Learning Journey: Thato Phakela

Learning Journey: Thato Phakela

Date: July 1, 2020
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“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”Pele

Coming back to Gender links has been a great opportunity for me. I came back to the place where my career all started, where my professional journey began.  You can imagine my excitement when I got a call from the CEO Mme Colleen telling me there is a space for me at GL, an opportunity for me to be part of this amazing team. I did not even have to sit and contemplate about it because I knew without a doubt that this is where I wanted to be. 

Two weeks later I left Lesotho coming to a place I now call home. I was however filled with a lot of mixed emotions, anxious and excited at the same time about the journey I was about to embark on. I should say it has been a learning one. 2019 was a year of growth for me, growing both personally and professionally. 

Upon my arrival I was introduced to a lot of technical systems in communications which I was not familiar with, this was a bit overwhelming at the beginning, but I had to dive in and learn. Every day has been and still is a learning journey. 

Even though I felt overwhelmed at times I did not allow these feeling to drown me but I persevered to learn and stay on top of the game, trying hard to swim through it all. Not having an IT background was a huge challenge for me as my work demanded the use of IT. I should thank my two good friends Thando and Albert who were patient enough with me to teach me the basics I needed to know to get the job done.

I have learned that communications work and audio visual production go hand in hand and audio visual production is one of the skills I need to obtain to improve my work portfolio. I have learned and started taking videos however the final production of video skill is still lacking and I need to sharpen it to be fully equipped in doing my work. 

Time management is another competency I have had to develop at Gender Links, as everything at GL is time based. I learned that our work at GL is in some way interconnected and not managing your work and doing it on time does not end with you but affects other people in the organisation as well, therefore time management is an essential instrument one needs in order to get things moving. 

 Doing my work from start to finish is one of the many skills I have gained in the process of my learning journey. To achieve this I had to learn to prioritise my work. Tarisai who is my immediate supervisor taught me among many other things the importance of prioritising my work and ensuring that I pay attention to detail in order to get best results in everything I do. I should say she has played a huge role in helping me improving my personal and professional growth. 

I am grateful to have a manager like her who priorities my growth as much as she does her own. She has been very patient with me always pushing me to do my best. Thank you Tari for believing in me even when I did not believe so much in myself and always reminding me the importance of self-improvement. 

Writing this learning journey during the lockdown has made me realise that at Gender Links we are more of a family than just colleagues, it has taught me to appreciate each and every one of you and never to take time spend together at the office for granted. As a communications officer my work cross cuts through the whole organisation and I am in one way or another connected to everyone, thank you all for different roles you play in my life and the knowledge you impart daily, I appreciate you all.  

Thato Phakela, GL Media and Communications  Officer

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