Q&A: Vodacom's Carol Hall on climbing the corporate ladder

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Carol Hall, Vodacom Managing Executive for the Western Region.
Carol Hall, Vodacom Managing Executive for the Western Region.

Carol Hall is something of a pioneer. Having joined Vodacom in 1994, she started off in sales. Thirteen years later she became the first woman in the company appointed to manage a region - the Eastern Cape. She was also the first person appointed to the position from a sales and marketing background.

In an interview with Fin24, Hall - who was recently appointed managing executive of the Western Cape - said she was passionate about women in leadership. And, as part of her contribution to breaking down barriers for women entering the ICT sector, she mentors because she believes it's important to give back.

Her notable achievements include winning the corporate category of the Eastern Cape's Business Women's Association "business woman of the year" award in 2005. Hall has also served on the exco of the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber and the board of the Eastern Cape Education Development Trust.

In 2017, she was awarded the Vodacom CEO’s Award for Region of the Year 2017 and the CEO Special Recognition Award for Outstanding work.

She shared with Fin24 some of the lessons she has learnt over the course of her career.

Fin24: How would you describe your leadership style?

Hall: I am very consultative, and a very involved person. I like to be involved with the team, I'm a team player and a people's person.

Fin24: Which leader inspires you?

Hall: Nelson Mandela. I have drawn a lot from his leadership and live by a lot of his quotes from day to day.

One of my key values is to make a difference. "If I can make a difference in somebody's life, then I have truly lived – whether that be in a personal capacity or a work environment."

Fin24: What are some major lessons you have learnt?

Hall: It is okay to fall, it’s okay to make a mistake. It's about how quickly you get up or learn from that mistake.

In my coaching and mentoring I always tell people it is important how they handle criticism.

It is difficult to accept criticism, but you should embrace it and learn from it.

Fin24: What are some challenges you have had to overcome?

Hall: My biggest challenge has been to learn the technical side of the business (Vodacom). I come from a sales and marketing background. But I have been with the company since 1994, I have journeyed with them and I have learnt the technology as I go along. I engage with everyone and they have been so open to sharing.

Fin24: What would you tell your younger self?

Hall: You will never be able to process everything, but take whatever you feel is pertinent for where you are right now.

You need to have structure in your life – that is very important. We can be persuaded into looking at various things, and before you know it the day is over and you have not achieved your goals. It is important to be balanced.

Keep abreast of the times and allow technology to work for you rather than against you, so embrace it.

*This article was edited for brevity and clarity.

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