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In the company of strong women: Karina Coetzee

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We are approaching the end of Women's Month and our Women's Day series would not be complete without introducing you to our Academic Services Manager, Karina Coetzee. Karina is known for her positive attitude and constant smile. She has an incredible ability to see the glass half full and her positivity rubs off on those around her.

Karina is a strong leader and she cares deeply for her team and our students. She realises that a pass is a student’s main priority and, as a result, she ensures that everything in the Student Services department is geared towards helping our students reach this goal as quickly and successfully as possible. With her calm manner and warm smile Karina’s door is always open to students and staff. We had a chat with this incredible woman, and this is what she had to say about Women’s Day and more.

1.    What is your role on the management team and IBTC as a whole?

I am the Academic Services Manager and I am responsible for ensuring professional and remarkable delivery of academic services to all our students. My team and I work tirelessly to provide outstanding support, no matter the mode of study, to secure student success in their careers.

2.    As a woman what challenges have you faced when building your career?
I believe that in building your career, there will always be challenges and that these are not necessarily gender specific. However, as a woman in South Africa, elements like safety can hinder one’s career growth. I don’t feel safe when I work late and have to use public transport.
 
I have also found that there can be unconscious biases which undermine woman in the workplace. I witness this each time a male colleague asks a female colleague for a cup of tea or expects dishes to be washed by a female peer. Although these actions may seem insignificant, it compromises the perception of woman in the organisation and the value they add.
 
3.    What do you think of mentorship and the role it can play in developing someone’s career? Why is it important for girls and young women to have mentors?

Mentorship is something I am particular passionate about. I have been lucky enough to have some phenomenal, strong women assist me in my career and have experienced the benefit of shared wisdom. It's so important for young women to see other women succeed and lead by example. Starting off any career is difficult, but knowing that you have someone to guide and support you, is invaluable.

4.    If you had one wish for women in this country, what would it be?

This is a tricky one. I wish that we could celebrate each other instead of feeling threatened. In supporting each other we would grow collectively, making for a safer and happier place for all.

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