Spotlighting South Africa’s Sue Moodley: Entrepreneur, Breast Cancer Advocate, Change Agent

Sue Moodley was born and bred in Lenasia, South Africa, an avid entrepreneur and owner of a multi-million rand company (Pluminco Trade). Sue started her company from a garage. A finalist on Mrs Commonwealth SA 2017, an ambassador and active supporter of the Pink Drive initiative - breast cancer awareness campaign. ..

Wealth creates wealth, some say and that being born into a family with unlimited cash, is a sure way for anyone to become successful.

For 37 year old Sue Moodley, this theory has proven not to be very accurate. Sue worked hard to become her own success story.

17 years ago at the tender age of 20, she started Pluminco Trade, a  building, plumbing and sanitary wholesale company she founded with her father. Today, Pluminco Trade is a multi-million rand company.

As a successful entrepreneur, Sue decided to contest in the Mrs Commonwealth 2017 pageant as a way to give back, and avenue to also share her knowledge and path to success with others.  The pageant supports Pink Drive, a NGO which supports Breast Cancer Awareness.

Raised in very humble beginnings, her journey to become a businesswoman, was one that not accidently landed on her lap.

“I was born in KwaZulu-Natal and brought to Johannesburg at a very young age at a time when my parents were struggling during the Apartheid Era. Many Indian households were barely putting food on the table let alone given the opportunity to open a business. It was here that my dad became my business partner and mentor, we started Pluminco Trade Services, a housing and infrastructure development company aimed at integrated and sustainable housing and infrastructure development.

“When I graduated from high school, money was scarce so University was something that I would have to leave off for a while. I knew early on, if I wanted to further my education I was going to fund myself. I took on a reception job just after high school at a diamond cutting firm in down town Johannesburg. It was here answering telephones that I mastered the art of people skills. Knowing people it’s like knowing business”.

“I slowly moved up to sales which brought out the competitive side in me, the drive to get that sale. But also knew that I was working for a boss and nothing was ever going to come from it. I earned a lot of commission back then, and this motivated me to invest in my own business which took off  soon after. I remember when I told my dad we should open a business. He looked at me – this young 20 years old. What did I know about business?”

Never in her wildest dreams did she think that her business would take off like it did.

One day that dream soon became a reality, my dad got retrenched. We cooked up a plan and from there it grew. I took telephone sales and he did the deliveries and vice versa.

“All my staff was cheap labour, they were my parents. I laugh at it now, but boy did I not have HR problems.”

Business was going well, Sue had been married with two kids. But she wasn’t prepared for her biggest challenge yet.

“In 2009 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was an emotional roller-coaster, watching someone you love and and an integral part of the business we started was hard for me. I had a young child, my business was in the prime, it was doing well, and I was juggling chemo and doctor visits with my mom, who was losing the battle with the disease. Emotionally I was a wreck, I look back then and I realize how I ever got through those dark days.

“Life threw me a curveball; I was 5 months pregnant and never even knew it, with all the stress I never knew. My mom was called to rest at age 51, followed by the birth of my daughter a month later. I never handled the death very well, a new baby I found solace in what I knew best, business I focused on that.”

Three years Sue ventured into another business, Inkulu Plastics, a plastic pipe manufacturing business in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.

“I’ve recently entered the Mrs Commonwealth South Africa, purely because cancer has made such an impact in my life, to educate and motivate people, using my business and my education behind this disease. I honestly cannot say that I have become the person I am today, without knowing cancer, it’s allowed me to become a pillar, using my journey as a businesswoman. It’s not been easy, but I’ve come this far. And I plan on using my success in business, to become a community leader, a woman driven. If you can dream it, you can achieve it.

 

Submitted by Lungelwa Mnyamana

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DOING GOODEntrepreneur
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