top of page

Isabel Nel | South Africa | Your IDEAS Are Valuable

Environmental Data Analyst / Account Manager at GCX

Hi my name is Isabel, I currently reside in Cape Town, South Africa. I am an avid reader and love learning. I was very fortunate to be able to complete tertiary education, completing a master’s degree in Political Science. Since then, I gained experience at a Media Intelligence company for over two years. During this time, I became increasingly passionate about sustainability issues from working on certain accounts and decided to pursue this field by taking up a position as an Environmental Analyst and Account Manager. This was quite daunting at first to make a jump into a different field but I was very determined to pursue this passion. I saved up money and started taking up short courses to help me gain new skills in the line of work I wanted to move into. It was quite a competitive process to get my foot in the door and apply for the current position I am in, but every weekend studying for it was worth it. I was also very grateful to be able to get advice from more experienced professionals within this field. I started asking course providers and sustainability professionals over LinkedIn whom I admired for advice. This was such an important step for me. At times I really doubted if I would be able to do it, but these individuals kept encouraging me and provided me with invaluable mentorship. If I wanted to take up a new course, I would give them a call or ask them to look over something for me. I was very grateful for this. For anyone thinking of moving over to a different field of work I would definitely encourage them to sign up for a short course to see if this is a topic or industry they would enjoy. It is a good test to see if you will like it whilst also improving your skills and CV.

Secondly, try and find a mentor or a peer from whom you can learn from and ask advice or guidance from.

Having said this, working hard at something you really want to achieve or aspire towards always pays off. It’s important to be patient and wait for the right moment, but also remember to take up an opportunity when it comes your way and believe in yourself matter how scary that might be!

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?

I am also very grateful to have such a great support structure that helped me to get to where I am. Surround yourself with people contributing to your growth and vice versa. See who you can help and support too! Lastly, stay humble and stay curious. If you are fortunate to have access to resources on the internet or books…use them! Keep reading and developing your skills and outlook.

What books are you currently reading?

Some books I am currently reading are:

Drawdown by Paul Hawken

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear

What advice would you give to an upcoming youth or talents locally and internationally?

If I could give my younger self one piece of advice, I would tell her to be more confident in herself. I am grateful to have learnt so much from many people and I very much value qualities of wisdom and humility, however, I would remind my younger self that her work and ideas are also valuable and that she should speak up more, share more ideas and trust her decisions. Don’t be too fearful that an idea or decision might flop…it happens from time to time. Own a mistake and learn from it. Trust the learning process!


bottom of page