What do you do at Coronation and what experience led you to this role?
I am a Fund Manager in the Institutional Business team. This is a client-facing role that requires an understanding of our investment strategies and an ability to effectively relay those to our clients. Building relationships with key allocators of capital is essential. I chose this role because it fulfils my desire to communicate with clients whilst also stimulating me intellectually.
I am an economist and completed my Masters degree at UCT 16 years ago. My career has spanned a variety of roles, including economic research, economic strategy as well as manager research. I completed the CFA programme a number of years ago and more recently headed up Investor Relations at a listed cement mining and manufacturing company.
Grit and inspiration
Where does your resilience come from?
I believe that resilience comes from one’s collective life experiences, whether good or bad. The good experiences give you hope during the difficult times – ‘this too shall pass’. The tough experiences help you to realise your own capacity to grow and endure. Character is built and moulded during life’s challenges.
Resilience builds when your attitude towards challenges is not defeatist but, rather, hopeful that, as it is with seasons, the wintertime will end, and spring will come with its new beginnings and new strength. I always marvel at nature. In winter the trees are bare but, following the heavy rains (that can wreak havoc), the beauty of springtime is unveiled. That is a satisfying analogy of life.
Shoulders of giants
Who was a major influence for you growing up?
My grandmother was truly inspirational. She died in 2018 at the age of 100 years. She was a delightful lady right to the end, even when we had to keep reminding her who we were. Growing up, I did not appreciate what a phenomenal life she led. Her husband died in 1984 and she continued maintaining their property for many years thereafter. They lived on a large plot in a small town called Tsolo in the old Transkei, where she had an orchard and plantations, and reared cows, pigs and chickens. Aside from selling produce, she built rental houses on her large plot and let them out. What an incredibly industrious and resourceful lady. She was also a woman of faith which had a lasting impression on me.
Who have been your career mentors?
I have really been privileged to work very closely with leaders of organisations right from the beginning of my career. I would say that they collectively have been my mentors, whether formally or informally. These have been both men and women. I essentially learnt what to do and, probably more importantly, what not to do, through their successes and their failures. Two key learnings stand out: when you are in a position of leadership, be very wary of the flattery and applause – it is unlikely to be sincere. Also, surround yourself with people who offer divergent views – you are not always right, and you certainly don’t always have the answers. Humility is essential, pride really does come before a fall.
What advice would you give women entering the workplace now?
I would advise them to work hard, be disciplined and focused. Be curious and interested in areas beyond your job description. When opportunities open up, grab them - as these most often come when you least expect them. Building relationships with peers and seniors is important. Be a team player, celebrate other people’s successes. Avoid the politics. Be yourself.