We would like to extend our congratulations to Bugs and Sparks co-owner, Nicolette Ford, for being the first woman voted in as Chairperson of the South African Pest Control Association (SAPCA).
Nicolette started her working career in the hospitality industry where she learned valuable sales and marketing skills from team leaders, managers and mentors. Through her experiences she soon identified a niche in the pest control industry, after which she and her husband, Craig, bought into Bugs and Sparks, who were outsourcing their pest control work at the time.
Making waves in a man’s world
Nicolette soon went on to become qualified as a structural pest control technician, a wood-destroying organisms inspector and a structural fumigator, and began working on domestic and commercial sites. Nicolette began making waves in the industry. Clients loved the fact that a woman arrived in safety boots, with a ladder under her arm, to crawl around in their ceilings and do inspections.
In 2014 Nicolette was voted onto SAPCA Western Cape’s committee as Secretary. She contributed her knowledge and experience in the areas of wood-destroying organisms and general pest investigations and was voted Vice-Chairperson of the association last year. Nicolette has just accepted the position of Chairperson, the first woman to do so.
The CEO of SAPCA, Lynette Cokayne says, “I got to know Nicolette as a dynamic person with a charismatic and charming personality. She connects well with everyone, is professional and organized. As the chairperson in Western Cape, she plays a significant role as leader in uplifting the Industry. Welcome to the SAPCA Board team.”
The Vice Chairman of SAPCA National, Johan Fourie says, “I worked closely with Nicolette on SAPCA matters the past 4 years where she served as Vice-Chairman: Western Cape. She is always professional and eager to help and to assist SAPCA members with issues.
Her election of Chairperson: Western Cape makes her the right person for steering the Western Cape. I am even more proud to see her in this leading position in an industry which is dominated by men. Congratulations for serving on the Board of Directors now, I am looking forward to working with you at the highest level.”
Big plans for Bugs and Sparks
Nicolette’s focus in her new role at SAPCA will include assisting in rolling out a big project planned for its members in the New Year, as well as a public relations campaign aimed at the property and food service industries.
Nicolette says, “I am often one of a handful of women in a room filled with big personalities who have 30 to 40 years more experience than what I have. Women have the upper hand when it comes to investigating. We are curious by nature and that makes us excellent information gatherers – handy to use when we have to market to specific target groups of clients.”
Advise to aspiring women leaders
As for what she has learned from growing in the pest control industry, she suggests the following to women aspiring to be leaders in their fields:
- Find a killer mentor. Find someone who is on a career path that you admire and spend time with them;
- Be a good listener. Meet with someone face-to-face and give 100% of your attention;
- Go above the requirements of a job. Be a source of energy and bring solutions to problems;
- Don’t let fear get in the way of your confidence.
“Believe in your capabilities and surround yourself with a tribe of teammates who support, advise and push you,” she says.
We are excited to see the positive changes that Nicolette will bring to Bugs and Sparks and SAPCA. Keep an eye out for what is to come.