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Nonhlanhla Tshabalala


A Visionary on a Journey of Empowerment

Meet Nonhlanhla (Noni) Tshabalala, a visionary and optimist at heart, who has been making waves in the automotive industry as the Transformation Director and HR Manager at the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). In this inspiring interview, Noni shares her personal and professional journey, shedding light on the challenges she faced, her passion for empowering women, and her unwavering commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the association.

A Mother’s Inspiring Influence

From the outset, it is evident that Noni draws immense strength from her role model, her own mother. Growing up as an orphan, her mother’s determination to build a life from nothing has been the driving force behind Noni’s own journey. As she eloquently puts it, “your circumstances don’t define you,” and indeed, Noni embodies this belief.

Impactful Initiatives at RMI

As the Transformation Director and HR Manager at RMI, Noni has been instrumental in implementing strategies to promote diversity and inclusion within the industry. One of the most impactful initiatives has been the ‘Women Driving Change’ events, where women within the industry are celebrated and inspired to reach greater heights. Through these events, the fire within women is ignited, and they are encouraged to support and empower each other.

Equality at RMI

At RMI, equality is not just a buzzword. Noni ensures that women are given equal opportunities for growth and advancement. The organisation’s processes, policies, and procedures promote fairness, and gender does not determine one’s potential for success. Women are not confined to specific roles; instead, they are encouraged to seize any opportunity they desire.

Noni herself is a testament to the success of RMI’s transformation initiatives. Through the internal training department, she was provided with an opportunity to pursue higher education, transforming her career from possessing only a Matric certificate to earning a B.Com Honours Degree. Her journey serves as an inspiration to other women who have also benefited from RMI’s dedication to empowering its employees.

Paying it Forward

Encouraging women to participate in leadership development programs and take on challenging roles is a passion of Noni. She believes in paying it forward, just as Mrs Renee Coetsee, a leader within RMI, once did for her. Through motivation and empowerment, Noni strives to break the barriers that women face in male-dominated industries. “Lighting someone else’s candle doesn’t dim your light,” she says, exemplifying her belief in uplifting others.

Noni’s Advice for Other Associations

When asked for advice to other associations seeking to create a culture of empowerment and inclusivity for their female staff, Noni highlights the importance of nurturing internal talent. Identifying potential within the organisation and working closely with management to develop and empower staff is the key to building an inclusive legacy. Noni envisions an industry where leadership roles are earned through merit and where gender is no longer a defining factor.


Noni’s journey in the automotive industry is a testament to perseverance, resolve, and the power of empowerment. Her dedication to driving change, promoting diversity, and providing equal opportunities has not only transformed her own life but also touched the lives of countless other women in the industry. As we celebrate her success, let us be inspired by her story and strive to make the automotive industry a place where all can thrive and excel, regardless of gender.