It's not the years in your life that count... it's the life in your years
Leanne Cole has been with the Comtest Group for 12 years, the last five as group marketing manager. Leanne took over the reins from Val Verwer, who retired two years ago.
Leanne has made multi-tasking a fine art – juggling any number of balls and keeping them all in the air at the same time. She’s the epitome of the ‘Duracell bunny’ and keeps on going long after everyone else has fallen in a heap. Bubbly and cheerful, Leanne’s happy disposition lights up a room and her contagious positivity inspires the people around her.
Sparks: Where were you educated?
LC: After matriculating at Krugersdorp High School, I studied 3D animation at Boston Media House.
Sparks: How long have you been involved in the electrical industry?
LC: I’ve been directly involved in the electrical industry for five years.
Sparks: When and where did you start your career?
LC: I started my career in 2002 working for Blur Production – a post-production house – where I was a video editor and 3D animator. I was fortunate enough to travel internationally and when I returned to South Africa in 2004, I began working at Instrotech and Calog Instruments where I ran their logistics department and was also in charge of the company’s desktop publishing. In 2010, the Comtest Group bought Instrotech and Calog Instruments and I was given the opportunity to pursue my passion in marketing full time.
Sparks: What are the greatest changes you have seen over the years?
LC: For me, it’s the way that technology keeps evolving, from manually entering data to now where, at the click of a button, information is made available to all concerned parties and informed decisions can be made.
Sparks: What major projects have you worked on and what is your greatest accomplishment?
LC: A major project was the launch of Calog Calibrators into the local and international markets; and I was part of a team that supplied over 25 Inspecta Steam Leak Detection Systems into power stations’ boilers in India and South Africa.
Sparks: Have you won any awards?
LC: Yes, I recently received the ‘Best Online Presence’ award from Fluke Industrial Tools in Dubai.
Sparks: Who has been your inspiration or have you had a mentor who has influenced your career?
LC: One of the people who has inspired me is Walt Disney because he created an empire with the stroke of a pencil!
Sparks: What, to your mind, is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry at this time?
LC: The uncertainty is a challenge … People not knowing whether they will have a job in the morning; our country’s political standing; the decline in the rand … But things seem to be changing of late and there is a more positive feeling within our market.
Sparks: What do you enjoy most about your job?
LC: It’s exciting knowing that each day will be different from the last. I get to work with great people and with cutting-edge products and brands. I enjoy seeing ideas come to fruition – from the research and development to marketing and getting the latest equipment out into the markets. I never have a dull moment and that is what I truly enjoy.
Sparks: How do you motivate your staff?
LC: I set a good example, concentrate on their happiness, empower them and give credit where credit is due.
Sparks: If you could ‘do it all again, would you change anything? If so, what would that be?
LC: No, I wouldn’t change anything.
Sparks: Would you advise a person leaving school to enter the electrical industry? And why?
LC: Yes. With electricity being part of everyone’s lives, from home to work to play, working in this industry gives one a sense of fulfilment and a great sense of accomplishment.
Sparks: What is your advice to electrical contractors and/or electrical engineers?
LC: Start young, ask questions, never stop learning and don’t be afraid of change.
Sparks: What is your favourite quote?
LC: “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln.
Sparks: Name three things on your ‘bucket list’ (things you want to do before you ‘kick the bucket’).
LC: I want to visit Rovaniemi in Lapland and watch the northern lights from inside a glass igloo; visit all seven wonders of the world, man-made, natural and old world; and visit the European Christmas markets.