Q: Tell us a bit about your career to date?
to lecture in marketing at Aberystwyth University
for four years. After my time in Wales I relocated
to South Africa and joined Added Value, a strategic
marketing agency and part of the global WPP
group. I then worked in internal marketing, aligning
employee behaviours with brand values. I am
now working for Deloitte Consulting, I joined the
company in 2007.
Q: You studied for your first degree, your MB A
and your PhD at Cardiff – why this University?
When I lived in Paris the commute from home to school
was an hour’s drive, each way and it was clear to me
that I did not want to attend a university in a big city.
Cardiff was appealing for its reputation as a university,
its size as a small student town and its renowned Welsh
friendliness. Both the University and town lived up to my
expectations and I have very fond memories of both. I
would very much like to visit again.
Q: You are involved in a number of projects
outside of your professional life...
I am part of New Faces New Voices – a network
of professional women under the leadership of Mrs
Graca Machel Mandela – committed to the financial
empowerment of African women. We recently hosted
the first African Women’s Economic Summit in Nairobi
in partnership with the African Development Bank. The
conference brought together leaders in the financial sector,
policy makers, regulators and key decision makers to
come up with concrete and measurable ways in which
to increase women’s access to finance as consumers and
I am committed to
setting up some sort
of a microfinance
facility in Zimbabwe
also to increase female participation within financial
institutions themselves. Following the global crisis, we
feel there is an opportunity for women’s voices to be
heard in order to find sustainable solutions to the African
development challenge. Africa will only develop when
women are no longer marginalised.
I was also recently selected to join the 2010
Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship programme
and will spend some time at Oxford University. It is an
intensive programme aimed at grooming leadership for
Africa. Leadership in this context relates to giving back
by empowering and uplifting one’s society.
Q: What has been your proudest moment so far?
Watching my sons perform on stage at their crèche
Christmas concert. It was the first time that I had an
outside-in perspective of them, to see them holding their
own and showcasing their talent. To raise an individual is
an awesome responsibility but deeply rewarding.
Q: What is the greatest ambition that you are
yet to achieve?
I heard Professor Mohammed Yunus give the Nelson Mandela lecture in 2009. He spoke of how lives have been
transformed for the females of Bangladesh by the Grameen
Bank. Females’ outlook and perspective shifts amazingly
as they emerge from poverty and become empowered
and self-reliant. Zimbabwean women are incredibly
hardworking, enterprising and resilient, and have endured
an economy of 5m% inflation with much dignity. I
thought to myself, if given a fighting chance at life, what
are these extraordinary women really capable of? So I am
committed to setting up some sort of a microfinance facility
in Zimbabwe for women… maybe, not a bank initially!
Q: How do you juggle your many
With much difficulty! I almost always feel
compromised and guilty. It really isn’t easy for
working mothers. But as you grow older, I think
one naturally becomes more selfless. Women are
predisposed to put everyone else’s needs ahead of
their own. It sometimes feels like a part of me is in
suspension. I have to make conscious decisions to only
turn on my laptop if I really have to, once the boys
have gone to bed. But I am not complaining.
Q: Is there any such thing as an average day?
With consulting, each day is different. I like the
diversity of the work that comes with consulting,
the constant stimulation of moving across
projects. Teams are configured to meet the
specifics of the project so I am constantly working
with different people.
Q: You pursued a PhD but chose a career
outside of academia – what made you
change career track?
I am intellectually curious but I didn’t necessarily
think that I would apply my PhD within
an academic context. I wanted a fast-paced
challenging environment with lots of client
interaction in a results-oriented environment
where you go in, fix a problem then move onto
the next. I believe at some point I will go back to
academia. My focus will be on infusing theory
with practical elements from the vantage point of
having experienced both worlds.
Q: Have the things that you learnt from your
PhD had an impact on your business career?
Hugely, especially the skills that come with
conducting research for three to four years.
Academia and consulting are very complementary.
There’s a way of thinking, organising information
and conceptualising ideas that comes with a PhD.
One’s written communication skills are developed
from writing that thesis, presentation skills are
enhanced through lecturing and presenting at
conferences. There’s a confidence that comes with
having to defend your work.
Q: You’ve recently agreed to become a
member of the School’s MSc Strategic
Marketing Review Panel…
I am proud of my alma mater and happy to contribute
to it. It is very exciting that the School is now fourth
in the RAE rankings. My involvement with the panel
allows me to draw on my current experiences in the
corporate world. I evaluate whether the courses on
offer are relevant in the ‘real’ world and look to improve
the overall tenor of the programmes on offer.
Q: What advice would you give to graduates who
are inspired to follow a career in consultancy and
get involved with social projects?
Find out what your passion is and follow that path.
Until you find it, don’t be afraid to experiment and try
different careers until you find your sweet spot! The
reason I am motivated is because I truly enjoy what I do.
I love Deloitte Consulting – it’s a great environment; very
corporate but not arrogant, flexible and entrepreneurial.
Do whatever social projects you can – however small.
The small actions are just as important as the biggest ones.
Invest in the small-scale differences that only you can make.
I defended my PhD in 2000 on June 29 and went on