Executive: Equity Risk South Africa, Corporate and Investment Banking

Why is “Why she leads” important?

Standard Bank boasts excellent talent, and it behoves us to showcase it. Women have stories of inspiration or are simply superlative in their roles, but their contributions may go unnoticed in a male-dominated field. “Why she leads” is an opportunity to elevate and celebrate our women leaders.

What are the biggest contributors to your success?

Excellent training and wholesome, empowering relationships with mentors, role models and confidants. Without these, my journey would have been significantly less fulfilling.

More importantly, my partner has consistently provided incredible support, whether with difficult career-related matters, celebrating successes or family logistics.

What challenges do women leaders face, especially in financial services?

Not having an enabling domestic environment – the so-called triple burden of womanhood – means that the majority of women have more to juggle than their male counterparts. We need to enable and encourage men to take up non-career-related responsibilities with paternity leave and flexible working hours.

What is the value of mentorship in the workplace?

Good mentorship nurtures leaders and can unlock a young person’s perspective on work, planning, career building, networking, conflict resolution and work-life balance.

“Leadership is taught, not just innate. Incrementally increasing exposure to appropriate levels of responsibility is the key to nurturing talent.”

What role can male corporate leaders play in fostering and growing women leaders?

True equal treatment transcends formal rules and gestures and is achieved when women are de facto equals. A true ally for gender equality is not just someone who is ‘on your side’, but somebody who seeks to see your perspective, however jarring it might be to their own.

How do you handle criticism?

I take professional criticism in the best spirit possible, and where I’ve succeeded in making the necessary changes, it has made a vastly positive difference. I’m also lucky that I’m amnesic to non-professional criticism.

What’s your approach to taking care of yourself and your mental health?

I’d love to have enough time to exercise, take time off, practice gratitude, pamper myself and connect with loved ones. Realistically, self-care is more prosaic – protecting my mental bandwidth, celebrating small victories, and not despairing when I can’t achieve everything.

How should women support each other in organisations?

Go out of your way to make other women feel seen and encouraged. Show compassion in times of conflict, disappointment and/or grief.

Which women would you invite to dinner and why?

Jacinda Ardern – she’s a strong yet compassionate leader who understands the compromises that need to be made. Winnie Byanyima, for her eloquence and actions towards social justice and gender equality in Africa.

What is your advice for the next generation of female leaders?

You can achieve almost anything, but you’re unlikely to achieve everything. Be explicit about your goals and plan accordingly.

There is something to be said for limiting your targets, being easy on yourself for your imperfections and leaning hard into your strengths and passions.