RONELLE BONNESSE-SWEM: Business Development Manager at Ebor Port Elizabeth and Director at Ebor East London

#AutomotiveAllies: Ronelle Bonnesse-Swem, nominated by Andy Dealtry and Wesley Strydom, is the Business Development Manager for Ebor Port Elizabeth and a Director at the newly-launched Ebor East London.

Ronelle was born and bred in the Northern Areas of Port Elizabeth. Whilst Ronelle did not grow up in the richest family, she was spoilt beyond words with love. Ronelle’s parents worked overtime and went the extra mile to ensure Ronelle and her siblings always got what they needed and (sometimes) what they wanted, ensuring they were never deprived of anything. Ronelle’s upbringing has developed her into an independent, hard-working, outspoken, self-motivated, tell-it-like-it-is, loyal and friendly person.  Ronelle continues to raise her children with the same principles and values her parents raised her with.

After high school, Ronelle obtained her certificate in HR Management and began working at VWSA. Initially, she worked casually at Xerox in VWSA and later applied for the Commercial Trainee job, which she got. Ronelle was placed within Purchasing, where she worked for three managers and ultimately got appointed permanently as an admin clerk. Ronelle never saw herself settling permanently in the job – she always envisioned herself being the boss and dressing all fancy and professional. Being as confident as she is, Ronelle asked for more responsibilities and was subsequently appointed as the Export Co-Ordinator for Purchasing.

Still wanting greater things for her career, Ronelle applied for the buyer vacancy at VWSA. She took up this role along with her already-existing role of Export Co-ordinator. She spent roughly seven years in this position and whilst she experienced many challenges during her time in this role, she became stronger than ever. The experience gained at VWSA is something Ronelle would never trade for anything as it made Ronelle realise her strengths and worth and grew her immeasurably as a person.

Once again, Ronelle still wanted to reach higher heights in her career. This is when the opportunity at Ebor Automotive Systems came long which she grabbed with both hands. Ronelle started at Ebor in early 2017 as the Business Development Manager. Her main responsibility at Ebor was to secure future business, initially focusing on the Daimler 206 program. Ronelle was able to secure a huge amount of business that allowed Ebor to open its second plant in East London to support the Daimler program. Ronelle’s efforts did not go unnoticed – she was appointed as a Director for Ebor Linked Solutions and was later appointed Director for Ebor East London, something she had been working towards and hoped to achieve. Through the support of Ebor, Ronelle studied and completed a Project Management and Operational Management course.

This is where Ronelle is at today. And yes, she still wants more for her career.

Ronell’s thoughts on #ThingsIWishIKnew: I have always believed in myself and know I can accomplish anything. I would say, however, that in my experience, the sector is definitely not gender-driven. The automotive industry is very diverse and provides opportunities for a range of skill sets, making interpersonal dynamics more interesting as you will interact with a vast mix of people.

Ronelle’s advice to other women entering the sector:

  1. Believe in yourself and be fearless in your pursuit. Don’t settle. Don’t dream about success, make it a reality.
  2. Never be limited by other peoples’ limits. I believed I could do it and I did.
  3. Be the woman that makes other women want to up their game
  4. Don’t stop until you are proud of yourself.