Who is Mmenyana Ranku?
I’m a Christian, a wife and mother of two inquisitive girls. I’m the epitome of success driven from within, as I made my way up from humble beginnings. I was born and raised in rural Mokopane in Limpopo, yet today I’m a well-rounded woman.
I’ve been with KFC for almost five years and held various roles, ranging from Senior Marketing Manager to currently the Operations Director for KFC Africa’s Owned Restaurants. I’m responsible for delivering high standards and accountability to achieve consistent business profit and growth.
What is your fondest memory of a younger you in a leadership role?
My mom passed on when I was 12 years old and responsibility kicked in immediately as I had to fend for myself and play caregiver to my younger brother. While in primary school, I liked playing school with my neighbours and was always ‘the principal’ while my peers played ‘teachers and pupils’.
Name four skills one needs to succeed as a leader?
Leadership can be challenging without planning the destination, the “what” and the “how”. You can’t be a leader of self only, you also lead people. Once the destiny is clear, you then need to influence those around you and make them believe and buy into your thinking.
I realised I couldn’t do it all alone very early in my career. A leader needs to want the team to win. It’s not always about your personal but rather a team success. Working alone is tiring and won’t take you far; after all, it’s not a marathon.
Successful leaders are courageous. It’s about being comfortable with making unpopular decisions and stretching yourself. Guiding people is not always comfortable, it’s important to demonstrate your intention to make all succeed without making them feel small. Being courageous doesn’t mean being rude but a skill to air your views constructively.
Leaders ought to know what are their super powers and their weaknesses. This helps one to develop ways of closing their gaps. It could be surrounding yourself with people who will bring the skill and empowering you. One can’t know it all, people trust a leader who’s open and shares what her limitations are.
What are some of the challenges you face as a black woman in leadership?
We have limited roles models, so in most circumstances, we still lack exposure. In my example, no one in my family has ever held an executive role in a multinational. Most of the time we’re the ones paving way for others. So, there’s a lot of trial and error for black women. We always play catch-up.
Accepting this conundrum was my key to access because I learned to navigate through. The mentors and coaches we come across mostly advise us using theory and not experience. They’re not black nor women, they don’t have personal experience, so it’s knowing what to take and how to use the guidance.
The biggest challenge for me was a mindset shift and not playing victim.