Middle East and Africa Inspirational IBMers – Natasha Pillay-Bemath

This is re-published from an IBM series of articles called “MEA Inspirational Colleague Series”.  This series consists of interviews that profile successful female IBM’ers in the Middle East & Africa to demonstrate how global IBM’ers can relocate, live, and work successfully in this quickly emerging market.

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Natasha_Pillay_Bemath

Natasha Pillay-Bemath,
IBM Recruitment Leader, South Africa

Natasha is the Recruitment Leader for South Africa. She has over thirteen years of recruitment experience both as an agency Director and an in-house Manager. As a result, Natasha has learned to influence through expertise, embrace challenge, and help IBM’ers succeed, which is why she has been recognized as IBM’s MEA Inspirational Colleague for December, 2012.

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1. When did you join IBM Middle East & Africa?

I joined IBM on April 1st 2012.

2. Why did you make the move from agency to in-house recruitment?

I wanted the exposure to a larger global organization, to expand my skill-set, and focus on my growth and development as opposed to spending another decade in local recruitment.

I also wanted to gain entry into a global organization and more importantly, on researching, I fell in love with IBM’s Smarter Planet. I am a “purpose” person and Smarter Planet resonated deeply with me. I felt like IBM would be a great platform for me to contribute towards South Africa and Africa. This is very important to me as I believe in South Africa, Africa, and its people and I believe it is my purpose to play a role in its development and success.

3. What does your role as South African Recruitment Leader entail?

It involves working with the recruitment team to acquire the best talent in the South African market. It also involves positioning IBM South Africa as the employer of choice in the regional employment market.

Recruitment plays a pivotal role to the organization’s performance and success. Indisputably, organizations are only as good as its people and Recruitment is instrumental in securing top talent. The Recruitment team and I are extremely passionate about this, our role and contribution to the South African operation.

4. Have you always lived and worked in South Africa?

Yes, I’ve always lived and worked in South Africa. I’ve lived in Cape Town, Durban, and now Johannesburg.

5. How have you found the experience working in what is widely regarded as a male dominated industry and a male dominated region?

I came from an industry (Agency Recruitment) that is predominately female. However, it’s been an interesting change. IBM South Africa is dedicated to female hiring and development and I’m looking forward to contribute to that. I think recruitment has an important role to play in acquiring female talent.

6. What are your pastimes outside of work?

I love reading books. I’m also lucky enough to have a four year-old son who I love spending time and playing with, which really helps me keep grounded and prevents me from taking life too seriously.

7. Do you have family living with you in South Africa?

I live in Johannesburg with my husband and my son. My parents and wider family live in Durban, which is a six-hour drive away.

8. How do you manage to juggle your demanding role, social life, and family commitments?

I think, at the end of the day, it’s about managing output at IBM. You need to focus on your deliverables, but IBM is flexible about how you do that so you can arrange your schedule accordingly and know that you will only be measured on output. IBM has definitely offered me the flexibility I need.

9. You’re bilingual – speaking both Afrikaans and English. Is this essential for employees considering a move to South Africa?

No, not at all. Its pretty standard that English is the first language so international candidates who are fluent in English won’t have a problem at all.

10. Finally, are there any recommendations you would make to female IBM’ers considering a move to the Middle East or Africa?

I would definitely say it’s the place to be. MEA has the focus, the challenges, and is at the middle of it all. It’s exciting to drive through these challenges and show people how it is done in a growth market. I’m very excited about South Africa, extremely excited about Africa, and know that it’s the place to be for my own growth and development.

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