JOYCE GRESSEL: HR Director at Supreme Spring

#AutomotiveAllies: Joyce Gressel, nominated by Mark Barley and Shivani Singh, is the HR Director at Supreme Spring.

Despite the frantic pace of business, one needs to review and reflect on the progress and course of one’s career. Reflecting on her more than a quarter of a century in Human Resources, both Joyce’s career and professional growth had its foundation and start at Union Carbide where she worked for 16 years.

Union Carbide provided unique opportunities for growth, as Joyce was initially exposed to various aspects of the business including Bookkeeper, IT Clerk, and Creditors Clerk Production with progressive experience in Human Resource Management, as well as Manufacturing and Operations Management. Joyce subsequently managed and supported large, complex, organizations with globally dispersed employees and staff. She was also appointed as the Leader of the Internal HR Audit team for Latin America. This challenging role required her to lead and manage a portfolio of 66 projects, with cross-functional participation and collaboration from all HR centres of expertise as well as other shared services in Brazil. At Union Carbide,  Joyce had the distinct privilege and unique opportunity to progress her career from the lowest level in the corporation to director level.

Joyce’s professional experience includes executive level management, strategic program management, training focused employee development, resource and budget forecasting, organizational development, transformation, and the unique challenges posed by employee relations in what proved to be a fast-paced ever-changing business landscape.

She is currently the Human Resource Director for Supreme Spring, which is part of the Metair Group of companies.  In this role, she is responsible for the HR support for over 560 employees as well as providing support where needed at Group level. Currently, Joyce is also the COVID-19 Compliance Manager.

Prior to joining Supreme Spring, Joyce worked for Baldwins Steel (Kulungile Metals) for 17 years, initially as a HR Manager but was promoted to HR Director within 12 Months.  At Kulungile, she gained valuable knowledge of manufacturing and advised Executive on human resources programs, including staffing and recruitment, classification, position management, employee relations, restructuring, and transformation.

In every HR role, Joyce has provided strategic business partnering to the senior leadership team by managing and utilising a group of HR professionals to support managers and their staff.

On a personal level, Joyce enjoys spending time with family, reading, listening to music, and the odd glass of good red wine. Her most enduring passion remains weight training and running.

If Joyce could give advice to her younger self, it would be to know that your life and career rarely follow a linear trajectory or even the path that you planned out for yourself. Joyce says, “I have had so many times where I’ve had completely unexpected changes. Some of these have been great, but some of them have been awful and challenging.  I think if you manage those expectations as well as having a ‘Plan B’ in mind, that is the best way to keep growing and moving forward, even in those times you feel like you’re going backward.”

Joyce’s insight on #TheFutureIsFemale, “We want girls to feel free to choose as they grow up to be courageous, plucky, even feisty, not perfect. That they come to value the exquisite beauty to be found in ambitious ideas or innovative thinking which are the by-product of a beautiful mind, rather than the ephemeral chimera of physical beauty.

If we succeed to do the aforementioned then corporations, employers, and even the most crusty of bosses will inexorably only be able to view women and men through the same lens, with equal work for equal pay a residual consideration.  We want those women, who have so to say “made it’ despite the odds, to recognize their sacrosanct responsibility to be and act as role models worthy of emulation. Further, as successful career women, we need to leverage our success and value add to creatively seek to create opportunities, identify and mentor interns, as we encourage all women to try new things in supportive environments.

If as successful role models we do our part, many a girl will mature as a woman with the unshakable belief that she and her sisters can accomplish anything, irrespective of the barriers or so-called ceilings they encounter.  As they grow in confidence, recognize that the lofty heights of success in every sphere of business and life are within reach, they will make the choice to try new things their mother could not aspire to. As we succeed because we identify, engage, empower, or even just come alongside other women to encourage, the old barriers and ceilings will progressively dismantle until they cease to exist. It is then and only then, that a state of authentic irreversible gender equality will be ushered in.  We cannot hope to achieve these lofty goals alone or by uncoordinated sporadic initiatives.

Understand where you can best make the contribution, get involved, draw in other women and perchance together we will be the difference that paves the way for our daughters and granddaughters as the Suffragettes, Amelia Earhart and countless other brave pioneering women did.