Bessem Enonchong

Position: Business Development, Kosan Crisplant Cameroon
Employed since: May 2006
Education: Master's degree in History, Political Science and Pedagogy

The beginning

I joined Kosan Crisplant Cameroon in 2006 as Sales and Marketing Manager for the brand GLOCALGAZ - LPG distribution in cylinders. It was an interesting but difficult task as it meant launching a new product in a highly competitive market. Besides the competitors, we had the challenge of getting LPG users to accept a whole new technology with less flexibility regarding the unique features of the cylinders and the regulator.

My time with GLOCALGAZ was exceptional. It was a great learning experience starting not only a new company but launching a new product. All procedures and processes, from administration to sales and marketing, had to be defined and put into place.

Where I am today

In the end of 2008, I joined the KC Cameroon team responsible for equipment sales in the African region. With zero technical skills, this move was the biggest challenge in my entire career because it was like having eyes, but not being able to see, so to speak. However, with the support of my colleagues all over the world, I managed. Also, I have had further training on sales techniques and equipment and accessories.

I am now responsible for getting sales leads and responding to them. I work on all sales leads in the KC portfolio from single machines over contracting and engineering to service and trading. Some leads I immediately respond to and others I forward to colleagues elsewhere in the organization, but either way, I make sure no project sleeps, monitoring the status of each case on a regular basis.

I also ensure that we follow up on each customer's project from the time of order to delivery and start-up. Besides this, I do delivery on site for local clients especially for most of the trading (components and parts). This to the amazement of many, as they expect to see a man!

Being a woman in a man's world

Growing up in a family with six children, I have always been used to carrying out male household chores, especially when my brothers were out of the house. It taught me the value of hard work, which I believe has benefitted my work in KC. Today, I still meet people who do not expect to see a woman in my position and it takes time for them to adjust to this new development in the industry.

Nonetheless, it is a wonderful experience to be a woman in a man's world. It is less stressful because men tend to bring a positive and relaxed energy to the office. Typically, men are more easy-going and patient, thus reflecting Kosan Crisplant as an organisation. However, I do face challenges being a woman in a man's world: In my experience, at social gatherings, men are hardly in a hurry to call it a night and they enjoy staying out till late, whereas women often rush home to their families. And sometimes, because I am surrounded by men all the time, it feels like I am losing a bit of my femininity. But at the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh the challenges.