I am originally from Limpopo and education has been my way forward. I started working in the public sector in 1990 with the Auditor General (AG), South Africa’s Supreme Audit Institution charged with providing independent audit and related services to the public sector. I was working part-time while studying to obtain my honours degree. The AG had an arrangement with Coopers and Lybrand (C&L), which meant that I worked at the firm from 1997 to 1998. In 1999, I rejoined the AG as a manager. At the end of that year, I was appointed as the Head of Internal Audit in the Department of Justice. This was a position with a lot of authority and support from the then Director General, who was also my mentor on a strategic level. During this time, I was also in contact with a partner in the C&L firm, whom I used as a sounding board—and, as a result, I rejoined PwC in April 2004.
I became a partner just over a year later, in July 2005. I can point to several stepping stones which got me there. Firstly, my position as the Head of Internal Audit at the Department of Justice. The way the department was managed meant I could make a real difference and gain some very good experience. Then, at PwC, I became the lead on a key account and my team exceeded its revenue targets.
I also became involved with the Faranani Rural Women Training Initiatives, which are aimed at empowering rural women by helping them to gain business skills. It is a joint partnership between PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Business Skills South Africa Foundation. The course focuses on how to develop a business plan, the costing and pricing of goods and services, effective financial management and practical marketing. It also equips women with invaluable business skills and takes them out of poverty into self-reliance.
Due to family priorities, assumptions are often made about women. Although women are flexible, there is often a perception that they are not prepared to put in extra effort, even if they have achieved their deliverables. If we are to continue to make progress on the issue of gender diversity in the workplace, I think these perceptions need to change.
I believe that as women, we need to reassess our own perceptions, attitude and confidence. Complaining about everything won’t help—we need to find the power that is within ourselves. One of my great passions in life is to promote this profession to my people and to be a role model to aspiring Black Chartered Accountants.