BACKSTORY: PwC CEO Shirley Machaba
We question PwC Southern Africa CEO Shirley Machaba
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Proper and thorough research on a particular deal to gather all facts — positive and negative.
What was your first job?
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
R2,500. I saved R200, paid my insurance policies and my other bills, and kept R500 for pocket money and transport to work.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
That leadership is a skill on its own.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am reading Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.
Which phrase do you most overuse?
How satisfied are you with how our democracy has shaped up after 1994?
Partially satisfied. I can safely say we have a mature democracy compared with other countries in Africa.
What is your biggest indulgence?
Italian lemon sorbet.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
What luxury item would you take to a desert island with you?
My Gucci sneakers.
When and where were you happiest?
In 2005, when I became a partner.
How do you deal with stress?
I do exercise or go for retail therapy.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career? And if so, what would that career be?
The opposite is the case. I intended to be a medical doctor. Unfortunately on registration at university, I was told that registration for BSC students was full. I then decided to register for a BCom. I have never thought of changing my career because I love it!
How would you set about fixing SA’s jobs crisis?
There is no one answer. Government needs to develop policies to force large organisations to absorb the young and unemployed and upskill those already employed. I would promote the introduction of an entrepreneurial skills curriculum at school level so that we can create entrepreneurs or small business owners who will eventually create more jobs for others.