6 leadership lessons from inspiring women
08 March 2019
Investec's women leaders share their advice to other women on the rise.
7 min read
Only *2% of bank chiefs worldwide are women, according to an IMF 2017 report. Meet Ruth Leas, the South African who’s been designated as the new chief executive officer of Investec Bank plc.
Ruth is scheduled to take over later this year as CEO of Investec Bank plc, the main banking subsidiary of FTSE 250-listed Investec plc.
Ruth, a 47-year-old mother of three who hails from South Africa, is currently Investec Bank plc’s chief risk officer.
*Most recent figures at the time of publishing.
Don’t look at being a woman as a disadvantage. It’s actually a major advantage and one should take this on and use it.
"...continual becoming, never being..."
(Schopenhauer, referencing Plato)
According to the 2018 Global Gender Gap report, South Africa has for two years in a row managed to retain the 19th spot out of 144 countries assessed.
Fani Titi, Investec Group Co-CEO, says, “It’s encouraging to see South Africa in the top 20 of a global report of this nature, but we must acknowledge that South Africa and Investec have some way to go.
"The state of workplace gender equality, diversity and inclusion has far-reaching effects on everything from employee wellness and retention, to innovation and business outcomes, to real connections with our clients. It’s undoubtedly something organisations must view with utmost importance.”
“To this end, various programmes form part of Investec’s gender agenda. We are proud to announce that we have created more opportunities for women to be in more senior positions and higher levels within the organisation."
"We are particularly proud of our employee initiatives around talent mobility, full-scale wellness, more flexible-working patterns, employee empowerment, and better recognition mechanisms. We believe this will go a long way towards retaining talent, especially women who are looking to find more balance."
Investec is equally invested in women from broader communities, whether in the classroom or sports field. The bank is committed to numerous education, mentorship, and sports programmes that help unlock brilliance, amplify confidence, and support the economy.
Investec is partnering with women on the rise to the top of the business world. Here some of the company's leading ladies share their expert insights on the issues they deal with every day in the workplace.
From a senior aviation finance consultant to the head of digital, these dynamic Investec women in business have inspiring life and career journeys.
Ensuring meaningful and equitable representation in the property industry
Breaking the glass ceiling in mining and engineering.
"Just get on and do it. High quality deliverables speak for you, it makes gender irrelevant."
"Stay true to who you are. Show up as your true authentic self. Walk your own path. Create your own story. There’s no one else like you. That’s your superpower."
"When an opportunity arises, make an informed decision and then take the bull by the horns and don’t give up!"
"One of the most important things in life, and at work, is to know your worth and what you stand for and to never let perceptions hold you back. Take a risk, it might just pay off."
"The world will respect and value you, once you respect and value yourself. Navigate life with humility, authenticity and a comfortable level of vulnerability… you will succeed!"
"I live by a Richard Branson quote: ‘If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes then learn how to do it later'."
Fill up the room. Claim your space.
Using her success to positively impact others
"I have learned to let go of my 'working mom' guilt – my son’s class prefer Woolworths cupcakes to home-baked gluten-free ones."
"It does not matter who you are or where you come from, the ability to triumph begins with you” (Oprah)
"The most valuable lesson I have learnt over the years is to surround yourself with good people and then to trust them."
"Often you’re the only one getting in your way. Tenacity pays off, stay with it."
"Having my KZN colours in Karate drives my fearless attitude. Being resilient will strengthen the ‘force’ within you!"
"Find someone in our business that you really admire and learn from them. Having regular feedback and support has helped me immensely."
Bringing business sense to the world of technology
Embracing women being women
"A powerful woman is not made to fit in but rather destined to stand out. So go ahead, unleash your inner beast and show the world who you are and what you're capable of."
"As nurturers we should learn to lift others as we rise so as to create a strong network of independent and hard-working women"
"Too often as women we feel that failure is the opposite of success. It's not, rather it's part of success."
"Get up, get out there and make a difference wherever you are. Network. Graft. Be present. Own your space. Move and be moved, but most of all, be humble and remain positive."
Learning life lessons from competitive sport
Harnessing the power of change