Woman Online Magazine interviewed Sindi Mabaso-Koyana- wife, mother, chartered accountant & successful businesswoman
Please introduce yourself and tell us about the path that led you to where you are today.
Sindi Mabaso-Koyana is a 44 year old wife, mother and successful businesswoman, who began her career with a B.com degree and Post graduate Diploma in Accounting from UKZN. She qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte 18years ago before embarking on a very exciting but challenging working career. Her illustrious career includes being Group CFO of Transnet at the tender age of 32, being an executive Partner at Ernst & Young and being part of the leadership that drove the Africa integration of the global firm and being Group CFO of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa leading the modernization of the country’s passenger railway network. She has served on boards of South Africa’s premium corpoartes including MTN, Armscor, South African Airways, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Toyota SA, Altech, Adcorp and many others.She has been named one of the country’s 20 most powerful business women by the Financial Mail and was a finalist of the 2004 Business Woman of the Year Award.
Long journey to success
Armed with a qualification that is critical in all organisations, Sindi’s business acumen and professionalism has always underpinned her Finance offering. Her conscientiousness to the difficult journey she travelled and her appreciation of the new democratic government of South Africa led to her passion to contribute to the public sector and the growth and development of younger professionals especially women. This has honed in her own leadership skills which have underpinned her continued success and impact on not just her own life but the life of those around her. Being a founder member of the African Women Chartered Accountants, an organisation she and 3 other colleagues formed to support young women aspiring to be Chartered Accountants and those already qualified and needing a professional Network for leadership development has been testimony of her commitment. Today AWCA is a well respected professional organisation in South Africa which corporates look up to as a formidable partner in skills development.
Tell us about your business.
Hugo Knoetze and I saw a gap in the industrial space and medium size businesses to partner with and grow them. We formed Advanced Capital as a majority Black woman owned Investment company. Our investments are mainly in industrial and mining services where we buy a controlling share to allow us to drive strategic growth. We offer Fire systems, Hydraulics, Drilling and Blasting, Contract Mining, Electrical Engineering and Project Engineering services to industrial and mining companies in South Africa and across the continent. As part of our sustainability contribution, we identified an art project where we support young talent and assist them in developing their talent and growing them into entrepreneurs in order to address the challenge of unemployment in our country.
They are given the tools to create canvasses of beauty and earning a sustainable living through their craft. We launched Art Investments in August 2012, which I Chair, and we subsequently opened the Art Investments Gallery in Parkhurst by December 2012. The gallery is a platform that allows them to sell their art, creating a sustainable market for their work. It also serves as a studio where workshops on art classes are held. In addition to art mentorship, they are mentored on business skills key to grow their enterprises.
What obstacles did you have to overcome to get where you are today?
To be second guessed at all times before you could be trusted to have the skill and competency. Being Black and a woman meant I had to work thrice as hard to prove I deserved an opportunity. In hind sight, this is what has built both my character and the very competency I had to prove I had. Today I know for sure that the most challenging environments in my career were the ones that grew me most. I am grateful I had them.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Where I am today is a result of a great meeting I had with Hugo less than 3 years ago. Therefore about 3 years ago I didn’t see myself in this exciting space and rapidly growing company I find myself in. However, what I know is that Advanced Capital is a business that we are building for our children and will be amongst South Africas and Africas successful inductrial and mining services group.
Who would you say has been your greatest role model and why?
My mother. Her unwavering sense of hard work , commitment and uncompromising values and principles is what I knew as I grew up. As I navigated my journey in business I have met great business women whose professional success, alongside their family values have been truly inspiring. My boss at Transnet was a man whose demand for competent and professional delivery was always accompanied with support and counsel showing that firmness can go hand in hand with fairness. At EY my boss who was a man again showed me how much you get out of people when you show you trust and believe in them. To these role models, I truly attribute my success. As I progress further in my journey, my own business partner has turned out to be such a role model as we complement each other with our complementary attributes.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I go on regular retreats to detox and de-stress, and where possible I go together with my husband.I love spending time with my kids.Time management to be a wife, a mother as well as a business woman has become part and parcel of my routine!
What advice do you have for other aspiring business people?
Always do business with integrity and ethics!!! Never cut corners