Published On: 19 March 2024

Meet an inspiring THINKer who lives our values entirely and truthfully – both at work and at home

Born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, love and kindness were the cornerstones of Noluthando Gwala’s upbringing, shaping the way she lives her life. Now, as a mother of two wonderful boys, she devotes much of her free time to exploring new recipes with them, watching movies, dancing to the latest TikTok trends, and reading – especially Bible stories.

“My tenure at THINK has been truly remarkable, especially considering it’s only been nine months. It already feels like I’ve been part of this family forever,” smiles Noluthando. “Right from my very first day in the office, I sensed a welcoming atmosphere. The entire staff greeted me with broad smiles, warm hugs, and, of course, offers of coffee.” To her delight, upon arrival, her personalised laptop awaited her – a clear sign that business at THINK is taken seriously. “I must mention the unique start I had,” adds Noluthando. “Joining on a Thursday meant my first day was a half day, and to top it off, Fridays were also half days. This was sheer luxury for me, having never experienced such flexibility in my nine years in the corporate world,” she laughs.

Noluthando officially commenced her role at THINK on June 1, 2023, coinciding with the THINK 10-year anniversary celebrations. “Talk about perfect timing,” she says. “During the anniversary event the presentations intrigued me, signalling ample opportunities for growth within THINK. I knew I was in the right place.”

I established a database to analyse the impact of training on healthcare professionals and traditional healers. The training significantly impacted tuberculosis detection and containment in disadvantaged areas of KwaZulu-Natal,” she explains.

Fortunately, receiving information from the four districts posed minimal challenges, because filing was done accordingly – a testament to the strong team work culture at THINK. “Despite the project’s closure, everyone worked cohesively to ensure a seamless wrap-up. Working with the Clinical Trial and Research Unit (CTU) was enlightening, as the team constantly shared new insights,” says Noluthando – who in January this year transitioned to the People and Culture Department as  Skills and Development Officer. “Our recent massive recruitment efforts demanded exceptional teamwork and communication. Despite the stress and demands, I’ve grown to love my role even more. It’s been an enriching journey, and I’m excited for what lies ahead.”

A typical day at THINK for Noluthando begins with coffee and warm greetings. “There are notably kind individuals who circulate around the office, extending greetings to everyone, including the management, which sets a positive tone for the day. As the day progresses, we immerse ourselves in our work, encountering new challenges that demand our best efforts to make a difference in serving the people. As the clock strikes 4.30pm, managers step in and encourage us to head home. They emphasise the importance of a work-life balance, staunchly believing in the value of rest and spending quality time with family. At THINK, adherence to work hours and the preservation of family time are deeply respected principles.”

One of the most rewarding aspects of working at THINK, for Noluthando, is the opportunity to directly impact individuals’ lives by helping them acquire new skills and develop professionally. “Witnessing the growth and progress of individuals under your guidance can be immensely gratifying,” she says. “By facilitating skills development within an organisation, you also have the opportunity to contribute to its overall growth and success.”

Developing effective training programs often requires creative problem-solving and innovative thinking. “Overall, being a Skills and Development Officer offers the opportunity to make a positive impact, foster growth, and continuously learn and innovate in the field of professional development. These aspects can make the role deeply fulfilling for someone who is passionate about helping others grow and succeed.”

Speaking about our beloved THINK culture, Noluthando smiles. “I love that we are a family. We are supportive and work patiently with each other, communicating all our differences – which results in great teamwork.”

Noluthando feels that living THINK’s values entails embodying a commitment to caring for both people and outcomes, fostering passion, tenacity, creativity, and innovation – all while striving to make a meaningful difference. “I endeavour to align my actions with these values in various aspects of my professional conduct. Embracing challenges with resilience and determination, I aim to inspire others and drive positive change within the organisation,” she says. Moreover, she is committed to making a difference not only within the confines of her role, but also in the broader context of societal impact. “Whether through volunteering, mentoring, or participating in community initiatives, I strive to contribute positively to the communities in which I live and work,” she says – adding that she holds a deep-seated dream of making a meaningful difference in the lives and futures of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW).

At THINK, Noluthando harbour ambitious aspirations for her professional journey. “Securing a significant opportunity within less than a year underscores the potential for advancement present within the organisation. A distinguishing attribute of THINK is its steadfast commitment to fostering growth and self-improvement,” she says. “Given the abundant skills development initiatives offered by the company, I aspire to leverage these opportunities to expand my capabilities and position myself for elevated roles. I am currently in the process of registering for a PhD program in the School of Public Health, aiming to expand my avenues for professional growth and development at THINK.”