We question Donna Nemer, head of capital markets at JSE.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Investing in seafront property in Cape Town.
Which living person do you most admire?
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg — she not only takes the time to promote the value of diversity, but also has the courage to share extremely personal experiences.
What is your biggest regret?
Not taking more risks — we should always ask ourselves what we would do if fear weren’t in the way.
What was your first job?
Mowing the lawn for 50c/hour.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I never graduated from high school. After leaving school in Grade 10 I went to Brazil as an exchange student and went straight to university in the US from there.
What’s the worst airport you’ve been in?
Addis Ababa’s airport, in Ethiopia. It’s a fascinating place but a real grind when you have connecting flights to somewhere else in Africa in the middle of the night.
Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
Yoda from Star Wars — he is a wise and trusted adviser, who has the force behind him.
What are you reading at the moment? What’s the one book everyone should read before they die?
I am currently reading The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford, which is about the fourth industrial revolution. The one book I think everyone should read is The Theory of Moral Sentiments by Adam Smith. Most people know him for his classic, The Wealth of Nations, but this, in my view his greatest work, explores the moral basis and motivations that drive our search for happiness.
When and where were you happiest?
When I was 16 and living in the remote interior of Brazil. It was a time of great exploration.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Patience; the world is moving too fast to tolerate anything but urgency.
How do you deal with stress? What are your top tips for handling stress?
I deal with stress through meditation. It’s a very important tool, not just for stress management but also for self-control and self-awareness.
What is your most treasured possession?
A handkerchief that belonged to my late father. I keep it with me at all times.
Which phrase or word do you most overuse?
Eish — which I use to express all sorts of feelings. It’s my favourite word in any language.