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Cover Story: Women who inspire

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It is always inspiring to read about those who have gone beyond themselves to make a difference in the lives of people around them. Their aim is transformation and with a great desire for equality and education for everyone, they strive to make the world a better place. More often than not the road is not easy as, along with obstacles, come hard work, long hours and great sacrifices

This month, as we celebrate women, we highlight the careers of 14 dynamic women, each with her own unique personality and particular strengths and talents. Some are more shy than others, but the common denominator is that they are all CAs(SA) who are passionate about their roles in the profession and with one single goal – to make a difference.

Natalie Arendse
“Perseverance and self-belief can get you anywhere you want to go. The path is not easy, but then again, nothing worthwhile ever is. The end goal is definitely worth it.” These words of wisdom come from Natalie Arendse CA(SA), managing director of SizweNtsalubaGobodo, Western Cape.
In September 2004, Natalie joined SizweNtsaluba VSP as a senior manager and became an associate director a year later, but the greatest highlight was when she was made a director in 2006.
In 2011, SizweNtsaluba VSP and Gobodo Inc merged to became SizweNtsalubaGobodo Inc. Two years later Natalie became the managing director of SizwensalubaGobodo Western Cape Region of SizweNtsalubaGobodo Inc.
Natalie is also a member of the SAICA Public Sector Forum, the SAICA Senior Partners Forum of the SAICA Southern Region, and serves as an Exco member of SizweNtsaluba VSP.
With a wealth of experience in the public sector, Natalie specialises in financial services, mainly long-term insurance, short-term insurance and pension funds. She is also a registered JSE auditor.
“If you have an affinity for business, no other career path can offer you the level of exposure and expertise in different facets of business that being a CA(SA) can.”
While doing her articles at KMMT Brey Inc, Natalie was greatly inspired by one of the female partners, Ruth Benjamin-Swales. “She was a very successful woman and contributed such a lot to the profession and community. She always motivated me to reach for my goals.”
Trying to juggle a career and family can be challenging, especially for a career woman who has to play the role of both wife and mother, admits Natalie: “At the end of the day, my family comes first, and the things I need to do in respect of my career is ultimately for them. My family understanding that perspective has proven important. It sometimes becomes a delicate balancing act though.”
Her ultimate way of relaxing after a stressful week at work is to go for a full body massage at a spa and just spoil herself.
“I just want to be a successful, professional women and always do my best in whatever comes my way as well, as sitting on the boards of major corporations which shape the economic landscape of our country.”

Esna Colyn
Since a young girl Esna Colyn CA(SA) has been captivated with the beauty industry and with her natural affinity for business, it was a dream come true when she became the CEO of Imbalie Beauty in 2010.
Imbalie Beauty is a renowned beauty franchisor in South Africa that markets and distributes its own and independent health and beauty brands to a distribution footprint of more than 150 own and franchised beauty salons, including large retailers, independent beauty salons and selected pharmacies. It has received many accolades and beauty awards over the last couple of years.
“My proudest moment at Imbalie Beauty was in March 2012 when we acquired the Perfect 10 Franchise Chain of approximately 55 beauty salons nationally, taking the Imbalie Beauty group to become the largest and most desirable beauty franchise group with more than 150 beauty salons.”
Esna Colyn has over 15 years’ experience in investment banking, private equity and corporate finance. Starting her career at Hoek & Wiehahn (today’s PricewaterhouseCoopers), she subsequently joined PwC’s corporate finance division. Two years later, Esna moved to ABN Amro Bank’s financial control department where she assisted in establishing the company’s foreign banking division in South Africa.

Thereafter, she spent three years at Investec Bank Limited’s private equity division before gaining experience as a shareholder and director of a manufacturing concern, and later joined a small corporate finance business where she proved to be instrumental in listing various companies on the JSE.
In 2007, she assisted with the listing of Placecol Holdings Limited (now Imbalie Beauty Limited) and subsequently joined the group as CEO. “Throughout my life I have always enjoyed challenges and my mission is to make a positive change to the world, through self-improvement, self-empowerment and increasing the self-esteem of our customers.”
She believes women are all equal and all special in their own right with their own unique qualities and that they can all learn from each other.“I would like to inspire my team and people. I would like to assist women to feel better about themselves. My greatest wish of all is to one day leave behind a legacy of excellence.”

Amanda Dempsey
Within the first week at varsity in her pursuit of the career as a CA(SA), Amanda Dempsey, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), realised that the university environment was her domain. She is a woman who is passionate about making a difference among the youth of South Africa within the CA(SA) profession.
With a total of almost 30 years spent between RAU and UJ, Amanda has lectured in Accounting 1 for 22 years and has co-authored a number of textbooks that have been prescribed at tertiary institutions countrywide. She also presented a number of papers at national and international conferences.
Amanda has been part of the management team of the Department of Accountancy since 1991, as well as the executive chairperson. In 1992 she was appointed as associate professor and in 1999 as full professor.
Highlights in her career have been expanding the Faculty of Economic and Financial Sciences from 85 academics and 8 300 students to a faculty of 160 academics and 11 200 students, being involved with SAICA’s Thuthuka Project, and being appointed by the then Minister of Finance, Trevor Manuel, to the board of the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors (IRBA).
Although she has been successful in her career, Amanda says she actually never had a lot of ambition: “I still don’t have. I do what I do as best as I can and doors just open for me at the right time. I am a Christian and I can testify that God is good and He always opens a door when another door is closing.”
Amanda admits it was rather difficult juggling her career and family while her children were small, but she was lecturing at that stage, which meant she had flexi-time. “I could spent time with the children some afternoons and then I had to catch up my work in the evenings when they were asleep or weekends when my husband was around. Luckily my then husband, who sadly passed away more than three years ago, was very understanding.”
Six months ago Amanda remarried and is now creating a new home for the couple. “When I can tick this off my list, the next item will be to travel to Eastern Europe, to places like Croatia and Slovenia.”

Naidene Ford-Hoon
The lady who holds the keys to finance at the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Naidene Ford-Hoon CA(SA), describes her perfect day as getting done what she has set out to achieve and then still being able to get home early enough to chat to the family and cook a great meal.
It was Naidene’s school accountancy teacher who instilled within her a great passion for the subject, as a result she excelled in it and eventually pursued it as a career. Naidene adds, “I think that was besides the fact that Chinese families told their children that they should become doctors, lawyers and accountants!”
This year also stamps 20 incredible years on her career as a CA(SA). Naidene has held the position as CFO of SARB since 2010. She has experienced various industries enjoying the new challenges and associated learning that have come with each.
Memorable times in her career have been working alongside the Governor, Deputy Governors and COO of SARB. Naidene adds: “If I had to name two highlights at the Bank the first would be living up to the challenge where the Governor said when I in celebration of our upcoming 90th birthday of the Bank, I had to complete the financial statements and have them published in time for our annual report to be tabled at the AGM within three months of the financial year end. Previously the annual report was tabled at an AGM within six months of the financial year end. We made it even though it was rather stressful and since then it has become easier to complete the year end within tight timeframes.
“The second highlight was when we had to create a summarised set of group AFS which became part of our journey towards integrated reporting. As a central bank there was no other central bank to benchmark against and we found ourselves becoming pioneers in this space together with our auditors. I recently presented to the European Central Bank (ECB) on this topic, which was quite an honour and a privilege.”
Naidene says it’s important to be constantly challenged in what you do: “When you get to a point where you feel you are maintaining then it is time to move on, either into a different area within the same company or move on to another company.”
Describing herself as sporty and fun-loving, Naidene also absolutely adores spending time with her 16-year-old niece, Danielle. Like best friends, they do everything together.

Bhavna Gounder
The defining moment for Bhavna Gounder CA(SA), key account executive at Stanlib, came after her mum, also an accountant, decided to leave the corporate world and open her own practice. The simple reason was that she was tired of working for other people after being short-changed one time too many in her career: “I watched in awe as she set up her office with one desk, one chair, a computer and no clients! Today her business is a thriving accounting practice with that very same signature passion she started with in that tiny office. Whilst watching her persevere I decided that this profession really does open doors for you, so I changed my major and the rest is history.”
Bhavna completed her articles with BDO Spencer Stewart and then went on to Investec as a structured finance front office consultant. She did a short stint at the University of Johannesburg as senior accounting lecturer, but soon realised lecturing was not for her. She was too introverted and had little scope to learn and felt that being the teacher you are expected to know everything.
Returning to Investec, Bhavna moved to asset management until Stanlib offered her the role of head of finance reporting directly to the CFO. She then did a BA Hons in brand leadership/strategy and applied for the key account executive role: “This role leverages my two most valuable skills (relationship management and strategy/analytical thinking). I am responsible for maximising sales within Stanlib Retail through managing marketing strategies.”
“I am privileged to come from an environment where the people around me are constantly striving to improve their lives. This has motivated me to do more and be better. The most valuable lesson I have learnt from these people is it’s OK to fail, only if you fail up! You dust yourself off and always try again.”
Bhavna believes that as a woman you learn early on in life that you will be juggling everything all of the time. She adds, “I must admit that it takes forward planning and lots of it to balance out your life. However the lesson I have learnt whilst trying to be a mum, wife and businesswoman is that you regularly need time out and that you should never do anything you’re not passionate about.”
Her perfect day would include a picnic under the South African sun with her son and husband, as she finds that with their hectic lifestyles family time is so precious.

Carmen Le Grange
Carmen Le Grange CA(SA), partner at PwC, has been inspired by the life of Aung San Suu Kyi: “She is the democratic leader of Burma and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. I admire her for her bravery, determination and resilience as she fights for the basic human rights of the Burmese people.”
A partner Carmen Le Grange reported to during her time as a trainee would be the catalyst in her becoming a chartered accountant. She was so encouraged by Jurgen Boyd, who has remained a life-long mentor and friend, that she decided to persevere and complete her accountancy studies part-time at the University of Natal. She passed the board exams, completed her articles with KMMT, and has never looked back.
After becoming a partner she would spend the next few years in internal audit, Sarbanes-Oxley, governance, and risk & control work. Since January 2014 she has led the business resilience competency, which is part of PwC’s Risk Assurance practice.
“I’ve been privileged to have served as a member of the firm’s governing board for two terms. I’ve also had the role of human capital partner for the advisory business and I was a member of PwC’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council – a structure that was formed to advise PwC’s global executive on diversity issues.”
In 2011, Carmen was invited to be part of an international VIP delegation representing Africa at a Women’s Forum held in Deauville, France, an annual international gathering of both women and men to discuss global issues of economy, society and business.
Within the South African practice, Carmen has been actively involved with the empowerment of women in organisations. “A highlight of my career was when I was able to convince Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, today the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and the Executive Director of UN Women and previously Deputy-President of South Africa, to facilitate a speaker panel at one of our PwC Women’s Day events. The panel included Chantyl Mulder, Gloria Serobe and Dr Namane Magau, leaders whom I regard as role models that have pioneered changes for women in boardrooms and in the accountancy profession.”
Carmen’s favourite possessions are her Louis Vuitton bags and her growing library. “At the moment I’m reading Digging deep: a history of mining in South Africa by Jade Davenport and Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.”

Kabelo Malapela
Kabelo Malapela CA(SA), a Partner at Ernst & Young, first read about the CA(SA) profession in a career guidance book in her school library and just took things from there. “It was a real journey of discovery that I put myself on and came out stronger on the other side. Looking back, I think I chose pretty well without much advice and guidance. From as early as varsity I always knew that tax was my passion and that that is where my future lay (the CA(SA) qualification was for me a means to an end). My love for the subject was cultivated by my Tax Professor at the time, Professor Surtees.”
At the end of her first year at varsity she was awarded a bursary by Ernst & Young for the remainder of her studies at Rhodes: “My career at EY began in 1998, where I started my first year of articles.”
Feeling restless and wanting to experience working outside of EY, Kabelo left the firm for an opportunity to join a medium-sized firm, Ngubane & Co, to set up run and their tax department. Involved in all aspects of the business it left her with a wealth of experience. In October of 2006 Kabelo was recruited back by EY as an associate director and was then made partner on 1 January 2008. She hasn’t looked back since.
“My role has developed since those early years as a partner. Over and above looking after a demanding client portfolio, I am now part of the Africa Tax Leadership team as the Africa Sub-Area Learning and Development Leader and the training officer for the Tax Trainee Programme. Our tax practice across Africa is made up of 870 staff members, led by 50 partners spread across 33 countries and this number is growing fast. The role that I am most passionate about is that of Training Officer for our Tax Trainee Programme. ”
Kabelo understands that failure can be part and parcel of the process of success, but that what counts the most is how you handle it: “Having experienced a set-back on my road to becoming a CA(SA), I was distraught and having a long drawn out pity party. My dad took me aside and very calmly made me realise that the world respects you more as a person if after a fall, you are able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and focus on moving on with your head held high … rather than wallowing in self-pity. I have never forgotten that lesson and that conversation.”
At the top of Kabelo’s bucket list is to qualify as professional chef and do culinary tours cooking and sampling cuisine around the world – starting with the African continent.

Sthembile Masiela
“This year has been the most exciting part of my career, as my brainchild, a BEE private equity vehicle called Khulasande Capital, is in the process of being established,” says Sthembile Masiela CA(SA), who is running it on behalf of Investec.
Her ambition is to see Khulasande Capital grow into a one of the best BEE private equity players in the market, thus creating significant returns for the beneficiaries of the ED Trust: “This can truly make a difference to many individuals who would otherwise not have funding to empower themselves through education and entrepreneurship.”
Khulasande Capital is a partnership between Investec Principal Investments, the private equity division at Investec, and the Entrepreneurial Development Trust. The ED Trust is a black charitable trust focusing on educational and entrepreneurial initiatives for black individuals.
Sthembile completed her articles at PwC in the banking and capital markets division, where she was exposed to both banking and asset management clients, and then spent three months in the PwC offices in Boston where she was on the audit for the Bank of America. After returning to South Africa, she joined Investec Corporate Finance and thereafter moved to the Growth and Acquisition Finance team at Investec where she gained experience in debt and equity funding.
“I think I will be truly successful once I have also been able to inspire other black young women to look beyond the things that they can’t do and the obstacles we have as black women in the profession and to rather concentrate on the things that they are good at, opportunities available to them or where possible to create opportunities for themselves.”
For Sthembile it is important to not only pursue her career, but to also leave an indelible mark in people’s hearts through the influence that she has on them and encourages others to do likewise. She adds: “I believe this can be one of the most rewarding things. Most of us were helped by someone along the way and we need to do the same for others.”
She aims at working as hard as she can during the week so that she can have a work-free weekend. She adds: “I really enjoy what I do, but family and spending time with loved ones is very important to me.”

Nirupa Padia
After ten years of being a housewife, Professor Nirupa Padia CA(SA) passed her board exam at first attempt. This would be the first highlight of her career as a CA(SA). The second was when she was promoted to Associate Professor of Auditing and the third when she was made Head of the School of Accountancy at Wits University in 2013.
As the first black female Associate Professor of Auditing and Head of the School of Accountancy at Wits University, Professor Padia says she feels content with her achievements. “However, I think I would like to achieve a much better throughput for our students. I would also like to enhance transformation and the building of future accountants in the country via the School of Accountancy at Wits.”
It was at Wits too that Professor Padia began her BCom Accounting degree. Two years into her studies she met her (late) husband and married at the young age of 21. After completing her BCom in 1998 she left Wits to raise her children and be there for her family. Once the kids had grown up, she recommenced studying at Wits, completed her degree in 1995, and served her articles at PwC. Professor Padia then completed her qualifying exam and her MCom Tax. In 2001 she once again returned to Wits, this time as an academic, and has been at the Wits School of Accountancy for the past 13 years.
Professor Padia says she has been dedicated to both her career and family: “My late husband and children have been a pillar of strength in my life. Due to my commitment to the various aspects of my life I have managed to pursue a fulfilling academic career and very good family relations together with a spiritual path that leaves me with an undying smile.”
“Over the past decade or so, women have become more prominent in the male-dominated CA(SA) profession. I believe that this integration is both beneficial to the accounting profession and to women as a whole. The profession is benefited by having a female view point and approach to business as women are caring, empathetic, supportive and encouraging, thus creating a balanced perspective in the profession. Having women in the CA(SA) profession empowers them to strive for previously male-dominated positions and know that they will have equal footing in the position.”

Tsakani Ratsela
When someone mentioned to Tsakani Rasela CA(SA), Deputy Auditor-General at the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) that it was difficult for black people to qualify as chartered accountants, the rebel within her decided to prove otherwise.
“In any case, my parents had instilled in me a belief that I had the talent to achieve anything I wanted, provided I worked hard. At that stage, I had Professor Wiseman Nkhuhlu [the first African to qualify] and Nonkululeko Gobodo (the first African female to qualify) to look up to.”
Her parents have also taught her, through example, about humility, service, resilience, commitment, integrity, and the value of sheer hard work.
Tsakani is described as a highly accomplished, inspirational and result-driven leader with more than 15 years of experience in the private and public sectors, spanning diverse areas such as auditing, consulting, corporate advisory, development finance, investment management and skills development. As a business leader she has been a member of a number of boards and strategic committees.
She is a passionate advocate and active contributor to the growth and transformation of the accountancy profession through her work with various organisations including Business Unity South Africa, the Presidential Advisory Council on BEE, African Women Chartered Accountants, the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (where she is a past president), as well as the CA Charter Council (where she serves as chairperson).
“I believe that I have yet to make the contribution that I was born to make in this world. I am still being prepared for that which God intended me to do in this life. Until then, I plan to embrace every opportunity and do my best. The profession is blessed to have young, talented, energetic people who are driven by a passion to making their own unique contribution towards creating a better set of circumstances for the next generation. When I reflect on the positive impact that such young people can and will make in the profession, in business, in government and across our border – I can’t help, but feel most optimistic. We just need to create opportunities for more people to enter the profession. “
Tsakani loves to travel and also enjoys long-distance running: “I have completed several marathons and ultra-marathons, just not the Comrades yet! I suspect my next challenge is to complete the Comrades. I just don’t know when …”

Vuyelwa Sangoni
Vuyelwa Sangoni CA(SA) hadn’t the slightest clue what a chartered accountant was until one day, while still in Grade 11, she had a rather enlightening chat with her older brother, Tembile, about the profession. It was a conversation that would later captain her career choice and today Vuyelwa is a partner at Deloitte with a focus on audit and advisory services for banking institutions in South Africa.
“The biggest appeal to me about this profession was the opportunities it opened up for me as a CA(SA). I have not looked back since,” she says.
Her parents taught her that education was very important and always encouraged her and her siblings to succeed in life. Vuyelwa adds: “My mother always half-jokingly reminded us that we were her retirement plan.”
Vuyelwa joined Deloitte in the Financial Institutions Services Team (FIST) in 2006 and completed her articles in 2008. After spending three months in Toronto on a secondment, she re-joined Deloitte as a manager in FIST and thereafter was promoted to senior manager. In June 2013, Vuyelwa was admitted to the partnership.
Although Vuyelwa has not had a specific mentor through her career, she says she has been lucky to have people in the firm who have taken a keen interest in her development and have guided her throughout the journey.
A woman who has been a great inspiration to her is Nonkululeko Gobodo, as she has charted the way for so many black females in the profession. Says Vuyelwa: “She has remained a humble person even though she has achieved so much and she is passionate about the profession.”
“I think the stats for the profession make it very clear why we need more women in this profession, there are just not enough of us. We should strive to have this profession reflect the demographics of our country. This is a profession that opens up a world of opportunity for all women and I think the greatest motivation we can give to future generations is to show them how achievable it is.”
A lesson that has stood out for Vuyelwa through her career and also something she would like to share with young upcoming female CAs(SA) is: “Don’t ever sell yourself short, and always be true to yourself, be proud to be a woman in what still seems like a man’s world.”

Lesego Sennelo
Lesego Sennelo CA(SA), the managing director of AWCA Investment Holdings Limited (AIH), describes herself as a woman who is driven to succeed. And her vibrant personality attests to that.
“There’s no substitute for a good work ethic,” she says. “Trust your intuition. If it feels wrong, it generally is. Never be afraid to get advice or a second opinion. When in doubt, consult, consult, consult. A mentor, coach, sponsor and personal advisory council go a long way in ensuring success in ones career. Stay humble and embrace change.”
Lesego is a fellow of the International Women´s Forum and President of the African Women Chartered Accountants (AWCA) Forum – a forum focused on the acceleration of the advancement of African women chartered accountants.
Being a director of various private companies, she also currently serves as a non-executive director of a JSE-listed company. She has professional experience in an array of financial and strategic areas. Lesego is a board member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and a member of the Institute of Directors of Southern Africa.
Various mentors have played a significant role in her life and she feels blessed to have been touched by each one of them: “During article years Jolandi Grace, Andrew Mackie and Dean Sparrow mentored and coached me. I learnt the value of taking a vested interest in your employees’ development and how that can go a long way in nurturing, moulding and retaining talent. Post articles, Ethel Nyembe taught me the value of focusing on your strengths as a leader and building a team that is stronger than in you are in the weaker areas. Sindi Mabaso-Koyana taught me the art of resilience and keeping a team engaged in turbulent times. I also learnt that authentic leadership means being vulnerable with your team at times and knowing when to lead from the front and when from the back,” she says.
“Women are critical to the CA(SA) profession because finance is a critical skill in business and as women make up more than 50% of the population, it’s important that we occupy this professional space and therefore drive the economic transformation agenda. Women create more economic activity through being employed and as the biggest consumers, it makes sense that we are the ones influencing and effecting governance and business ethics within the economic, business and financial landscape.”
In her spare time Lesego loves singing, and if her schedule allows she sings in the worship group at church.

Given Sibiya
Given Sibiya CA(SA), Head of Internal Audit for the merged SekelaXabiso since 2012, matriculated from Pace Commercial College, the first commercial school of its kind in Soweto.
With much motivation from her high school accounting teacher, she achieved her BComm and BAcc degrees from Wits University, served her articles at KPMG Aitken & Peat, and has since launched into a successful career as a CA(SA).
After her articles Given spent two years within Anglo American’s Group Audit Services unit as internal auditor and then joined Ebony Financial Services as management consultant. In 1997 she joined NkonkiSizweNtsaluba as Manager of Forensics and was later promoted to Director of Forensics and then Director of Corporate Governance. In 2007 she moved to Xabiso Consulting (Pty) as Head of Internal Audit and HR Director.
Finishing her articles, buying her first car, passing her board exam and recruiting a gardener who turned out to be a great internal auditor, have all been highlights in her life so far. Another two remarkable achievements came when she was appointed to the board of Basil Read and elected an audit committee member of the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA).
Given believes women are important to the CA(SA) profession as they bring a humane touch to the business environment. She adds: “God’s work was never done, until He had brought a woman into the Garden of Eden, then was He able to rest, then was He able to bless them and say ‘be fruitful and multiply, subdue the earth and have dominion over all that’s in it’. You need women to get the best out of any environment.”
Given and her husband pastor a church in Orange Farm where they spend most of their weekends in activities relating to the church: “I attend ladies fellowship services related to the ministry most weekends and I am part of a women unity fellowship – a fellowship of about seven or eight churches in the area.”
At various points in her life she has been a netball player, ballroom and Latin-American dancer, and an actor. She also loves to play volleyball and squash, but admits she hasn’t played for quite some time.
A valuable lesson she has learnt: “Money can never be a reason why you cannot follow and accomplish your dreams and aspirations. I have learnt that effort will always meet opportunity – if you do your part and put in the efforts necessary, the right opportunities will come your way. And no matter how accomplished you become, be humble and approachable – every person you meet in life matters; any opportunity can be a breakthrough.”

Naomi Swartz
Naomi Swartz CA(SA), Head of Compliance at Grant Thorton, thoroughly enjoyed serving her articles at Deloitte in the Entrepreneur Services division from 1997 to 1999. And it is no wonder, as it was here too that she met and fell in love with the love of her life, Professor Gary Swartz. Naomi adds, “My husband says he fell in love with me because of my feisty personality!”
Her husband has been her greatest mentor in both her career and personal life. Naomi adds, “He taught me to work hard, to think smart, to not be afraid of change and to speak up and let your voice be heard. He encouraged me to be me and believe in my abilities.”
Whilst at university she obtained a number of prizes, including the Taxation 111 prize and Financial Accounting honours award. On completion of her articles she was privileged to serve a three-month secondment with Deloitte to Miami. In 2001, she was appointed as senior lecturer at Wits University where she lectured Financial Accounting 3 and 4, and obtained a Master’s of Commerce Degree (Accounting). She and her husband graduated together with their MComm degrees.
“The role of women in the CA(SA) profession is what motivated me to conduct the research I did for my MComm degree. The title of my thesis was the “Relationship between a firm’s intellectual capital performance and board diversity”. This study included as one of the variables the gender constitution of a board of directors. Whilst there are apparent marked efforts to increase the number of women on a board, there is clear evidence that women still reach the glass ceiling.
“Women are able to multi-task and still run a home and perform their jobs competently. The CA(SA) profession is known to be a ‘hard’ and self-sacrificing career with a strong emphasis on business performance; however it is my view that no entity will succeed if the ‘people and soft’ issues are not taken care of; this is largely the role of women. The current generation of CAs(SA) require the greater input of soft issue management; once again very often provided by the women in an organisation.”❐

Author: Lynn Grala

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