Position: Investment Analyst
“The recipe behind my success is always being ready to grasp opportunities that present themselves,” says Tetelo Mabona, Eskom Pension and Provident Fund (EPPF) investment analyst.
“I’m still exploring things,” says Tetelo, who was clutching a BCom Honours degree in Investment Management when she stepped down from the graduation stage at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2015.
Tetelo is finishing a master’s degree in finance, also at UJ. Her ambition is to be a portfolio manager, and at the EPPF she is gaining the experience she needs to do this.
“What’s lovely about this environment [at the EPPF] is that although asset management is a male-dominated sector, in my team there are two women, led by a man. I find that in the financial sector women are still not taken seriously as we should be, but with my manager at the EPPF, I can see that things are changing,” she says.
Walking the halls of the EPPF’s headquarters in Bryanston, Johannesburg, Tetelo is very far from where she started out. The young professional finished matric in Tembisa on the East Rand in 2007 during a prolonged nationwide teachers’ strike.
The strike was part of public sector-wide industrial action that lasted 28 days. During this time Tetelo and a few other selected schoolmates were tutored by Star Schools, a supplementary education service provider that delivers teaching, learning and management solutions to basic education providers, with a specific focus on grades 10, 11 and 12.
“I had to decide, do I complain and blame the system, or do I do something,” says Tetelo. As she so often has, she took the proffered opportunity and applied to the Star Schools programme. She and her Star Schools classmates also formed study groups and taught each other. “Less than five out of the approximately 350 of us in my class that year attained university passes,” she says.
This experience gave Tetelo a passion for teaching that she hopes to revisit – at university she tutored younger students in statistics for two years. For now, Tetelo is studying, and dreaming of a time when companies that appoint women to top leadership positions do not necessarily feel the need to “make a public declaration” about it.
“We need to be in a place where that is normal. We need to get rid of the tag ‘woman’ and let females at the top of their game just be called leaders.”