BACKSTORY: Nomndeni Mdakhi
We question founder of Agenda Women Nomndeni Mdakhi
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Prompt for clear next steps and don’t be vague, but avoid aggression. Be clear about how you’ll close the deal.
What was your first job?
I was a client service consultant at MultiChoice.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
It will take a while to figure things out. Show up. Do your best and put one foot in front of the other. Stay curious.
Do you think we need SAA?
Perhaps the question should be: "Do we need a national carrier?" Many of the world’s most prominent national airlines are no longer owned or even majority controlled by the countries in which they originated. We have to really assess how much we are willing to lose for the sake of holding on to national pride. This decision needs to be examined on the basis of SAA being a business first.
What is your biggest regret?
This might sound clichéd but I do not have regrets. I live in gratitude and focus on the lessons each experience presents.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was R500 a week. I probably used a huge chunk of it on petrol.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I listen to hip-hop for inspiration and follow basketball and the stories of the players very closely.
What has been your worst purchase?
A couple of luxury bags in my 20s and not saving at that time. I don’t even care to own them at this point.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
Property. I own a house but wish I had invested in a couple of townhouses or apartments for rentals.
What would you go back and tell your younger self that would impress her?
You have a diverse group of friends from all walks of life, nationalities and backgrounds. The fact that you are in an all-black school in a small township in the middle of nowhere will not matter in the long run. All the hours you put into your growth will ultimately determine your value in the rooms that matter.
How do you cope with load-shedding?
EskomSePush. Knowing when it is happening manages my anxiety and I can plan better.
If you were Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I’ll approach this question from a leadership point of view versus an implementation point of view. We need a courageous leader; someone who shows up boldly for the people of SA, who holds people accountable and appoints experts in all industries. We have to figure out a different way to honour our "heroes" — it cannot be to the detriment of this or coming generations.