headquarters in Mumbai. It was a great breakthrough. A year later, I was offered the opportunity to head IT for our Eastern Africa cluster. With this role, I had the chance to introduce a number of key infrastructural changes in Uganda and Tanzania also.

With the added responsibility of overseeing Southern Africa, I now lead a technical team of over eight people. Working across the continent has proven to be a great learning experience.

August 2013: The next challenge

Soon after, my main focus was on building my technical and project management experience with a broader project management role. With GCPL expanding its wings across the African continent, this has offered the perfect opportunity for me.

Today

I started off with managing the IT team in Kenya. Today, going on my third year with Godrej, I am the IT head of East and Southern Africa, covering our Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Mozambique businesses. It has been a great experience for me, planning and rolling out technical projects across these countries. I can’t wait to see what follows!

Amit has an M.Sc. in Computer Science from M.D. University, India (2004), a PGDCA from Delhi Business School Madurai Kamaraj University, India (2002), and GNIIT from NIIT Gurgaon India (1999). He also holds Project Management Professional (PMP) and IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) certifications from India.

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"I am what I do"

(loves music and cooking)

June 2005: The start line

Fresh out of college, I got a chance to join the Darling Group as a sales representative. This was challenging and enjoyable, since it provided me the opportunity to meet with so many people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. I learnt a lot from the market, and managed to deliver sales targets.

January 2008: My big break

The then CFO saw the potential in me, and requested me to contact all the customers, give them the balances and ask for payments. I was reluctant at first, not knowing this was the

beginning of my new role and the creation of a credit control department. I gave it my best and our growth has been tremendous, with a significant increase in our outlets and branches as well.

January 2012: The transition

Having pioneered the department, I got new members onboard, whom I trained on my daily duties and each one of us got a region to handle. We managed to make a smooth transition from the then 'Strategic Industries Limited' to 'Style Industries Limited' within the same year.

Today

My desire to learn more and achieve higher results landed me at my current role. Today, I am heading all accounts receivable (AR) for Darling Kenya under the umbrella of GCPL. I have faced some challenges along the way, but I am determined to overcome all obstacles and deliver the best ever results as I develop myself.

Rhodah has a Higher Diploma in Sales and Marketing.

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seema_singh

"Work in silence, let your success make all the noise"

(Reading (all genres), writing poetry and short stories, watching movies (Hindi, sci-fi and thrillers))

January 2013: The Start Line

I joined Godrej South Africa as the Scientific Advisor for our R&D function. I requested to be placed under the marketing team to explore a different side to business, as opposed to just the R&D element. My expectations were very different from the reality. When I entered the company, I was exposed to so much more than marketing. I got an opportunity to work with so many interesting individuals from various divisions. The environment was much warmer and more intimate.

It did take me a while to adjust and find my feet though and I had to literally hit the ground running.

June 2013: My Big Break

I was tasked with renovating the current QC testing centre. Within my first 6 months, I managed to equip the lab such that we could utilise it as both, a basic Development and QC resource. I also managed to put together lab SOPs and train some staff on a GLP. While I had worked in lab environments before, I never envisioned myself actually putting together a lab from scratch. It was truly a nerve-wracking but educational experience.

December 2014: A new beginning

I was involved in putting together a Godrej Technical Hair institute in South Africa, which is basically a small salon for internal in vivo product testing. Again, while I had been exposed to such technical centres in the past, I was never really involved in putting one together from scratch. Yet again, Godrej provided me with great responsibility, and a new opportunity.

Today

Today, I am the Product Integrity & Development Manager for Godrej South Africa and I look after R&D and Quality Assurance/Control. These functions are not only limited to the South African business, but also other African Export markets.

I'm also now getting slightly involved in our Kinky business, which focuses on synthetic hairpieces and I'm truly starting to enjoy it.

Educational qualifications

Seema has a BSc degree, majoring in Pure and Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology (2003). She has also completed a BSc (Honors) in Biotechnology (2004), a Cochem diploma in Cosmetic Science (2009), and a B.Com in Marketing Management (2013).

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