Local Willy Wonka Honoured With Role Model Award

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Local Willy Wonka Honoured With Role Model Award

Chartered accountant Mariam Tayob Cassim is “living the sweet life” after taking a leap of faith – that would eventually see her enterprise become one of the biggest candy manufacturers in the country.

Based in Sunderland Ridge, Centurion, Richester Foods was founded in 2005 by Cassim and her husband Dr Hussein. 17 years later, the pair have built a sweet making powerhouse that is remnant of a candy haven.

Richester has gained momentum year on year and the woman behind it all who certainly seems to be doing it all was recently recognised by the Accenture Gender Mainstreaming Awards earlier this month. The awards aims to recognise individuals and corporates for their contribution to enriching and endorsing women in the business world. Cassim walked away with the prestigious Positive Role Model Award that saw 450 individuals nominated.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would even be considered for this award, let alone win. Its amazing how the world works ,you go to work every single day in the good and the bad days you are present. Then you give it your absolute best, you treat your staff well, you pay your taxes, you try never to take short cuts and you treat your customers well always putting them 1st and all of a sudden you wake up one day and you have stories and experiences worthy of being nominated for awards. Its truly so humbling,” explained Cassim.

A mother of three and a highly skilled CA, Cassim and her team built Richester from the ground up, starting with virtually no equipment and making sweets by hand – today the Richester factory produces around 7000 sweets per minute.

“We started our business from very humble beginnings with the bare minimum of equipment and knowledge of how to make candies but worked exceptionally hard, persisted and today we employ 650 employees and produce 20 different sweet products and 120 difference sku’s.”

Having grown up under the guidance of her business savvy dad, Cassim honed the knowledge she was given and maintains her mantra is “hard work”. During her younger years she was mentored by both her father and her grandfather.

“As the eldest of three daughters and no sons, my dad, Rafiq Tayob literally raised me like a son and shared his invaluable business knowledge with me every chance he got. As a direct result of this upbringing, I grew up believing there’s absolutely nothing I could not do if I put my mind to it,” said Cassim.

In addition to Cassim’s role model award, she was also named the Manufacturing & Processing Section Winner for uplifting the most number of women in business in the sector.

Cassim believes the sky is the limit and hopes to inspire a younger generation to challenge themselves and balance themselves.

“I do have the unshakable confidence and persistence to take a leap into the unknown, put in the long hours, and unapologetically pursue my dreams. This is why I believe I am where I am today. It is this very mindset that motivated me to begin a highly successful female mentorship programme in my company. Today, our top eight management team consists of 100% people of colour, of which 50% are women”

Cassim believes in maintaining a balanced healthy lifestyle, she spends a great deal of her spare time on her fitness and nutrition which she says is key to keeping herself on track during the trials and tribulations of daily life.

“My mother; Hajoo Tayob is my constant role model on how to be all-rounder in life, do it all, share with others, uplift others and show love and care to all around. She is the reason I am so determined to uplift those, especially women around me in the same way she uplifted me daily as I was growing up,” said Cassim.

Cassim is testament to the mountains that one can overcome when you put your mind to something and you put in the work!

Original Article Ladium Today

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