Sharon Sijako has served as East London Port Manager since December 2017 - only the second woman in the port's 120-plus year history to hold this position.
With over 20 years operational experience, coupled with a track record of strong leadership and strategic thinking, Sharon has a deep understanding of the port system and the challenges and opportunities faced by the maritime industry.
“My greatest priority is the development of the Port of East London,” she says.
“This will create jobs and assist in growing not only our Metro, but the entire eastern half of the Eastern Cape.”
Under her leadership the Port of East London has developed and presented a strong socio-economic case to the Transnet Board for a major, long overdue port expansion in East London to stimulate greater economic opportunities and investor confidence for the region.
She has also spearheaded the introduction of an expansive stakeholder engagement strategy both internally and externally, with the key objective of informing stakeholders of developments and soliciting support for the proposed port expansion.
The successful implementation of this strategy has ensured that the port’s key customers, stakeholders and employees have bought into the strategic direction of the Port of East London, thus ensuring long term financial viability for the port and its customers.
Sharon is passionate about women’s development and has actively championed for women to be fully developed in various positions inside and outside of the organisation.
“I am a firm believer in mentoring women in the workplace and continually seek out opportunities to steer and assist women in developing their skills and furthering their careers,” she says.
“I also place a high premium on self-belief, remaining true to myself and never compromising on my values of mutual respect. Even in the face of adversity, I have never deviated from these core principles, which have allowed me to prove that I am indeed capable of performing to the highest standards,” she concludes.
Sijako holds a BA (Social Sciences) and an Honours Degree in Business Administration from the University of the Western Cape. She has benefited from numerous leadership training initiatives throughout her career and is currently enrolled for a post graduate certificate in Business & Strategic Leadership with the University of Cranfield.