A defining moment in my career has been the ability to start a business and sustain its growth in a highly competitive market.
I believed that I could work hard enough to earn a fabulous early retirement. I started a retail company in 1989 and my optimistic best mate helped me raise ‘capital’ by polishing up and selling my Hi-Fi system.
A defining moment in my career has been the realisation that my purpose as an entrepreneur is far reaching, not just to create jobs and wealth, but also be a leading example of charting a path others can follow, especially women.
I had just started working for M-Net where I took my marketing knowledge to the entertainment and content-creation space.
There are many moments that felt important in my career, such as when I conducted my first leadership development course for the Chief Justices of the Southern African Development Community countries.
The most defining moment in my career so far was the critical decision that I made to transition from the corporate environment to the family business founded by both my parents.
The best career decision I have ever made was starting 18twenty8® – a non-profit organisation that empowers young women between the ages of 18 and 28.
In February of 2014, I joined a small consulting organisation as a senior project manager, immediately after I had completed my MBA. The organisation was in a start-up phase, had been in existence for about 18 months and formed part of a global corporation with the aim of establishing regional offices around the globe.
I was in the hot seat in the M-Net boardroom packed with suits. At the end of the presentation, he asked me two simple questions – if we did this, what would be different the day after, and what is our right to win?
As I continue on my journey, I have made self reflection my personal discipline – to remain true to my values as I seek to advance my unique strengths. On this path, I constantly remind myself of Nelson Mandela, who said that, “A winner is a dreamer who never gives up”.
Having always had a deep interest in science, I first qualified as a chemist, and thereafter at a later stage as an engineer. In order to broaden my capabilities, I started to lecture evening classes at the Vaal Triangle Technikon, now the Vaal Institute of Technology.
It’s not easy to pinpoint one defining moment. There have been a number that has shaped the person and professional I am today. One person (and series of events) that stands out was a young patient of mine during my internship year as a junior doctor.
When I was growing up I feared failure and the devastation I thought would ensue. I wanted to be perfect and felt any form of failure was letting me and other people down, particularly my mother who had made tremendous sacrifices in bringing up three children alone on a music teacher’s salary.
My appointment as managing director, Sasol Oil, in December 2006 was a defining moment in my career. Prior to this appointment, we had spent close to four years managing merger processes.
Independent from a very young age, I had one life plan, ‘to own my own knives and forks’ and never to rely financially on anyone else. After two years of pursuing a business degree at university, I dropped out.
Late one Thursday night, as I walked past my library, an epiphany struck me. I realised, just then, in that moment, what the purpose of my life was.
The defining moment of my career happened when I was 12 years old. My father was the managing director of Glenton & Mitchell in the Eastern Cape, the company that launched Joko Tea during the first half of the 20th century.
The day I gave birth to my son, who is five years old now, was the day my career focus changed. That day I realised that I not only need to talk the talk but also walk it in order to be the example that I want my son to follow.
After coming back from South Africa to Germany I started my career at Mercedes. I had the great opportunity to work for a well-known company and brand. I made a corporate career by going through different projects, functions and divisions. But after some years I had doubts that the corporate career path was the right one for me.
Now an international consultant supporting sustainable democratisation, he is presently working with Aung San Suu Kyi to overcome the military legacy in Myanmar, but usually lives in Ottawa, Canada.
WB Yeats said, “Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,” which holds a harsh lesson for me. I took my radio broadcasting talent for granted. Because it came so easily, I began not to pay it attention and focused on what others considered important.
My career-defining moments involved starting long processes with a payoff coming much later. One most important career-defining moment for me was when I realised the power of making the right choices and displaying my risk-taking characteristics.
Passing my PhD and graduating was a defining and memorable moment for me. A great sense of accomplishment, it was both the ‘Mama, I did it’ feeling and the ‘coming of age’ feeling which came with the sudden realisation that I could do that and more.
Every day is a great opportunity to claw one back for the ordinary person in a corruption-infested South Africa that is making every one of us poorer.
J.R. Morgan said, “A man always has two reasons for doing anything – a good reason and the real reason.” At the end of 2009, I found myself at a crossroad in my entrepreneurial journey.
The Wits Business School has played an incredibly important role in shaping not just my career but also much of the person I am today. There have been several defining moments in my career, but undoubtedly the moment that stands out was when I was enrolled on the Management Advancement Programme (MAP) in 2008 with classmates a lot more senior and experienced than me.
Two events forged my career path. When I was 29, I came up with a concept that I sold to my then employer, Telkom. I used to run the advertising and promotions department for Telkom when I started working on a plan to pitch selling advertising space on phone cards.
It seems like just yesterday when I moved almost 2 000km from home, Thohoyandou in Venda to Bellville in Cape Town, left a secure comfortable job in academia and joined Sanlam as a research consultant in their employee benefits division.
After spending about ten years in corporate South Africa from 1981 to 1991, I was overlooked for a marketing position that became available. The marketing manager would not even allow me to be interviewed.
The most defining moment in my life was when I realised that black women could own a bank that focuses on entrepreneurs, but most importantly it was having my own people affirming my dream by supporting it financially.
I used to try candy-coat things, but no longer: giving birth is less painful, less bloody and infinitely quicker than getting your first novel published. If you haven’t been smothered under the avalanche of “Dear Author, Thank you for your submission, but …” slips by the time you find a publisher, you and your manuscript will still have to face the pitiless glint of your editor’s scythe.
It is my fundamental belief that social entrepreneurship is the future of doing business. Shared value equates to shared growth – across industries and communities.
My career-defining moment presented itself in the form of a blessing in disguise. In 2001, after having graduated from WBS, I resigned my nine-to-five office job and decided to pursue my music passion.
Bali Island, Indonesia, was in its usual element in December 2013 – beautiful and tranquil with the warm Indian Ocean waters and hospitable local inhabitants blending seamlessly with the hot and humid weather. Yet, enjoying the warm Bali weather was only peripheral to my visit.
There is no doubt that applying to business school can be a very stressful undertaking. However, even after my graduation more than ten years ago, I can say Wits Business School was a great fit and special for me with quality time spent.
As an activist and a businessman, I experienced several defining moments in my career. I completed my MBA at Wits Business School in 1971. I could not find any meaningful employment as the predominantly white corporate business sector would not employ people of colour in senior management positions.
Connecting the dots of a career with the benefit of hindsight, the pivotal elements quickly become apparent. One of these was my Wits Business School MBA
Heraclitus said, “The only thing that is constant is change.” My entire life and career have been and continue to be defined by a series of radical changes; a series of moments, based on numerous epiphanies that have led to an amazing journey of personal transformation and an exploration of experiencing the true nature of who we are.
I was a really good social worker. I loved working in a community, doing long-term development work with individuals and groups. However, because I was a good social worker, I quickly became a manager of peers, then teams and projects, and ultimately organisations.
The defining moment of my career was when I left a successful career in the corporate world to join a few ex-colleagues and friends in starting a new bank. This was a daunting move after having spent most of my career in a world where complex challenges were sheltered by the relative security of size, then moving to another world of complex challenges with no security.
I have always believed in creating opportunities for myself. These opportunities do not only have to be self-serving. We should also strive towards improving our society in building a legacy that will outlive our generation.
The most defining moment in my career so far was the opportunity to present and be a style expert for the global hit makeover show 10 Years Younger which was broadcast at primetime on Channel 4 in the UK.
During the summer of 2003, a lifelong dream materialised that resulted in an inspired trip to Paris, which put into motion a plan that would forever shape my career path.
Looking back, two defining moments stand out for me. The first was enrolling for a Wits MBA as a result of the encouragement from my late dad. At the time it was very unusual for a medical doctor to do an MBA and I am indebted to the then dean, Prof Andy Andrews, for putting his faith in me and accepting me onto the course.
I was a second-year Bachelor student of economics, working as the public relations manager of the largest world student-run organisation for youth leadership development and international mobility, AIESEC.
My experience in the City of Johannesburg (COJ) in the late 1990s involved the restructuring of the institution to avert a financial meltdown.
In February 2015, one month after getting married and two months after my best performance review at McKinsey & Company, I decided to end my career as a management consultant to pursue my lifelong passion of being a social entrepreneur.
My career started at KEH VIII Hospital in Durban as a medical intern. It’s been an exciting journey! The first milestone was opening my medical practice in eMlazi, the second biggest township in the country.
The glow of the newly installed blue iridescent Paul’s Homemade Ice Cream logo on the opening of our first the store in The Zone, Rosebank, in December 2015, was a moment that brought with it an understanding of where my career was rapidly moving.
Since leaving Wits University, my life revolved around being an entrepreneur, co-founding NetActive, Call Centre Nucleus and NetFlorist.