Nompumelelo (Mpumi) Mangena is the Senior Sales Manager for GE Vernova’s Steam Power business in Sub-Saharan Africa. GE Vernova’s Steam Power business offers a broad portfolio of technologies and services—predominantly for nuclear and coal power plants—helping customers deliver reliable power as they transition to a lower-carbon future.
Mpumi joined GE in 2012 as a Sales and Services Manager for its power portfolio. Prior to GE, she was a System Engineer at Eskom Matla and Kelvin power stations. She has acquired over 17 years in experience working in the energy industry locally and internationally. Her experience spans through the private and public sector with a combination of system engineering, business management, sales and marketing background and a key focus on stakeholder management. This experience has allowed her to develop a strategic set of contacts and relationships across the private sector as well as within government.
Mpumi earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Africa. She just completed a Post-Graduate diploma in Coaching with the South African College of Applied Psychology.
She is an energetic, positive, and strong individual that will take lead in almost any situation. She currently resides in Pretoria with her adorable 7-year-old boy and supportive husband. When she’s not working you will find her playing Golf, traveling, coaching and mentoring aspirant and early-mid career professionals.
I have seen more women joining the sector, seen them taking leadership roles, and I have unfortunately seen women leave for several reasons including environment readiness and lack of support. Develop a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture that promotes opportunities for advancement and flexible work arrangements to encourage entry and retention into the sector.
The industry is difficult, but you are not alone. There is a strong community of women you can reach out to in the sector for advice, community, and support. Embrace your strengths, build your knowledge of your specific industry, network, and constantly advocate for yourself.
By intentionally recognizing women as capable participants in the sector not as affirmative statistics. We need to identify, recruit, hire, train, promote and retain on merit. This will go a long way in including and expanding the sector to women.
I don’t believe it is increasing. I think the industry is not glamorized like other industries due to gender stereotypes and traditional societal norms which have influenced the perception of what roles are for women. Technical and engineering roles have traditionally been seen as roles designed for males. Many of the opportunities are in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) and the underrepresentation of women in STEM creates difficulty in building and developing a pipeline. If we do not deliberately create spaces and accommodations to invest in bursaries targeted at females or apply visible mentorships to aspiring learners, representation will not increase. The struggle to strike work-life balance due to the constant requirement to be available at all times is another barrier to achieving the representation we want to see.
We cannot leave men behind in the advancement or inclusion of women in the sector. In my experience I have seen men supporting the acceleration of women. It starts with the education and awareness of men around issues that affect women so men can understand their predisposed privilege, identify and confront their unconscious biases.
How to open up the sector to have greater participation for women within energy. The discussion should be centred around how we create stronger PPP (Private-Public-Partnerships) to build and support SMEs. On a micro level, we should also be discussing how to improve work environments and manage the high level of work pressures to achieve the best results.
The recent BRICS summit in SA has shown an increase in the appetite for stronger geopolitical ties between Africa and China. China has pledged R500m to assist the energy crisis in South Africa, this provides opportunities for funding which have been a challenge for African projects. Energy access offers a great opportunity as a significant population still lacks access to electricity. This gap represents an opportunity to implement off-grid mini-grid systems and distributed renewable energy projects to provide power to remote and underserved areas.
If you know of any amazing women in energy who should be part of this campaign please reach out to us by sending an email to [email protected].