Celebrating Women’s Month.  Women in the Pelagic industry.

Shamera Daniels

The percentage of women in the business world has greatly increased over the years, yet despite these gains, an equal playing field has not been reached in business, especially at the most senior levels. As the Vice Chairperson and only female member on the management committee of FishSA, Shamera Daniels finds this notion troubling to comprehend and is determined to keep doing all that she can to ensure that she continues to create positive shifts within the Fishing Industry . Shamera’s mission is to create a future that secures a place for women to be viewed as equals within the fishing industry.
Historically, members of her extended family have been involved in the fishing industry, but never to the extent that Shamera currently finds herself in. According to Shamera, the fishing industry “crept” into her heart and there wasn’t any escaping it. From taking minutes of meetings of large government bodies, to taking the fishing industry forward and being a fore-runner for women in and entering the fishing fraternity. The “girl” who once lost her voice through personal hardships had stepped outside of her comfort zone and straight into her potential, and gracefully evolved into a business force to be reckoned with.
Shamera holds a Marketing Management Diploma from the Institute of Marketing Management, as well as a Diploma in Forensic Investigation obtained from the University of the Western Cape. In 1996 Shamera officially commenced her career as part of the Quota Board support team, at what was then referred to as Sea Fisheries, a government controlled organisation. Her role at the time was small and purely administrative, but through hard work and determination, she was promoted in 1998 and became actively involved in the management of fisheries and issuing of permits. Shortly after her promotion, and completely unexpected to Shamera, her career status had further elevated to head of The Allocation and Verification Unit, when the additional transformation came about within the organisation and the department name changed to the Marine and Coastal Management. This division involved the allocation of fishing quotas, as well as any forensic investigations related thereto. Shamera had the privilege of working within a government department, where she frequently engaged Ministers and more importantly, contributed significantly to the development of regulations and policies within the Fishing Industry. Shamera spent seven(7) years in government before she had taken her career into a slightly different direction. By the year 2003, Shamera’s resume had established its own repertoire and she was head hunted by the multinational Deloitte and Touche, where she worked for a period of three years in the Forensics Division who acted as the Verification Unit for LTRAMP. Despite the wealth of experience gained and the connections built, Shamera’s journey to establishing her career was certainly no smooth road. Rather a rough trodden trajectory of challenges and obstacles which appeared to be insurmountable at the time. However, her passion, “heart” and determination enabled her to find her voice, conquer herself and create the kind of shift that empowers others. Disdaining to be a debtor of the sovereign male dominated industry – She decided to spread her business wings and liberate herself. With a vision in sight and uproar in her spirit, on 1st January 2006, she took a leap of faith with all that she embodied and launched her own business, called SDB Consulting (“SDB”).
The launch of SDB was one of the most empowering and gratifying moments in Shamera’s career and can be regarded as the step that gave her the momentum she required to create a movement within the Fishing Industry. According to Shamera, her company only has a handful of clients and when compared to most consultancy businesses, they may seem few, however, for Shamera, it was never about the numbers, whether that be in monetary value or client quantity, instead it was always about being able to impact people’s lives in a manner that would accelerate and promote their business growth.
In addition to running her own business, Shamera finds herself on the Boards of several renowned industrial bodies, including being Vice Chairperson of South African Pelagic and Fishing Industry and Association (“SAPFIA”), a member of SAMSA’s National Fishing Forum, Chairperson of the West Coast Rock Lobster Association, Co-Vice Chairperson of FishSA, and majority stakeholder and Managing Director of Soundprops 1167 Investment (Pty) Ltd and Suidor Fishing (Pty) Ltd. More recently, Shamera’s career has experienced exponential growth when she became the Majority Shareholder in Soundprops 1167 Investment (Pty) Ltd, a company wherein she has been an active director since 2009.
Shamera’s profuse passion to empower women and uplift her community in general is evident in the success of the projects that she has been involved in. Amidst an array of exciting ventures undertaken by this inspiring entrepreneur, her career highlights include being on the adjudicating panel for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (“DAFF”) in her capacity as Vice Chairperson of FishSA for their 2019 awards, as well as becoming the majority stakeholder of Soundprops 1167 Investment (Pty) Ltd, and Suidor Fishing (Pty) Ltd the companies in which she had truly felt a sense of “home”. Shamera says that these companies have always been close to her heart, they are the kind of companies that maintains ethics and morale, the kind of companies where she felt valued for her skills set and what she brought to the table. A place where she was more than just a “black female face”, but an active role player. For Shamera, being able to actively contribute and add value was and still is pertinent. Shamera further recalls one of her favourites to be the project initiated by the West Coast Rock Lobster Association, which involved advocating for a quota shift for previous small town fishing rights holders. The project involved Shamera ad a team physically driving to each small fishing town covering hundreds of kilometres from Lamberts Bay to Hawston, and every other fishing town in between, eventually ending off in Gansbaai. The trip involved engaging hundreds of previous rights holders to form a collective voice in an attempt to create a positive movement. Triumphant in their attempts, the association managed to change the quota regulations, increasing the amount of previous rights holders from approximately 75 to a number currently exceeding 400. Shamera has proven that through active involvement, the correct mentality, passion and persistence, she was capable of evolving the industry, creating a shift towards equal and more accessible opportunities for all.
Throughout her years in service Shamera identified several gaps and inefficiencies within the Fishing Industry that has a particularly adverse effect on women in and entering the industry. Amongst several others, some of the prominent issues within the industry were the paucity of diversity on the various Boards, the lack of gender equality, and the down right absence of respect for women within the industry. As a direct result of the adversities that she has faced as a woman within the Fishing Industry, this business powerhouse has made it her personal and professional mission to be a positive force within the fishing industry and continue to work on projects that will bridge the gaps that are still present.
Shamera has fallen several times throughout her career, yet emerged stronger, bolder and more confident each time. She has stood unshaken by the threats, challenges and adversities encountered and persevered tirelessly to achieve the presence that she currently possesses. Shamera encourages all women to find their voices sooner rather than later, and when they do, to use it. According to Shamera, your voice is your most powerful resource and despite being conditioned differently, its the only thing that truly belongs to you. Shamera’s theory is that you are in control of the treatment you get from others, and because of that, you need to teach people how to treat you, by being clear of who you are in this world and demonstrating that through your authenticity and integrity. Shamera remains motivated by her vision and passion to further change the fishing industry and relies on her family as the cornerstone of her support structure. According to Shamera, her efforts are not for her, they are in aid of the legacy that she unrelentlessly continues to build for her family.
“Find your voice sooner rather than later. When you do, use it, without hesitation or restraint. Be clear about who you are in this world and ensure that all that you do is done in full measure and with integrity.” – Shamera Daniels

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