CFOs discussed the true mark of a leader during 2021 Finance Indaba Conversations

From mentorship, to courage, to integrity; CFOs agreed that the role of a leader is to add value to all stakeholders.

A saying that the finance industry is all too familiar with is that “finance professionals are no longer just the bean counters of the business”. They have become strategic business partners to other C-suite executives, and have even taken on mentoring and coaching to add value to all stakeholders of the business.

During the 2021 Finance Indaba Conversations, CFOs all showed that the true mark of a leader is the value they create for their fellow executives and their mentees.

Value through mentoring
MTN CFO Dineo Molefe explained that mentorship is important for finance professionals because mentorship is a process that facilitates growth and maturation as we continue to develop in our careers and lives.

Ascendis Health CFO CJ Kujenga said that people will always need mentors, as they never stop learning, and that it is particularly valuable during any kind of career shift.

Avashnee Ramdial, CFO at Stanlib, also revealed that mentors have played an active role in shaping her career. She said that throughout her career mentors have taught her how to build her own brand, build networks and to become a more prominent supporter of developing women in the workplace. Mentors, she said, help provide opportunities for you.

Finance leaders of the future
Zoliswa Mashinini, finance director: Africa and Middle East at G4S said that the accountant of the future needs to have integrity, be an excellent communicator and a problem solver to be effective. “You need to know what you stand for and demonstrate good ethics. You need to drive internal stakeholder engagement and understand the business and you need to solve problems. CEOs are looking for CFOs who are problem solvers,” she explained.

Hulamin CFO Mark Gounder said that leaders have a responsibility to help their teams develop and become more resilient as well. He said that leaders with EQ allow people to learn from mistakes and have the self-restraint to not meddle in how people do their jobs, because that is part of empowerment.

Samara Totaram, CFO at Stadio, shared how people lack a full appreciation of the courage you must have to wear the CFO badge. “The CFO job is sometimes a lonely and hard one because you are the ‘no’ person and nobody wants to be the ‘no’ person,” she said, adding that making unpopular decisions is also a great display of courage.