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Category: Meet The Leader

Meet The Leader – Elisa Masilela

In October, the Hub was greatly privileged to host Elias Masilela at our last Meet the Leader for 2018. Despite being humble and quiet by nature, Elias is a force to be reckoned with in South Africa’s political and economic landscape.

His bio makes for an awe-inspiring read. Director of DNA Economics and a part-time commissioner on the National Planning Commission, Elias is also a Director of the South African Savings Institute; a founder member of the Financial Sector Charter Council and a former member of the Advisory Board of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of Pretoria. 

Until recently, Elias was the Chief Executive Officer of the Public Investment Commission (PIC) and a Director of the South African Reserve Bank.  He has previously held senior positions with Sanlam, the Central Bank of Swaziland and was the Deputy Director General of the South African National Treasury.

Elias has also published two very interesting books – Number 43 Trelawney Park: KwaMagogo and Larry, Simply Larry. Both detail his fascinating upbringing in Swaziland, where his family home served as a headquarters for passing ANC and PAC cadres who were involved the South African liberation struggle. Hub members were lucky to be able to discuss the main messages in his books with him and purchase a few copies for ourselves.

During the evening, Elias shared numerous pearls of wisdom which made for amazing and perfectly tweetable clips:   

  • One’s ability to influence and get people to listen to you is a function of your office. You should never take this position for granted and constantly remain accountable to the office. Do not get drunk on the power of the office.
  • Never make decisions in your own interests for short-term gain. Make decisions that you can stand by and will be proud of the next day. Base them on principle and not on personhood.
  • Be yourself and be authentic when making decisions, rather than being influenced by the power of the office. Otherwise, upon leaving the office, you will regret decisions that do not match your character.
  • Respect every person and do to the next person what you would like done to yourself
  • Be careful what rungs you climb on your way up, as you may need to step on them again on your way down
  • Always learn from others – the good, and the bad. Follow the good only.
  • Always, always, always have a mentor!
  • Those in governance need to value integrity. If there was integrity in the world, there would be no need for regulations or policemen. Always do the right thing, even if no one is watching.

Elias also emphasized the need for civic engagement and the importance of each South African taking responsibility for the welfare of the country. Our problems are too big for government to solve alone, thus he spoke about change starting at the individual rather than institutional level. This includes changing the narrative around South Africa and spreading more positive news to build confidence and change behaviours in our country.

It was truly an inspiring evening and the hub is so grateful to Elias for making time in his busy schedule to come speak to us.

Meet The Leader – Katlego Malatji

On the evening of Tuesday, 21 August 2018, the Tshwane Hub hosted a Meet the Leader session with Katlego Malatji, Co-founder and CEO of HomeComing Events and Tailormade Legal Solutions. HomeComing Events is a “fully black owned company that specializes in event organisation, consultancy, sponsorship procurement, brand management and activations, marketing and lifestyle solutions.”

One of their most successful events is Tshwanefontien – held at the African Beer Emporium in the 012 Central courtyard, this is a monthly “cross culture event that seeks to build a social bridge for youth who have common artistic and musical taste.” The idea was born when Malatji was a student at the University of Pretoria and was looking for a way to harness his friends’ love of the outdoors, good food, great company and even better music. He wanted a space in which his friends studying at different institutions could come together to reunite during the holidays. He thus started the Homecoming picnic, the success of which encouraged him to progress onto establishing Tshwanefontein. Attendance rates at both these events have grown tremendously over the last five years.

The main theme of Malatji’s talk for the evening was “make accountability great again”. He believes that if you cannot hold yourself to your word, your word cannot be accountable to your dreams. Malatji shared with us the ways in which discipline, commitment and persistence played a key role in the expansion of Homecoming Events and his work as a lawyer in the entertainment industry.

Malatji also highlighted the importance of listening to your audience, paying attention to the market and taking advantage of opportunities to fill gaps that will produce unique products for clients. He attributed his success with Homecoming Events to the fact that he understands his market well and can thus tell when it is time to adapt to industry changes. “Be a student of your industry, then you will know when the time is right to reinvent yourself. Don’t study your business in isolation from the industry”

Malatji reflected on the importance of failure, saying “everything I know about winning, I learned from losing. It is through all of this that I have come to realise that there are no set procedures to entrepreneurial success but there certainly exist consistent principles which successful entrepreneurs live by”. He feels that while money, recognition and awards is part of the package of building a successful business, your values and principles which ground are most important.

However, this cannot be achieved through hard work, persistence and talent alone. Malatji stressed that having an accountability mentor is an essential part of building a good business. One must have someone to look up to, who will push you and help you remain on your path. Accountability does not only mean being able to do it, but it is about having the courage to do it right and being guided by your core values. “If you can be trusted to deliver, people will invest in your dreams.”

Meet the Leader – Kurisani Maswanganyi

The Tshwane Hub had an intimate and inspiring Meet the Leader session with Ms Kurisani Maswanganyi, Managing Director and Founder of Kulani Engineering Consultancy. Maswanganyi a civil engineer turned entrepreneur, shared her leadership journey with the hub, highlighting some of the key lessons she has learnt along the way.

 

Some of the major highlights from her talk are:
• “Success is value created… When you have created value you have created a lasting impact.”

• “Become an instrument that demonstrates the society you want to see. I am that instrument that will build the girl child”.

• “My dream is to create an environment in which female engineers thrive. The industry does not understand the value a woman can bring to it.”

Speaking on some of the challenges she faced in her entrepreneurship journey, Maswanganyi notes that, “South Africa does not leave enough room for people to fail. But those who succeed are those who try and fail and try again the most”. She adds that, “My failures do not reflect my inability to succeed. They demonstrate my strength.
My failures and dark moments in life have shaped me and taught me a great amount. They made me who I am today” The Meet the Leader session was attending by members of the hub, as well as young professionals and aspiring engineers.

A Pretoria Women-Run Powerhouse

To a pass-byer, Pretoria may appear to be a sleepy little town filled with Blue Bull supporters, Friday evening sokkie gatherings and Sunday afternoon family braais. Comfortable, quiet and rather stagnant compared to the bright lights and hustle of Jozi just a couple of kilometers away.


Oh, but how wrong that perception would be!  Continue reading

Meet the Leader – James Mwangi

James Mwangi is Dalberg’s Global Managing Partner (http://www.dalberg.com/), overseeing the activities of the firm’s 11 offices and more than 120 staff from his base in Johannesburg. He has served a wide range of clients including governments, multilateral institutions, private foundations, major investors, and corporations across Africa and around the world. James has helped new organizations ranging from think tanks to private equity funds to develop business plans and implement launch strategies.

James has also led strategic reviews of several financial institutions seeking to stimulate development in Southern Africa via their investments. He has advised East Africa’s largest bank on its overall strategy and helped two West African heads of state to create new decision-making processes.

Meet the Leader - James Mwangi

Meet the Leader – James Mwangi

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