Qualified: 1996 after studying at the University of Durban-Westville (now University of KwaZulu-Natal)
Current position: National Human Capital Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Nitasha has been with PwC for 13 years.
I started my career with the firm as a trainee accountant and was admitted as a partner in 2001 at the age of thirty. When I started my training contract I had no idea what I would be doing once it was complete. I did notice however that being a partner was considered to be a significant achievement. And predictably – my competitive nature rose to the challenge. I no longer have any client contact in my role as Human Capital Director, but I consider the partners and staff of PwC as clients, deserving the same attention, time and detail as any external client.
During my time at PwC, I was seconded for four years to the Office of the Auditor-General of South Africa, working at a strategic level in public sector finance, accounting and auditing. I also have a post-graduate Higher Diploma in Computer Auditing from Wits University and I’ve lectured accountancy and business management at tertiary level.
Both my parents are professionals and from an early age stressed the importance of academic achievement. Being the youngest of three daughters, there was constant comparison to my two older and much more intelligent sisters. Combine this with my innately competitive nature, being successful is extremely important to me.
I am a member of several professional bodies: The South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA), The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, The Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (ABASA), The Business Women’s Association, and The Information Systems Audit and Control Association in Illinois, USA.
I have also held various positions in professional organisations and these include: Chairperson of SAICA’s Transformation Committee and Chairperson of the Pretoria Association of Chartered Accountants. I am currently an executive member of the Pretoria Branch of the ABASA.
Within PwC, I am a member of both the Women in PwC Steering Committee and the National Transformation Committee, as well as a past member of the Governing Board.
Balancing work and family
I am fairly disciplined about separating my work and personal life. I believe in making my maximum contribution while I am at work but once I am with my family, this time is jealously guarded. This may not go down so well with some of my colleagues – but answering my work cell phone over the weekends is not a high priority for me. I need to spend quality time with my family and we all enjoy retail therapy – shoes and handbags especially, and fine dining and playing tennis. I love cooking and baking and together with my two girls we are frequently covered with flour.
My philosophy is that success is a relative measure and means different things to each person. My own personal benchmark is whether I have made a difference and enjoyed what I have been doing. My simple view on life is to make a difference. We have to leave a legacy, no matter how big or small. Otherwise why bother?
Advice for women
For women aspiring to leadership positions in any field, you need to be true to who you are. Don’t imitate others but rather showcase your own unique strengths. There are numerous opportunities in PwC, the profession and beyond for women leaders – be courageous about seizing them.
Nitasha Manik CA(SA) is the National Human Capital Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.