BACKSTORY: Nozizwe Vundla
We question Nozizwe Vundla, head of Sanlam Foundation, on her top tip for doing a deal, her lockdown routine and biggest regret
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
The best deals are those where each party walks away feeling like it’s a win.
What was your first job?
My first job out of university was as a management consultant at accounting firm KPMG. It was a steep learning curve, but fun.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was something like R10,000 after deductions. I gave half to my last surviving grandparent, my maternal grandmother, as is tradition in my family. It was a token of my gratitude to her as the family matriarch for the role she played together with my parents in raising me.
What is the one thing that you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Be more intentional about building networks.
What is your lockdown routine?
I have online meetings with my team and other colleagues. The balance of time is spent with my partner and our three-month-old child. I’ve had to do a lot more household chores during lockdown than I would normally. All of this leaves very little room for anything else.
What is your biggest regret?
Not continuing to play musical instruments. I took piano and flute lessons as an adolescent and played in the school orchestra, but the time came when I was "too cool" to play. I’d like to take up lessons again one day.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I’m a huge art geek. I can spend hours in art museums and galleries.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I wish I had invested in Zoom shares before Covid-19.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being overly compliant. Sometimes the status quo needs to be shaken up a bit.
Was there ever a point at which you wanted to trade it all in for a different career?
I’ve done many different things throughout my working life. But this has led me to a career that aligns with my passion for social justice. I get paid to help people, which is a real privilege.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would put a great deal of energy and political will into building a new social compact around basic education, bringing in all key role-players, including teachers, parents and the unions. We in SA do not get a return on investment in basic education. We require a paradigm shift, where building an effective education system becomes a national focus point and a way of life.
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