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  • Roxanne Smith

Beeld Mynreg: Die Vrou Staan nie Terug in 'n bedryf vol mans

Updated: Sep 26, 2022

Beeld, Netwerk24, Die Burger, and Volksblad shared a wonderful profile on NSDV's Co-founder and Director - Lili Nupen on being a woman in a male-dominated industry - for those who don't speak the 'taal', we've kindly translated the article below.

This woman does not stand back in an industry full of men


LiIi Nupen ensures that she always stands out with her brightly colored glasses and short, white hair. When she walks into a room, her new male clients are still looking around for the "right lawyer" who will represent them.


At meetings, her male counterparts slide the tray of tea and coffee in front of her, mistaking her for a coffee lady. But when Lilli Nupen (40) with her brightly colored glasses and short, white hair starts talking, everyone falls silent.


"I realized early on that I had to have more personality than others and be an absolute expert in my field if I wanted to be taken seriously. "It's not fair, but women have to work much harder than their male counterparts," says Nupen.


After 15 years as a lawyer in the mining industry, which is still dominated by men, Nupen now cares little about prejudices. In 2018, she and her husband, Cameron Staude - a specialist in construction law, founded Nupen Staude de Vries (NSDV). "With him, I can be completely myself and that's the most wonderful thing," says Nupen. The practice consists of a team of 20, of whom 70% are women.


She also doesn't try to be like a man at all when she deals with her clients. "Our practice is built on good relationships. "I don't think women need to be like men to make it in the industry. On the contrary. Women bring a more human approach where men mostly only focus on money and the business part," says Nupen.


Her approach is clearly paying off and one of the mining giants is currently on her books. Nupen also learned a lot from her famous parents. Her mother, Dren Nupen, is the former chief executive of the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, and her father, Charles Nupen, a founder of the law firm Harris Nupen Molebatsi. The latter has handled several government contracts. "They are both in politics and I am grateful that they have done so much good with the Nupen name," she says.


It is especially her mother who inspires her to build relationships and thrive on them. She also hopes to inspire younger women in the profession. "Don't try to be like a man. You will have to work harder than any man, so always put your shoulder to the wheel," says Nupen. Her biggest tip is to always remain authentic.


If you do 'praat' the 'taal' click here for the full story by Arisa Schamrel.

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