Thandie Mashego: A Reflection on One Year at the Fund

Thandie Mashego: A Reflection on One Year at the Fund

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By Rorisang Rathebe

Like many other South Africans, Thandie Mashego embraced the festive period of 2022 as a time for much needed rest. Having taken no time between her transition from Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at WDB Investment Holdings to CFO at the Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF), she felt long overdue. 2022 had been a year of personal and professional growth, with her appointment at the EPPF being a highlight. “My move to the Fund happened in a way that required a lot of growth from me,” she reflects. “I was thrown into my role, which is a good thing, because it allowed me to adapt quickly and understand so much about the organisation in a short space of time.” 


As CFO, Thandie’s day-to-day responsibilities at the Fund range from asset management, investment management and executive leadership, to financial risk management, reporting and strategy development. With extensive experience in each of these areas, joining the Fund was an extension of her already thriving career. She has served as CFO at Vantage Capital Group and WDB Investment Holdings in the past but, as a young CA(SA), she didn’t particularly aspire to operate at executive level. “When I was approached with the possibility of being CFO at Vantage Capital, I couldn’t imagine myself in Finance after having worked in Investments all those years,” she says. “I shied away from the role at first, but eventually realised I could leverage my skills to make a success of it.” 

A woman as brilliant and confident as Thandie still experiences ‘imposter syndrome’ once in a while though. It is a natural form of self-doubt and is even more common among women in the workplace. “It mostly happens when you’re entering territory that you’re not familiar with,” Thandie explains. “When you’re surrounded by knowledgeable people, and when you’re one of few women in any boardroom, insecurity can creep in. But I try never to dwell on that feeling; I show up no matter what”. Where many people see vulnerability as a weakness, Thandie views it as a strength. “I’ve found that one of the best ways to deal with imposter syndrome is to lean into your vulnerability by giving yourself permission to ask for help and learn from others. These kinds of insecurities are often self-imposed because we expect ourselves to be perfect. When we’re able to admit that we are not, there’s so much opportunity to grow.”

As she expands on the unique experiences of women in corporate, Thandie shares her thoughts on the importance of more female representation in her own industry and others. “We need to paint a picture that represents the demographic of South Africa. We don’t want young girls to grow up thinking that they don’t fit in, which is why it’s important for them to see female leadership all around them. I have a teenage daughter and she needs to know she can be anything she wants. We already know that women are more than capable of being successful in all industries; they just need to be given opportunities. With so many female graduates in technical fields, there is no doubt about whether we qualify. To transform the industry, we need to unlearn the false perceptions that prevent women from participating. And that doesn’t mean treating women differently; it just means giving them access to opportunities that they can make the most of.” 

Now, having found her footing in the Finance space, Thandie sees the role of CFO as a chance to be an “all-rounder”, while still being able to employ her technical skills in Investments. “I’ve fallen in love with Finance, and I enjoy the space immensely now,” she says. February marks one year since she took up her position at the EPPF. The shift, according to Thandie, came at a pivotal time in her personal life, but also in the world as we know it. 

“When I joined the Fund, I came from a smaller organisation, so there were many adjustments I had to make in that regard. It was challenging to establish relationships without physical contact, because working from home has become a norm in the post-pandemic world,” she says. As a leader, keeping her team engaged is one of Thandie’s top priorities. She understands the importance of a “personal touch” in her leadership style, and therefore had to adapt to the virtual work dynamic. “Impactful leadership starts with trust, which goes both ways. On my end, it’s about trusting the team to remain productive and independent, while understanding where I fit in and where they need me. It’s important that I know my team personally and create a space for them to reach out for support.”

From an operational and strategic perspective, Thandie has also experienced growth through the need for adaptation. “The EPPF is already well positioned, but there are also many opportunities for strategic learnings and development. I’m excited to be a part of improving the Finance department’s service to the business, as well as to the Fund’s members.”

As she enters her second year as Chief Financial Officer at the EPPF, Thandie Mashego embraces challenges and opportunities along the way. This year, she hopes to be more proactive in identifying and responding to business needs, while partnering more meaningfully as a financial expert. “We operate in a volatile and uncertain environment as a key investor in the economy. This year is a time for us to cement the ideas around delivering value proposition and enhancing member services. That requires renewed thinking and energy.”

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