Today, I am COO (Chief Operating Officer) for SA Rice Mills (Pty) Ltd, a family owned business. I am 49 years old, and I have a wonderful husband and four children.
I am passionate about what I do, which is marketing and selling rice flour that we manufacture from broken rice. Broken rice is everything that doesn’t make the “A” grade selection process.
My journey to this time of my life has been “bouncy” to say the least… however, I would not change any of it. I have made some mistakes… more than once, other mistakes, I learned from immediately.
I received my BCompt in 1990 and served five years as an articled clerk with what was then known as Price Waterhouse. I hated “accounting” and became an estate agent, until I became pregnant with my daughter Claire. By the time my son came along two years later, I was an area director for Smile and loving it! My ex-husband then received a transfer, and I had to give up my business. For the next eight years I managed a few businesses from home, until the next transfer came. I then decided to concentrate on my kids and their needs full time.
When my daughter was in Matric, it struck me like a sledgehammer… that I was someone’s wife, someone’s mom, and not Jo! I seemed to have lost myself and my individual identity.
So began a long, slow and difficult process of finding out who I was, what I wanted to do and who I wanted to be.
Having met my new husband, Terry, who has taught me the real meaning of love, we decided to start a mini skip company. We managed the business for two years, until our family business needed us. Whilst managing the skip business, I discovered that my true passion, the “thing” that makes me enjoy working, is providing customers with a product and service that they need, at the highest level of excellence… I live to make our customers happy.
After commuting between Kwa-Zulu Natal, Johannesburg and Cape Town for nine months… the big decision to move to the BIG CITY was made. There have been sacrifices, as we only get to see our children once a month, we work 12 hour days, and it’s much colder in Gauteng.
We are making a difference.
In August we are opening the only dedicated NON GMO maize mill in South Africa.
South Africa is the only country in the world who has allowed a staple food to be genetically modified. Due to the new technology we will be utilizing, we’ll be able to supply NON GMO Super maize meal to South Africans at the same price as GM maize. Although there is as yet no scientific proof that GM products affect our health, GM products have only been around for 30 years, so who knows what the long term implications are for our population who started eating it from a very young age.
Broken rice into flour… is a product currently used mainly by the large cereal manufacturers and baby food producers, however, as there is a growing awareness of people being gluten intolerant we are promoting our rice flour, especially in bakeries and food manufactures… with the hope that they’ll respond with long term support.
We are excited to enter the retail market with stone milled brown and white rice flour.
We have formed a partnership with a Co Op of women to pack our new product range, which is in support of our long term vision of creating sustainable jobs.
What I have learned…
The customer is not always right, but She is Queen, so treat them as such.
Treat your employees like you would your best customer.
Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses… you can’t do it all alone.
Good and on time, is always better than perfect and late.
Talk to everyone… and anyone, you never know what will come of it… a new friendship… new business… a source of information or advice.
Never stop learning, it doesn’t matter what you are learning about.
Believe in yourself!
Life is about curve balls, and learning to know how to handle them and survive them.
Do I know who I am now?
What I want from life?
Am I an individual with worth?
I am still learning things about myself.
I know I want more every day, however not in terms of money.
SA Rice Mills
Address: 8 Lovu Street, Protec Park, Kempton Park
Tel: +27(11) 976 4723
Please like Jo’s SA Rice Mills Facebook page!