Sales has traditionally been a male-dominated world, so when Anitha Kanyana was hired as a business development manager for a security company, also a male-dominated field, she felt the pressure to fit in. The kind of work that the company does involves climbing poles, working night hours and past working hours. It was a bit tricky when she saw this but the passion drew her to the job. “Usually when I go for an interview, I tell the interviewer to tell me what they believe in. When I had my interview with Invictus, they sold to me what they had, which was cyber security, maintenance, and visual surveillance and I fell in love with it and the environment, but I did not know it was a male dominated field. Mostly I fell in love with what they were selling and it was the perfect growth that I was looking for,” the 24-year-old says. However, when she joined, she quit wearing dresses and skirts because, she wanted to fit in with the men that dominated the workspace. Eventually, she had to learn and unlearn so many things as a woman. “I wanted to be tomboy but later on, what I understood is as a man, when you join an organisation, you are exactly what they need and if you are a woman and you join an organisation, you are exactly what they need. “I realised that they needed me to be a woman, and fully, a woman who’s going be herself to do her makeup and touch up the office a little bit if she wanted to. At first, the office was very serious, with everybody minding their own business but now there is more laughter,” she says of her experience. Referring to singer James Brown’s ‘It’s a man’s, man’s, man’s world but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman’, she believes that if there wasn’t a woman to overlook and put that woman into the feel of it, it wouldn’t be as good as it is right now. “I believe in gender equality, I have lived it. So there is no excuse not to shine.” “Wherever you are and whatever field that you are in, you are there for a reason, so serve it because they employed you and you fit. Do not try to fit in in other ways because that same personality is what they needed and that’s going to serve. “I have come across some things that I know I wouldn’t have faced if I was a woman, but again, get past it and move forward. Learn from it and get tougher if you have to but the person that you are is exactly what you need,” she adds. Even though her job does not require her to climb poles, she has learned to take humble pie every single day, and learn. “When I joined this company, I had so much energy but they taught me to calm down because there are some things that I needed to know. It’s not just selling but understanding. “I need information from people who have climbed poles because at the end of the day when I knock on somebody’s door, they are going to tell me things that they face, which involves what I’m selling. I stay close to the engineers and watch them, I pick up on the conversation, how cameras work and how they overcome their challenges, which I will carry to somebody’s office and create the right impression,” she says. Challenges As a salesperson, her main challenge has been the market in her field of work. The buying power is still low as people don’t understand the need for security, and that it’s not just about the cameras. As her company looks to expand to the private sector and wider clientele, she hopes that more people will be enlightened about the need for quality security. “They want to buy cameras and install them but they don’t understand the need to be provided with quality and knowledge. You might buy a camera and install it but you don’t know the qualities that are needed for your security. As a company it’s our duty to activate cameras to suit your needs with the exact feature, give you the consultancy and maintenance that you need which saves you money and time. For now, she has learned to be appreciative of what she has and is grateful for the opportunities for growth that life has given her. “Before I was a salesperson, I was freelance and my dream was to get a monthly paying job, get my insurance and when I got to street sales I thought ‘I would do anything to get to the corporate world.’ “My whole life was about achieving the next goal and now I’ve learned to appreciate the journey and experience that I am going through. Who set the target of having your dream job at your 30, why can’t you have it now? Where I see myself is just being a better me,” she concludes.