What do you do at Coronation and experience led you to this role?
I work on the dealing desk as a Portfolio Implementation Analyst. I was drawn to the view of the investment world that the role offered. I often say that working on the desk is like having a front row seat to the market. This is where you see it all. It’s action packed and full of excitement! No day is the same and every day presents a new opportunity to think outside of the box, push your limits and build on your resilience. I studied Investment Management at the University of Pretoria, but that was just the tool that got me in. It’s my passion for financial markets and the industry that keeps me motivated and curious. I love the green and red! The green more than the red.
Grit and inspiration
Where does your resilience come from?
Biting off more than I can chew and then rising to the occasion. I don’t believe we are born with a fixed amount of resilience. We can build it like a muscle and then draw on it when we need it. To build that muscle up, we need to continue to challenge ourselves and step outside of our comfort zones. We so often sell ourselves short and underestimate what we can achieve – if we only put our minds to it. My motto in life is that if you wait until you’re ready, you might never do it. Sometimes you need to jump for the net to appear. This approach has led me to some of my most challenging and rewarding experiences. You’re guaranteed to come out on the other side stronger and more resilient – and with a few great stories to tell and having met interesting people along the way.
Shoulders of giants
Who was a major influence for you growing up?
My parents and older brothers. They are my pillars and have always supported and believed in me. When you are younger, building resilience is a team effort. You need cheerleaders and mentors who motivate you to take risks and dream big. Once you get the hang of it, you can start to do it on your own. I had excellent examples to follow here. Being a woman or the youngest child was never something I could reach for as an excuse. It was celebrated! In fact, there was very little I could get away with as a valid excuse. I just had to up my game.
Who have been your career mentors?
Where do I start? I’ve been fortunate enough to have so many amazing role models and career mentors in my life. I have to start with my mom. She was rock solid and fantastic work ethic. She never had to teach me about equality; she showed me. And my dad taught me that you learn more when you listen than when you speak, and that integrity and your word are everything in life. I can’t think of a better example of someone who fights for what he believes in than my first boss, Brett Landman. He showed me what it means to take ownership of your life and of your work.
I was also influenced by Helena Conradie, an unstoppable and amazing woman. She is extremely humble about all that she has achieved and is generous with her time and knowledge – in the truest form of the word. She has taught me the importance of balance and making time for the little things in life.
Last but not least, my Coro family! They inspire me to be better and think smarter every day. Being on the desk and listening to the continuous debate around me has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The passion and energy of my colleagues are contagious. They say that you must try not to be the smartest person in the room and that when you are, it’s time to find another room. I reckon I can get comfortable, as I will be here for a while.
We place high value on integrity in all that we do. What does integrity mean to you, personally and for the business?
Integrity is simple. There is no grey. It is a way of life and being uncompromising about what you know is right and what you believe in. Trust and integrity go hand in hand, and it’s at the heart of our ethos. It’s what makes me proud to work at Coronation. It is the foundation of our commitment to clients. Clients come first. That is the goal and that is what we work towards every day and in every decision we make.
For me personally, integrity means that I have nothing to worry about, since I have nothing to hide. I strive for my actions to look the same across all the various platforms of my life. Be it on social media, in the workplace or when no one is watching. There is one version. It is my brand. When your integrity is intact, you can sleep easy as you know that you did the right thing. Even if it sometimes means you have to make difficult decisions.
What advice would you give women entering the workplace now?
We have all heard the saying that ‘Cape Town is cliquey’. I first heard about it six months after moving from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I thought, ‘thank goodness I only heard this now’, as by then I’d settled in and made great friends. I loved Cape Town and had not encountered a single ‘clique’.
The moral of my story is that the same applies when you are entering the workplace. Give the world you’re stepping into a chance. Don’t just assume it’s a man’s world. We often allow social media and the experiences of strangers to dictate what we see as an acceptable environment or career for a woman. This may negatively impact our approach. I say go in with a blank page and be the writer of your own story. Form your own opinions. Expect the best from the people who you work with. You can only control your own actions and behaviour.
As clichéd as it may sound, we need to be the change we want to see in the world. We need to envision it and then live it as if it’s reality. Channel your uniqueness and celebrate it. It’s what sets you apart in the world. This is your edge.
At the end of the day, if you chose an employer with integrity, it is hard work and determination that will get you to the top, not your gender. People believe in people who believe in themselves. We can do anything we set our minds to!