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Kim-Lee Wentzel-Ricketts is dynamic, creative and determined. She’s also passionate about the development of people and ensuring they’re equipped with the tools to reach their full potential.

A registered psychologist with a masters’ degree in industrial psychology, here’s how Kim-Lee uses her skills and influence to make a difference…

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Making organisations more effective

Kim-Lee works in an area of industrial psychology called “organisational effectiveness”. “My focus areas include working in culture, diversity and inclusion across Africa, especially within the LGBTQIA+ spaces, employee value proposition and employee wellbeing,” she says. “My current projects involve hybrid working and setting up organisations for the future world of work.”

Kim-Lee is currently completing her PhD in health sciences with a focus on developing a parenting programme that will facilitate empowering conversations in families for decision-making and readying them to navigate the future world of work.

But that’s not all…

A multi-hyphenate

Kim-Lee’s experience extends to working as a consultant and business partner at senior management level, delivering high-level strategic input and best practice. And she writes too. “In 2021, I added author to my multi-feathered hat when I contributed to a book called Industrial-Organisational Psychologists Engaging with the New World of Work.”

Kim-Lee feels strongly about giving back to communities through motivational talks, connecting with corporates and scholars – especially the youth – to exchange knowledge and experiences from her journey. Her goal? “To be a voice of encouragement and an example of perseverance,” she says.

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And then there’s that clothing label, and an NPO…

Kim-Lee describes a personal milestone as having launched her own clothing label – currently stocked online at various boutiques across the Western Cape. “And my non-profit organisation, Khanyisa Worx, where my focus is on the development and empowerment of women of all ages,” she adds.

On being a change-maker

“Being a leader and change-maker has always been a part of my nature,” says Kim-Lee. “The reason for me embarking on this career path is my passion for people development and helping individuals reach their full potential. I’m always intrigued by innovation, and how corporates can navigate within the 4th industrial revolution to better themselves and their environment to create inclusive spaces that are conducive to personal and professional development.”

To be a change-maker, Kim-Lee believes you have to have a passion for people and development, and creating improvements to the environment in which people find themselves. Keen to follow suit? “Then identify what sector you’re interested in working in e.g. financial services, NGO, telecomms etc. Expose yourself to job-shadowing opportunities and identify people in the industry with whom you’d like to connect,” she says.

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On coping with “corporate”

According to Kim-Lee, the challenge she and so many other women of colour face is that of being seen and heard in a corporate space. But it hasn’t deterred her. “Within this challenge I have found possibility in equipping myself with tools that have helped me navigate to where I am today,” she says.

Another challenge? Ageism. “I entered the corporate scene at a young age and had to build conviction and credibility in who I was and my offering. I soon learnt that to make my mark I needed to speak up, find my voice and step into my light by challenging myself to show up, and placing myself in uncomfortable spaces to grow, so that I maintain my seat at the table,” she says.

Kim-Lee has overcome the drama that comes with corporate by persevering and turning challenges into opportunities. “Every day brings new challenges; for me, it’s about defining who you are and what you bring to the table, remaining resilient and persevering,” she says.

Advice for female leaders…

“As we learn and grow, we must plough back, strengthening the bridge of enlightenment that all may cross over it and reach their full potential,” says Kim-Lee. “We have the power to uplift and empower each other to thrive and be the change that we want to see. Use what you have to affect and effect change – share your knowledge and experience, and be another’s opportunity to then pay it forward. Don’t compare your life or your achievements to others. Remember that you are your biggest competition.”

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