What do you do at Coronation and what led you to this role?
My role is Head of Talent Management, which means I am responsible for everything relating to employees, including recruitment and development. I have a Business Science degree with an Honours degree in general psychology, a Labour Law certificate and I am a qualified coach. I started my career in recruitment and got my first generalist role in Human Resources at Investec Asset Management. I started at Coronation on contract to implement the Balanced Scorecard (which failed) but I am miraculously still here!
Grit and inspiration
What drove you to succeed/ How did you prove yourself?
I was raised in a very patriarchal family where I think the unconscious expectation was for me to settle down and have a family. I think that drove me to succeed in my career and sport to prove that I was capable of more than that. I think I managed to ‘swim’ in roles that I was underqualified for and was able to prove myself quickly. I am very competitive by nature and I think that also helped me succeed in the asset management industry.
Where does your resilience come from?
I believe you learn resilience from navigating through hardship and knowing that you made it. I have survived a number of personal challenges and tested myself with physical challenges that have helped me build significant resilience. Being competitive by nature, I like to win and get to the finish line, which helps as well. I don’t like to give up on anything.
Shoulders of giants
Who was a major influence for you growing up?
Despite the fact that he didn’t finish school, my dad was incredibly driven and always tried new things. He was a successful soccer player, a mountain climber and even started tennis late in life. He was always busy doing something, including buying and selling shares and trying to come up with new business ideas. What he achieved, in spite of a tough upbringing, is inspirational to me. We also had a family friend who was a paediatric anaesthetist at Red Cross hospital over 40 years ago, which showed me early on that women can have amazing careers too.
Who have been your career mentors?
There have been a number of mentors that I have been lucky enough to cross paths with, including my first manager at Coronation, Nick Battersby, who really motivated me to think beyond what was in front of me and pushed me to improve the things I was responsible for, while always being supported. I rely heavily on a number of our service providers who are experts in their fields, and I continue to learn from them every day.
At Coronation, employee ownership is a big part of our culture, what does this mean to you and how does it shape your behaviour/approach?
For me, ownership means that I have chosen to be part of this special company and that I will do whatever I can to make it better. That translates into me striving to make this the best place for top talent to work, and to ensure that we challenge employees and give them the freedom to feel like owners of their roles and owners of the company, because what they do makes a difference.
We are a team-based meritocracy, what does this mean to you? And how does it impact your work experience?
People get involved in things to make sure they get done even if it is not in the ambit of their role. There is a huge amount of collaboration to get to the right decision and more minds will always be better than one. I absolutely love working in my team and see every day how each member brings something different and allows us to constantly innovate and pivot. I couldn’t do what I do without my Talent Management colleagues, as we collaborate on almost everything.
We place high value on integrity in all that we do. What does integrity mean to you, personally and for the business?
Integrity is deciding to do things in a way that allow you to sleep at night and be true to yourself. I have been described as ‘too honest’ at times but my good friends enjoy the fact that they can come to me for a straight answer and know that it is the truth even if it isn’t what they want to hear.
What do you think needs to change in the mindset of working women?
I would like all working women to realise that we don’t need to change who we are to fit into a male-dominated world. Women bring so much to any working environment and should allow themselves to be authentic at work. I am still planning on writing the ‘Lean Out’ book for men, as it frustrates me that women are continuously told how they should show up in a work context when we are just fine as we are and bring our own value to the table. We all just need to back ourselves more and support each other better.
What advice would you give women entering the workplace now?
Every decision you make about having a career should be your personal choice. It is possible to have a career and a family, and, with the right support structures in place, your kids will benefit in ways you never expected. Believe that you are worthy and back yourself every time. I have a group of friends outside of work who are all working moms in different professions (we call ourselves the Bad Moms), and I have learnt so much from our nights out where we share experiences and support each other in navigating professional challenges. Find your tribe and use them for support.