How have you developed your leadership skills?
I’ve evolved into most roles I’ve had; I’ve never just been parachuted into a leadership role. I’ve always been part of the team first, with people on the ground, and I think that makes all the difference. The best leaders also surround themselves with people who are better than them and I firmly believe that that is what I have in my team.
I also think you have to earn your stripes at Investec: even though I’ve been here 16 years, and headed up other frontline businesses, coming into digital and leading the tech team felt like I was in Grade 1 again. If you approach it that way, people respect you for it and you will build their trust.
What do women leaders bring to the boardroom table?
People often say female leaders need to lead like men but I’m proud to say that I’ve burst into tears in meetings, and I wear my heart on my sleeve most days – which shows others that it’s ok to be your real self. I don’t shout the loudest or aim to be the most aggressive, but I still hold my ground. I also often purposefully wear a dress when I go into an important meeting because I want people to remember that I’m a woman, and that’s a powerful thing.
I also try not to confine myself to only women as inspirational figures, because I think men play a huge role in championing and sponsoring women in the workplace.
Who are your mentors?
My mom never had the opportunity to work, although she had a dream of becoming a teacher. But she raised her children so well, and that inspires me. I come from a family of strong women, two older sisters, one a cancer survivor who I truly admire and the other a police detective. They make my day job look easy.
I also try not to confine myself to only women as inspirational figures, because I think men play a huge role in championing and sponsoring women in the workplace. I certainly know that without mentors like my husband Garth, Lyndon Subroyen [Global Head: Digital, Investec], Stuart Spencer [COO, Investec Bank Ltd], Malcolm Laing [Investec Group CIO] and team members like Wayne Summers [Head of Digital IT, Investec], I probably wouldn’t be where I am today, because they believed in me and pushed me forward.