Formerly Factory Guards, SGA continues to provide an environment that facilitates the enhancement of professional skillsets and career growth for women employees in a perceived male dominated industry. As the Security Company turns 50 this year, and in celebration of the international day of the mothers celebrated on 10th of May this year it recognized some of its longest serving female employees who are mothers, for their dedication, professionalism and significant contribution to the growth and success of SGA.
It is often said there really is nothing like being a mother. It is an indescribable feeling of pure love that only exists between a mother and her child. It is the love for their children that drive mothers into going the extra mile in their careers to provide the best they can for their children.
Author Diane Mariechild once said, ‘A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform. With that affirmation, the experiences of these brave women is best told in their own words. Meet some of SGA’s hardworking female employees attached to the Mombasa Region office;
Juliana N. Mbole, Assistant Human Resource Officer, SGA Security
Work experience: 25 years
“It has been 25 years, and counting, working at SGA. The year was 1999. I remember vividly how I started working as Guardette. During that period, the security industry had very few women. Many would stare and ridicule female guards, saying we could not catch thieves because it was a man’s job to guard client’s valuables and his household. It was a very tough experience proving my capabilities. My hard work gave me an opportunity to be deployed on various assignments namely Indian Ocean Beach Club, Tiwi Beach, Travellers Beach Hotel, Nyali Beach Hotel, East African Matches, Polana Hotel and many other duty stations. I later decided to advance my career where I did secretarial studies at Pioneer Commercial. In the year 2000, I got a promotion to the position of an Office Messenger. In the year 2002, I rose to work as a Registry clerk, assisting the Human Resource Officer where I have served for many years. Currently, I am pursuing a Diploma in Business management. I attribute my career growth to our former Human Resource Officer Ms. Mary Kambi who saw my diligence and encouraged me to put the challenges aside and focus on the ultimate goal.
As the saying goes, ‘Mother is the heartbeat in the home; and without her there seems to be no heartthrob’, I also ensure there is a balance by creating time for my husband and our child as I focus on my job and career. I believe in the spirit of teamwork, in both work and home, which enables any job to go on smoothly. I love tailoring as a hobby, which I have turned into dressmaking at home during my free time.
My advice? Challenges are part of life. Do not despair, follow your dream, and make your own life rules but do not follow all societal practices blindly.
Jane Njoki Waruru, Receptionist, member of Health Safety and Environment champions, SGA Security
Work experience: 25 years
‘I first enrolled at Gymkhana Training School in 1995 where I trained as a Guardette. In April same year, I was employed by SGA Security and deployed to Nairobi headquarters. My first duty was to screen visitors and make inventories for consignment at Crown Berger until November 1995 when I was issued a transfer letter to work at the Mombasa office.
For the past 25 years, I have been engaged to various assignments in front office, Ambulance attendant and Cash-in-Transit departments here in Mombasa. In 2001, I worked as a filing Clerk and tea girl. SGA enrolled me for an Ambulance Attendant course for one year in 2002 where I later worked as a paramedic from 2003 until 2012. I resumed to work as a Bank Marshal in the Cash-In-Transit department and administration clerk in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
My journey so far has been rewarding, thanks to SGA. Working with various professionals and attending to visitors on a daily basis has improved my public relations skills, which is very vital for the company’s image and reputation. While the journey has not been smooth sailing, I have faced unfair gender discrimination in my line of work, where most people perceive women to be homemakers and not hold any positions. However, I have learnt to focus on what is within my control and work in harmony with coworkers. Every person, regardless of their gender, deserves the same level of respect and recognition because we all contribute our ideas, skills and knowledge to our respective companies and the larger society.
Besides work, I have a family that I cherish hence I create my off-duty moments with them. I also volunteer to care for the sick and helpless by cooking and cleaning for them. I draw my inspiration from my mother, who is my mentor. She advises me to treat everyone whether young or old with respect regardless of his or her gender or religion.
My advice to the young people? Learn to give emphasis to virtues such as honesty, kindness, humility and goodwill in all your endeavors which pay off in due time. This drives me to my favorite quote, ‘Love for all, hatred for none’ – anonymous.”
Caroline Oliech, Guardette, SGA Security
Work experience; 13 years
“I joined SGA Security in 2007. My typical day begins at 4.30a.m as I prepare to report on duty at 6.00a.m. My work entails manning the entrance and exits of one of the busiest EPZ factory and maintaining on-site safety of people and client’s assets. Over the years, I have honed diverse skills such as good organizational skills, communication skills and interpersonal skills that have shaped my career growth. I have been able to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment where I meet with people from different backgrounds.
Although I have encountered challenges of being one of the few female security personnel, I overcome such challenges by ensuring the achievement of my work deliverables and goals accordingly. In my line of work, there are some days I encounter people with negative attributes such as arrogance, impoliteness and disrespect. In such instances, I have learnt to be patient and rational. The refresher training courses from my company have also played a major role in helping me acquire conflict-solving skills. My 13 years’ experience at SGA assigned to various departments has been a learning but fulfilling journey for my son and family at large. I draw my strength from my mother and son who encourage me to work harder.
Guarding job can be very demanding but very rewarding. However, I use my off-days to bond with my family, cooking, reading books and watching movies.
My advice to the young people?. Do not be selective on the choice of a viable job opportunity. Go for it and while at it, focus on the contribution of your company’s growth as well as your career growth.
I live by my favorite quote; ‘Whatever you do, remember to put God first. Where there is a will there is a way and God can move all the mountains for you’.”
Beatrice Nduku Mwangangi, Easy Roster Operator, SGA Mombasa
Work experience: 13 years
“My typical day begins at 6.00a.m to prepare my family’s day, ahead of 7.30a.m when I report on duty. Registration of daily attendance and contracts in the ER system, payrolls and compilation of monthly reports are some of my main duties. Joining SGA dates back in 2006 as a guardette. Six months later, I got a transfer to the front office as a messenger. I also have vast experience working as a Human Resource Assistant and as an Easy Roster Operator, which is my current position. Notable days were when I worked in the Ambulance services as a paramedic for one year, back in 2010. I have been able to accomplish my duties accordingly through training courses courtesy of SGA.
My career journey had not been possible were it not for the support of our supervisors who ensure we have flexible shifts to balance career and family life. Many people have faith in us that female guards also contribute a big role in ensuring safety and security of clients’ assets, despite the perception that guarding was solely male dominated.
Humility, accountability and transparency, patience and perseverance and working with minimal supervision are some of the attributes that I have acquired as I learn on the job. I could not have achieved this were it not for the mentorship from my immediate boss Regional finance and Administration Officer. My mentor encouraged me to aim higher, which I purpose to become a financial controller as my ultimate career dream.
Most young people are very choosy in career choice. I advise them to grab the opportunity that knocks on their door without being selective as it could lead them to their destination. While at work, be passionate and a good team player. We reap what we sow. Life is full of challenges but always remember that patience pays.”