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What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?
First, and critically, ensure that it makes commercial sense and is based on sound business principles.
What was your first job?
Junior accountant at an audit firm.
How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it?
I cannot recall the exact amount, but somewhere in the region of R200. I spent it on clothes, of course.
What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?
Not to be so hard on myself. Learn to take it easier as you progress through life and put yourself first sometimes.
What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt?
You cannot assume that everyone is trustworthy and honest.
If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?
Education. The quality of education is failing our past and current students and is not preparing them for the future.
What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?
Though I’m generally quiet, I enjoy the real adrenaline activities such as skydiving, parasailing and paragliding — and I’ve done just about all of them.
What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?
I was one of the very first women to join the audit profession as a partner in SA back in the day. It was a career largely driven by men, but despite that, I was well respected and that allowed me to grow and to make a success of it.
What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?
Steinhoff, of course, and in general taking my stockbroker’s advice without doing my homework.
What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?
Investing in the tech market — Amazon, Alphabet, etcetera. I don’t think it was luck; tech at the time that I invested had all the potential for growth.
If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?
Dismiss those ministers who are not delivering on what was promised to the nation, and deal decisively with corruption. This country cannot afford another day beset with corrupt activities. Each day, as one corrupt deal after another is concluded, hundreds of people go hungry.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.