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Inclusive Conversations Series

Barriers to Women’s Inclusivity in Manufacturing

As a not-for-profit initiative dedicated to the development of manufacturing executives in Africa, TWIMS is an open institution, welcoming stakeholders from all industries and backgrounds. Our commitment is to grow a community of leaders who are passionate about building a thriving and progressive manufacturing sector in Africa.

Our recent engagements with senior women leaders from diverse manufacturing organisations has raised the need for an inclusive space that allows women to grapple with barriers they face in the manufacturing environment. As a faculty, not only do we want to provide this space, but also to capture these experiences as part of a research agenda that will put gender inclusivity firmly in the manufacturing spotlight.

TWIMS is therefore launching an inclusive conversations series for 2021 which will take the form of facilitated dialogue sessions addressing key barriers that women may be facing.  These sessions will allow attendees to:

  • Have a safe space to explore key challenges and barriers they may be facing in the manufacturing environment.
  • Influence and participate in a research agenda focused on addressing these barriers and opportunities.
  • Engage in networking opportunities with other senior women in manufacturing.
  • Engage in collective capacity building and reflection.


“Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusivity is being asked to dance”.

Verna Myers

Series Overview


Date Time Focus Host
9 April 2021 13h30-16h00

What barriers and opportunities has dealing with Covid 19 and the

taken for granted care economy highlighted for women in manufacturing?

Liesel Kassier
8 October 2021 12h00-16h00 Difficult conversations women need to have with men and other women
• Queen Bee phenomenon/trust issues/predatory dynamics
• Political astuteness – ‘what to say to who, when’
Khavitha Singh
25 February 2022 The imposter syndrome is real
• Using ’self-doubt’ as strength
• Authenticity vs. personal branding
Dr Lisa Kinnear
24 March 2022 Building a community of women in manufacturing
• Constructive networking/breaking isolation
• Feedback on series

This event will be free to attend and will include refreshments and teas.

Who Should Attend

In order to create a space conducive to open conversation about the above topics, we are accepting just 40 female participants to attend each session. We encourage all female managers in a manufacturing environment to fill out the participation form below. 


The inclusive conversations will take place at the TWIMS campus, 74 Everton Road, Kloof. Visit the TWIMS website ( for further details. 

Can’t attend but would like to know more?

While all our sessions will take place on our Kloof campus we understand that the barriers for women in manufacturing exist across the globe. In order to include those who are unable to attend in person a report of each session will be compiled by our facilitators which will be made available to our community. Fill in your details below to receive these reports directly to your inbox.

Our Facilitators 

Dr. Lisa Kinnear

Head of Academics

Dr Lisa Kinnear is a partner at Leadership Insight, an Organisational Development (OD) consultancy, specialising in leadership coaching, team development and organisational change. She attained her PhD in 2014 through the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has a Masters of Management in Strategic Human Resource Management (cum laude) from Wits Business School. Her doctoral research focused on emerging models of power amongst South African women business leaders.

Lisa has lectured in the field of Organisational Development on academic and executive programs at a range of South African business schools over the past 20 years. In 2018 she joined the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS) in Durban as Head of Academics. In this role, Lisa is responsible for the delivery of academic education in partnership with the Gordon Institute of Business Science, the provider of formal academic programs at TWIMS, as well as teaching and researching in her field of expertise.

Lisa has had corporate experience as a Human Resource Development Manager at De Beers and as an internal Organisational Development Consultant at Investec Bank. She has consulted independently to organisations in Johannesburg and Durban for the past 22 years. Her consulting work has included the design and implementation of leadership development and transformation initiatives for numerous medium-sized businesses, corporations and non-governmental organisations, spanning health services, software development, education and the manufacturing sector.

Liesel Kassier

Metair Head of Green Manufacturing at TWIMS

Liesel Kassier is the Metair Head of Green Manufacturing at TWIMS. Liesel has worked in the sustainability sector for the past 12 years. She has a Development Finance Masters in Renewable Energy Finance (Suma Cum Laude) from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management and a BCom Honours (Economics) completed cum laude from UKZN

Liesel is currently undertaking her PhD through the University of Sussex and Johannesburg where she is examining Sustainable Business Model Indicators which re-examine sectors which have been left out of traditional economic measurement. One of these is the care economy which has a large concentration of women but has never had a value assigned to it. Liesel believes that if we are going to create long term sustainable societies this work of women needs to be acknowledged and measured.

Prior to joining TWIMS, Liesel worked at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), the KZN Department of Economic Development and Tourism and at Nedbank. Liesel is also currently a director at Energy 4.0 which is a smart energy start-up company that provides clients with solutions to hedge their future energy costs.

Khavitha Singh

Toyota Head of Lean Manufacturing at TWIMS

Khavitha Singh is the Toyota Head of Lean Management at the Toyota Wessels Institute for Manufacturing Studies (TWIMS). She teaches on the Lean in Supply Chain and Advanced Operations Management short courses and electives, as well as coaches and supervises on the Gordon Institute of Business Science, formal academic programmes.

Khavitha has an MBA from UCT GSB and a B. Pharm from Rhodes University and is currently completing a PHD, focusing on lean leadership in South Africa.  Her MBA thesis, titled Empowered Powerlessness in Production Environments was published in 2018, where she researched inclusivity challenges that senior women leaders experience in production in relation to male colleague contexts

Khavitha is also a co-founder of Amka Consulting and Moja Leadership- companies that focus on operations leadership and leadership capability development using experience-based learning opportunities. She has extensive experience in the Pharmaceutical, Oil & Gas and Logistics industries within these areas in in South Africa, Mozambique and Germany. During her career she has been employed by Aspen Pharmacare, Johnson & Johnson, BP South Africa, Lean Institute Africa and Barloworld Nike CSC in various roles. Khavitha was a KZN 2020 finalist in the PWC Business Engage Gender Mainstreaming awards, in the category Positive Role Model.