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Thato Schermer, co-founder: Zoie Health Technologies. Picture: Supplied
Thato Schermer, co-founder: Zoie Health Technologies. Picture: Supplied

What’s your one top tip for doing a deal?

Find a way to make it work for all parties.

What was your first job?

I was a business analyst for a global management consulting company.

How much was your first pay cheque, and how did you spend it? 

I can’t remember but I went shopping for work clothes at Zara and treated my parents to a lovely dinner.

What is the one thing you wish somebody had told you when you were starting out?

Trust the process and ditch the insecurity. So much of my early career was filled with so much insecurity and doubt when I should have just believed in myself and savoured the lessons.

If you could fix only one thing in SA, what would it be?

I would make high-quality health care more accessible for everyone. 

What’s the most interesting thing about you that people don’t know?

I am a master of global accents. I can do anything from an American to an Australian to a Nigerian and an Indian accent.

What’s the worst investment mistake you’ve made?

In my early days in my first job, it was getting a credit card. I still shake my head at that awful decision.

What’s the best investment you’ve ever made? And how much of it was due to luck?

Probably not buying a new car for almost 10 years even though mine was paid off. I had to resist the urge to keep up with my counterparts. It was mostly due to my father’s sound advice that he drilled into us since I was a teenager: “A car is not an asset. Don’t waste your money on trying to keep up. Save and invest your finances.”

What is the hardest life lesson you’ve learnt so far?

Patience and perseverance are truly the elixirs of success. So often I tried to rush things or gave up too easily, therefore not always making the best decisions. Had I just had patience and persevered ...

What is something you would go back and tell your younger self that would impress them?

That one day you’d contribute to making health care accessible, affordable and more caring through Zoie for women in SA and elsewhere on the continent.

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?

Yes! I’d be a software engineer in a heartbeat. I love the process of building something from nothing and using cool technological tools to make a difference. I’m halfway there now so I’m kind of living the dream. 

If you were President Cyril Ramaphosa, what would you change, or do, tomorrow?

I’d make SA safer for women and children, make it easier to access health care and remove stigma around women’s health matters.


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