Tannith Thompson, GM of Drivio, was acknowledged during the Woman’s Month Special as a “Mover and Shaker” as well as an extremely successful businesswoman in South Africa. Tannith holds a BComm Hons from Rhodes University and has not held back from climbing the corporate ladder with impeccable manner. She is a game changer in every sense of the word and is changing the landscape of corporate training and retail in her industry! Metro FM was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to interview Tannith and talk to her about her accomplishments and how Drivio is taking over the industry and proving to be a massive success in the market place.
Q. Let’s start with your background. Who is Tannith, where are you from and what inspired you to study towards a Bcom Honours Degree?
A. I was born and bred in Johannesburg and live in the buzzing heart of Sandton. Growing up I spent my High School days in boarding school which I absolutely loved, as I spent most of my time playing sports (and driving my parents crazy). After finishing school. I traveled and worked overseas and spent two years studying in Europe and thereafter I decided to pursue studying business and applied back home in South Africa for a Bcomm at Rhodes University. Really, who I am is a fun-loving woman, with an incredibly big heart and huge passion for life! Not only is my career a priority but so is my remarkable family, incredible friends and my phenomenal partner who I have been so unbelievably blessed with!
Q. You became very successful very early on in your career which speaks volumes of you Tannith; but how did you achieve that?
A. My degree definitely set the foundation for the work space I was entering into, but it really came down to giving 110% from the get-go. I was very blessed with an outstanding boss when I started out, Quique Sanchez. He was my mentor and my role model in the work space. He took me under his wing and taught me everything that I know today from a business perspective and even in life! Quique identified that I had the knowledge and skills to improve current operations and sales in a real way in a very developed company, and he gave me the space to do that. It was from those successes that I had the opportunity to prove myself in the very early days. I was able to use my skill-set and strategy development qualities to make a difference in a very valuable way and over time, I was blessed with a number of promotions where ultimately I arrived as the Sales and Marketing Executive of a large international company.
Q. After all your achievements, what made you decide to embark on your journey with Drivio?
A. Quite simply put, I had a business associate contact me who was consulting for Drivio at that time, and she was so excited “Tannith, you’ve got to meet the Director of this company Drivio who I’m consulting for, you have got to see for yourself what they are trying to achieve, and you will love it!” I thought “Drivio” I have never heard of this company and did some research, met with the Director Thivash Moodley and after understanding what he was trying to achieve in the company I was blown away! After reading the business plan and getting to grips with the model, and the endless possibilities for this young company, I was totally captivated! I will not lie, I thought to myself “oh my goodness, this is a huge challenge Tannith” but within identifying that challenge (I’m not scared by challenges in fact I love them) and the capability of the brand and that I could support driving this business that is trying to make a difference in South Africa and will be successful – it was a no brainer to get involved!
Q. Not only are you a franchisee, you are also a GM, and Head of Sales and Marketing. As a woman, do you feel you have to perform all these extra roles to have an impactful and successful career?
A. Absolutely not, every woman is different having different strengths and attributes and I admire women who are in positions that allow them to solely focus on one role. As a woman/human being you need to identify what your strengths are and as you develop your career, spend time growing what you are good at and what you enjoy.
Q. What are some of the challenges you’ve come across as a woman within the driving school industry?
A. It is a very male dominated industry but I do not let that affect myself or my team in any way. Even in my life I am surrounded by a strong male presence – my boss is a fantastic entrepreneur, my Father is a phenomenal businessman and my partner is an extremely successful and influential businessman and as women we should embrace the male presence both at work and in life. As women we should work positively with our male colleagues and we shouldn’t look at any male dominated space as a challenge but rather as a gift and opportunity to bring your female influence into that space. We have strong women in our company who exceed our expectations every day and the gents respect them very much!
Q. Drivio talks about being a technologically advanced driving school, which is a better option than other driving schools. What exactly sets it apart from traditional driving schools?
A. Our entire consumer experience is unlike any other. Our retail space is breathtaking and when you walk into our stores you are instantly blown away by the set-up! Our customer service is of outstanding quality and our highly trained driving instructors are hands-down the best in the country! Our simulator technology, which Thivash Moodley worked incredibly hard in building, is undoubtedly one of our secrets to our success! We have a large fleet of vehicles that supports our operations and we don’t just stop at the learner’s or driver’s [license] attainment – we strongly advise all our students to go one-step further and do their advanced driving course with us which improves their skills even more! We’re not just a driving school; we are the leaders in the corporate driver training industry as well! We have phenomenal courses such as: defensive driver training, economical driver training, dangerous goods, off-road… you name it! Companies are so impressed with Drivio and our training that has increased the capability of their drivers, reduced accidents, lowered their fuel costs, and lowered the costs of maintenance of their vehicles, that we have built such a strong and reputable name for Drivio in the industry. Lastly, we are the first and only Franchised driving school in the country! We realized that if we really want to achieve our goals of producing better drivers and improving the safety of our roads in our country then Franchising is the way to go!
Q. How has your driving school succeeded in achieving a pass rate that is three times the national average?
A. Every step of our process sets the student up for success. With the one-on-one support and attention from our instructors, our simulator technology gets them comfortable before we take them on the road. Our successful training methodology is of such high value that the student is more than prepared on the day of testing.
Q. So, how do interested parties purchase a franchise of Drivio?
A. You can go to our website at drivio.co.za and find all the information on our Franchise page. Should you want to proceed, you will need to download the pre-screening checklist; we have a very stringent process of identifying prospective franchisees. There are a number of qualifiers that need to be established in order for us to understand if you are a suitable candidate. We have built an incredible and successful business model and we want to continue growing it in the right way and correct franchisee selection is critical for us.
Q. As a successful woman in business, what advice do you have for other women?
A. If you are starting out in your career give it your all, because how you start will determine the rest of your journey. So when I started my career I really gave it my all which allowed me to excel early on in my career which brought me to the point where I am today. Always remain true to who you are and remember that you are a representation of your brand and company, always fly that flag high! You are only as strong as the woman you allow yourself to be, take responsibility for ensuring you lead a successful life both in and outside of work and lead from the front with your team!