BACKSTORY: BCX’s Shaheen Vawda
We question Shaheen Vawda, chief of sales at BCX
What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
Always listen. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to build rapport.
What was your first job?
I worked as an ATM clerk while I was a student. I would sit in the back of ATMs, load money and reconcile the withdrawals and deposits at the end of the day.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I actually worked for free for the first three months after I received my degree. In month four, I received R200, and used some of it to put petrol in my car.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
That you will use very little of what you learnt in university in the first part of your career. Try not to forget what you learnt, though, as you will need it in the latter part.
What, if anything, would you have changed about SA’s approach to lockdown?
I would have spent a little more time thinking through the rules associated with the lockdown levels, as some of them were baffling.
What is your biggest regret?
Not taking my passion for sports seriously.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
I am an avid nature lover and would like to become an honorary ranger at some point.
What has been your worst purchase?
There have been a few, but it has to be the first SUV I bought.
What is the one investment you wish you had made, or made earlier?
I definitely would have invested in gold earlier.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Diligence. Your mistakes are your best teacher, and diligence sometimes prevents people from being bold and creative.
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?
Not really, but I do think that I would have made a pretty good surgeon.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
I would restore the dignity of people living in oppressive conditions. Give them the chance to succeed by ensuring they have a safe place to stay at night, a good school to attend during the day and a health-care facility close by when required. Our investments must be focused on education and job creation. The rest will take care of itself over time.
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