Executive Head: Sovereign & Public Sector, Client Coverage, Corporate and Investment Banking

Why is “Why she leads” important?

“Why she leads” sends a message – it changes the narrative. Sharing our stories inspires women entering the workplace and upcoming leaders to know that anything is possible; their success is possible. It also helps us address some pessimism when we are dealing with so much adversity. “Why she leads” brings us a sense of hope and optimism – creating positivity by showcasing our successes and the positive path we are championing for women’s advancement in the workplace.

What has been the biggest contributor to your success?

My resilience and focus on output – I don’t sit back and let things self-resolve – I have the courage to get up and work on things that matter, and deliver, especially at work. I also keep abreast of the latest news and developments – your stom-ach will let you know when it’s hungry, the brain won’t let you know when it is starving. We must continuously feed the brain and keep that muscle in shape – it empowers and elevates you. Being able to have difficult conversations has also been key.

How do you know when you’re ready for the next move?

You should master your space and everything that you do. You should be such an expert that you’re able to do your work with your eyes closed. Then you’re ready for the next move. Until you can confidently say to your boss, “I’m ready for your job,” keep working at your mastery and preparing yourself for more responsibility.

What do you do to maintain your confidence in a male-dominated industry?

Know a lot so that whatever situation you’re in, you can manage it easily. I’ve found myself in situations where men try to phase me out of the conversation, either by speaking a different language, or changing the topic to rugby for example. So what do I do? I talk about rugby, too.

Being a knowledge all-rounder empowers you and enables you to have conversations even in spaces where you are undermined. You may even find the very people that tried to squeeze you out begin to turn to you for input because they know you will add value.

How can businesses make the work environment more supportive and conducive for women?

They need to be intentional about the mandate to support women, the number of women needed in leadership positions, and how to support them. Businesses must also be realistic about the commitments women have outside of work. It doesn’t mean we’re less committed to the organisation. People should be measured on their output, not whether they can stay for after- work drinks. Businesses should be more conscious of this.

What trait should every leader have?

Compassion – allow people to be themselves, their authentic selves, and understand them.

How should women show up for and support each other in the work environment?

It’s not a competition, it’s lifting each other up high and celebrating each other.

“I’ve stood on men’s shoulders to get where I am, but I want women to stand on my shoulders so that I lift as I rise.”

We must hold hands and drive our progress together. Let’s also take note of blind spots and help each other overcome these and always give constructive feedback.

What words of advice do you have for young women leaders?

I urge young women leaders to get sponsors and mentors; someone to bounce your ideas and thoughts off. Don’t be a lone ranger. Be curious and knowledgeable about a wide variety of subjects and make sure that you can hold conversations with different people. And my favourite – KYP or know your people.