MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN 2016/17
LEADING EDGE | From Strength to Strength
by Taryn Moir
From Strength to Strength
The ongoing willingness to keep learning, growing and developing are the things that keep Carla da Silva, Regional Director for Air Mauritius, ticking. Dispite challenges in Africa’s rapidly growing economy, Carla continues to thrive and this is why she is one of our leadership icons. Starting from humble beginnings as an air hostess in the aviation sector, she has grown from strength to strength.
Carla da Silva, Regional Manager for Southern Africa and Latin America, Air Mauritius
What are the primary influences, in your thinking, that leads to obtaining your level of success?
I have established a wonderful circle of mentors and coaches in my life that assist in my growth and development. I have a positive outlook on life because optimism plays an important role in my success. This passion and dedication I have deep within me, for what I do on a business and personal level, definitely leads to my successful mind-set. My family, in particular my daughter, as well my faith, also enhances my success.
How do you as a business leader remain agile and focused on your business principles in the face of rapidly changing economic times?
The only constant in life and in the world of business is change. The world is a global village, ever-changing and dynamic so embracing change and finding innovative ways to address business challenges is key for any leader. I have learnt to embrace change. Working in the aviation arena, has taught me that every day is a different day that you need to constantly review and then anticipate the changes that may occur. In this way I remain focused, attentive and take a helicopter view on business, allowing me to remain agile.
Our youth population is rapidly expanding, what are the attributes that young professionals should possess in order to get ahead?
The youth of today need to develop their entrepreneurial skills, embrace change and be innovative in order to get ahead. Ongoing willingness and eagerness to keep learning, doing new things and remaining humble is also key to their success. They need to develop all-rounder skills, show initiative and work hard to fulfil their dreams
Your role at Air Mauritius gives you a good outlook over regional integration and what it can offer.
In your opinion, are there opportunities that can be capitalised on?
Learning from best practices set on a world scale and applying such practices is definitely an area of opportunity. Development of skills by transferring skills, as well as sharing of technology and infrastructure, is also an area that companies can capitalise on. Inspiration and sharing success stories is also an important element of integration, along with having ongoing conversations about emerging challenges and areas of potential growth.
Reframing challenges to be converted into business opportunities - how would you go about doing this?
The world is ever-changing and dynamic so embracing challenges and finding the opportunities to address the challenges is key. The way to go about it is to embrace and accept the challenge, find the innovative ways to address them by establishing specific, measurable and timeous strategies to resolve such challenges. Great leaders see opportunities in challenges as there are always lessons to be learnt.
What role do SME’s play when looking at regional integration in your sector?
The value chain of aviation is extensive, so small and medium enterprises (SME’s) play a vital role. As an example, suppliers, airport operators, ground handling companies, caterers, travel partners, procurement and marketing all assist in ensuring the successful operation of an airline. SMEs grow their businesses by providing services and working with the aviation value chain, resulting in job creation and growth for many businesses around the world and therefore, aviation is an economic enabler. Regional integration with companies establishing branches, offices and partnering with all companies in the region is also assisting in the growth and development of SMEs and the continent.
What does effective leadership mean to you?
An effective leader is: an individual that has the ability to inspire, uplift, persuade, positively influence and grow others.
A humble leader understands the importance of humility and taking people on a journey along with them. They have an exciting vision displaying passion and joy, exciting others to get involved and follow this exciting vision – a true sense of a belonging, feeling part of a ‘family’ is very important. A leader has the ability to lead with the mind and the heart, applying the business expertise whilst remaining congruent, possessing integrity and love for others.