True hallmark of humble success

Cindy Preller

IT is not everyone who gets asked twice to head up a major corporate company's regional office. But then Carol Hall is not your average exec.

The Vodacom managing executive of operations in the eastern region has climbed the corporate ladder at an even faster pace than the advancement of cellular technology, but it is clear she has remained a humble and caring person at heart.

Born and bred in the Eastern Cape, Hall jokes that despite many opportunities to move elsewhere in the country, " she had dug her heals in here", and would not want to move from the province she loves.

Fluent in Xhosa, Hall often travels to rural Eastern Cape where she can communicate with staff and customers in their own language.

"This skill has been a very valuable asset. I did Xhosa as an extra language at school and my late nanny raised me by sitting every day and teaching me to speak Xhosa properly," Hall said.

After matriculating at Westering High School - where she was deputy head girl - in 1988, Hall began her career in the banking industry until the "birth of cellular".

Starting out as a sales consultant in 1994 for Vodac - a former service provider of Vodacom - Hall soon moved up the ranks to corporate sales manager, dealer sales manager and later, regional manager of Vodac in 1999. When Vodac merged with Vodacom, Hall became executive head of sales and marketing for Vodacom Eastern Cape in 2000.

"Cellular is such a dynamic industry and it has truly been an incredible journey to be a part of," she said.

" It just gets better and better. We started off with cellular technology only but are now able to offer complete ICT solutions including fixed line access and managed services to both government and large companies."

Shortly after completing her MBA in 2004, Hall was appointed as the managing executive of Vodacom Eastern Cape. She was the first female to run a region in the company's history and the first person from a commercial instead of a technical background to be appointed to this position in the company.

In leading her 108 staff members, Hall believes in transparency, an open door policy and setting an example at all times.

"It's important to be honest and treat people the way you would like to be treated. I truly care for my employees. We spend a vast amount of time at work and therefore people should be happy at work. We have to work like a team or a family towards one goal," Hall said.

Similarly, this is the approach Hall shares with her own family - husband Brian and two daughters. She left Vodacom and took time out in 2010 to be with her family and was involved with the family business.

"When the region was restructured I was offered my old position again.

"It was good to come back on January 1 this year, after two and a half years away, and I have a fresh approach to the business.

"I was surprised at how quickly the technology has advanced in the short period that I was away. We are now better positioned to serve our customers end to end."

Hall said her goals were to have the best network and quality service in the region for Vodacom in the Eastern Cape.

"But personally, the most rewarding part of my job is to be able to go home at night and know that I have made a difference."