During Women’s Month, Optibus celebrates some of the great women around the world who are making public transportation better and succeed in the incredibly complex task of keeping our cities moving efficiently and sustainably.
Today we are introducing Nosipho Pambuka from South Africa, who is a dynamic and accomplished executive with a passion for leveraging technology to drive innovation and improve business operations. She currently serves as the Country Manager for KUBAPAY, a global IT company, specializing in ticketing solutions.
With over 20 years’ of experience in the IT industry, Ms. Nosipho Pambuka, has gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the field including business development, solutioning for Automated Fare Collection systems in Africa and in business operations at large.
Throughout her career, Ms. Nosipho Pambuka has demonstrated a commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Her leadership and dedication to excellence is on the road to propelling Kuba South Africa to new heights, solidifying its position as a global leader in ticketing technology solutions. .
Can you share some main challenges (if any) you encountered throughout your career as a female leader?
Gender bias: Women in leadership often face gender bias which can manifest in different ways such as being passed over for a promotion. Men have a tendency of doubting a woman’s skill capability, which means that you constantly have to be on top of your game. It is a kind of pressure that leaves very little room for being human and the mistakes that come with that.
Lack of representation: Women are underrepresented in leadership positions, which can make it difficult to find role models and mentors.
Communication: Women are perceived differently when it comes to communication style, which can lead to challenges in being heard in a manner which is reduced to being hormonal.
Pay inequality: Women are generally paid less than men for doing the same job, with the same if not higher output. Whilst steps have been taken over the years to address gender discrimination, there is still a lot of work to be done in addressing the matter.
Imposter syndrome: Female leaders may experience feelings of self-doubt and imposter syndrome, which can impact our confidence and ability to lead effectively.
What is the ratio (high level) of women and men in your organization? Do you see any changes throughout the years?
Transport is traditionally a male dominated field. Transformation has been slow especially at senior level. We currently have 21% female managers compared to 18% at the same time last year. We are now deliberate in sourcing talent that is female, but more importantly, highly skilled. The women at Kuba have not disappointed, a feat which I am particularly proud of.
What can we do to enable more women to have a career in the industry?
Promote diversity and inclusion by hiring and promoting women, creating inclusive policies, and providing equal opportunities to all employees. Offer mentorship and sponsorship programs which will empower women with the right skills and enable them to gain exposure to new opportunities. Companies can provide training to employees at all levels about addressing unconscious biases which impact decision-making. Offering flexible working arrangements such as remote or flexible schedules goes a long way in helping women balance work and family responsibilities. Be deliberate in creating a supportive and collaborative working environment. Men do not need to feel threatened by skill-sharing with women, as the ultimate business goal remains the same.
What are the main themes in transportation you advocate the most?
Sustainability - We build for the future. We need to positively impact our environment and our social lives
Smart - We need to optimize, automate and integrate all modes of transport and infrastructure to ensure affordability, to reduce the carbon footprint and enable urbanization
Environmentally Friendly - It is not enough to say we should not harm the environment; We must endeavour to leave planet earth in a state better than we found it
What is your vision for transportation in your region?
Contactless payment within all the different transport modes. This is not necessarily new to the industry however, it is something new to the African continent. Kuba has access to this kind of capability, it is just a matter of educating and empowering our people in the value of such systems. Integrating smart ticketing solutions with other services such as ride sharing, car rental etc. Once again, this technology is already in existence within the Kuba stable which I am hoping to introduce into the African market soon. Enabling integration will ultimately create a more seamless and convenient travel experience for commuters. Improved accessibility features such as wheelchair-friendly options and audio announcements can make public transport more inclusive and user-friendly.
What drives you?
Breaking new ground. Shattering ceilings. Transformation and empowerment. Providing the ladder for people to step up and ensure that they become the better versions of themselves.
What advice / tips would you give to young women who would like to have a career in the industry?
Leave your strong opinions at home; disagree with people without being disagreeable.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Reading, Hiking, Travel
We hope you enjoyed Nosipho Pambuka's insights as much as we did. Did you also see the other episodes of our interview series in which we interview women who are making public transportation better around the world? Find them in our blog overview.