In the male-dominated automotive industry, Jasmeena Patel Shiba stands tall as a trailblazer, the first female Director of Royal Tyres in its 84-year history. Her journey from an IT Analyst in the UK to a prominent figure in the automotive world is a testament to her tenacity and passion for the family-run business.
Born in Durban in 1975, Jasmeena’s entry into the automotive industry was not a conventional one. Her father, recognising her potential, encouraged her and her sister to spend school holidays at the family business. Little did she know that these early experiences as ‘real-life receptionists’ would sow the seeds of her future career path.
Reflecting on her role models, Jasmeena is quick to praise every woman for the profound impact they have on society. The ability to embrace various roles, from daughter to wife to mother, and navigate through life’s challenges with adaptability and resilience, inspires her greatly. She finds inspiration in women who break through barriers, paving the way for others to succeed.
In life and in business, Jasmeena lives by her favourite quote from Ben Franci, “Be all in or get all out. There is no halfway.” This quote has driven her to commit fully to her role as a business owner, wife, and mother, all while maintaining a sense of balance. She acknowledges the importance of a strong support system, including her partner and family, who play a pivotal role in helping her manage the demands of her multifaceted life.
Vishal Premlall, national director of the Tyre, Equipment, Parts Association (TEPA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation, says it is encouraging to see so many more women entering and excelling in the sector. “And in Jasmeena’s case,” he says, “she managed to transition from an IT Analyst to Automotive Business Owner and has never looked back.”
Transitioning from an IT Analyst to an automotive business Director was however no small feat for Jasmeena. Joining the family business in 2011, she faced a steep learning curve, navigating unfamiliar terrain. Her determination to succeed, mentorship from her father, leaning on experienced professionals and the RMI and TEPA, and building relationships to overcome obstacles, became the foundation of her growth in the industry. “Her journey underscores the importance of continuous learning and growth,” says Premlall.
As a firm believer in women empowerment, Jasmeena has taken initiatives to support and uplift other women within her business and the industry. Through women empowerment programmes and free workshops on tyre-changing skills, she fosters a sense of community and camaraderie among female customers and industry peers.
To women aspiring to enter the automotive industry, Jasmeena offers invaluable advice. In a male-centric world, she advocates for women to embrace their unique strengths and not feel compelled to adopt masculine traits. By focusing on goals, leading by example, and persevering through challenges, women can shatter barriers and make their mark.
Jasmeena firmly believes that women in the automotive industry bring a fresh perspective and problem-solving skills to the table. They naturally multitask, making decisions and managing responsibilities with efficiency and grace. However, she recognises that there’s still progress to be made, and calls on women to trust in themselves, be their own champions, and push the boundaries of what’s possible.
“Jasmeena’s journey showcases the incredible potential and contribution of women in the automotive industry. We are also reminded of the incredible resilience and determination that women possess and her success stands as a testament to the grit and character required to thrive in this challenging yet rewarding domain,” concludes Premlall.