It is my privilege to summarise my take on two of CPD Campus’ live learning events held in August 2022 which were joined by two different leaders in our profession. Our first guest was Paul Stedall CA(SA), the chief financial officer (CFO) of King Price Insurance and the second Zimkita Mabindla CA(SA), director and partner at KPMG South Africa. Both successful, admirable professionals that have climbed the ladder of success, but whose humility outshone any of their many achievements.
In the first event with Paul Stedall, who is a leader in his field of insurance, we paid attention to the SAICA competency of professional citizenship and how what we do every single day, impacts the profession in which we function, whether we realise it or not. SAICA defines professional citizenship as:
- “the ability to demonstrate professional behaviour,
- have a positive impact on one’s profession and
- a commitment to serve public interest.”
An important term not to overlook is “demonstrate”. To me, this means that the three core elements of professional citizenship should be visible in one’s being, every day. Living one’s professional citizenship consistently is of the utmost importance, and by far outweighs our verbal commitment thereto. In the event, we spoke about the fact that professionals, despite being exceptionally busy, have a responsibility to regularly set aside time in their diaries to reflect about their status as professional citizens and mentoring other professionals about same. The question is – are we really committed to doing this? Or do we, as accountants, prefer not to keep busy with these types of “wishy washy” concepts that ultimately end up just further fueling our existing uncertainties?
Another aspect we explored with Paul was the solidity and credibility of the South African auditing profession and his transition, after more than 20 years, from audit partner at Deloitte to CFO at King Price Insurance, clearly a corporate role. Paul felt that his history in the audit profession equipped him well to make this transition very smooth. Paul holds the South African auditing profession in high regard and believes that, despite facing several challenges, the profession will survive and thrive once certain important aspects have been addressed. He sustains an overall positive outlook for the future! To hear more about Paul’s views and opinions, please have a look at the event in our content suite under the title “To serve and protect: The impact of my behaviour on my profession and my commitment to serve the public interest above all else.”
In our second event, against the appropriate backdrop of Women’s Day 2022, we had the opportunity to pick the brain of one of the most inspiring female leaders of our profession, Zimkita Mabindla. The topic of our discussion was “what makes me a leader in my profession?”.
In this event, one sincerely gets convinced that Zimkita really holds most, if not all, of the answers to that question. She just makes it look that easy! However, in our interaction I realised quickly that there was nothing easy about Zimkita’s road to success. The moment you make the time to LISTEN to someone’s life story, you realise all too quickly: success inadvertently comes at a price.
Zimkita shared with us the challenges she had to overcome as a black, female chartered accountant in South Africa. I was amazed by how she has used these stumbling blocks as part of building her professional foundation, to motivate herself to achieve success in spite thereof! What impressed me was that she never forgot her roots and those that acted as enabling shapers of her career. Leadership requires sometimes making decisions that could have dire consequences for one’s career, and Zimkita even left a position as director and partner at another professional services firm to grant herself a professional sabbatical break, focusing on becoming a thought leader that can make a tangible difference.
What also stood out from our discussion was Zimkita’s love and respect for the accounting and auditing professions in South Africa – and particularly the young professionals entering it! Living as a role model for these youngsters, Zimkita believes that it is essential to create platforms where new ideas can be heard, and that young people and leaders be nurtured to grow into the future leaders that the profession needs, to sustain itself. She leads by example and has realised that her own success can only be defined taking cognizance of the success of those around her. What an amazing time we had with this exceptional professional and, even more so, humble human being! If you missed this event, please visit our content suite and search for it under the title “What makes me a leader in my profession?”.
CPD Campus is fortunate to have had such exceptional leaders as part of our list of guest speakers. Leadership is not a topic that one can unpack in one webinar, or one course. It is a lifestyle that is adopted by a person who is brave enough to make the choice to become a difference-maker in our wonderful country.