BACKSTORY: Liesel Dentlinger
We question group HR director at Omnia Holdings Liesel Dentlinger
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Go in with the right attitude and play to your strengths.
What was your first job?
My first paying job was as a waitress, from my teenage years. The first position I regarded as a real job was as junior mayor of the town where I grew up. But my first job in the corporate world was as a graduate trainee in human resources in the mining industry.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
It was R5,068 and I spent most of it repaying my mother the money she had lent me so that I would make it through to payday.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Prudence — sometimes it is worth taking a risk.
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?
My love for Formula 1 often has me wishing I could be an F1 team principal but, alas, it may be a bit too late to make that move now.
What, if anything, would you have changed about SA’s approach to lockdown?
There could have been a more cohesive effort to ensure that more people had access to food, especially as so many have lost their income during this time.
What is your biggest regret?
I regret wanting to achieve too much too soon in the workplace. I should have slowed down as my career was taking off to make the most of the guidance that was available to me at the time. I think the lessons learnt then would have better prepared me for some of the challenges I faced later on.
What was the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
To trust my instincts — it’s an invaluable resource in negotiation.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
A greater understanding of the stock market so as to add more diversification to my investment portfolio.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I enjoy endurance sports and pushing my limits, which is why I take part in triathlons and marathons.
If you were Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
With SA’s unemployment rate above 30%, I would call for cohesive and inclusive job creation and entrepreneurial programmes involving government and the private sector.
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