Four CFOs share where they draw their inspiration from


From family to CEOs to industry potential to gardening and books: here's what inspires South Africa's CFOs.

People in the finance profession usually look to the CFOs for inspiration, but where do CFOs look to for theirs? We asked four of South Africa’s most influential CFOs where they draw their inspiration from and many pointed to their superiors.

AGH CFO Rivasha Maharaj said that she has been inspired by many people. A lot of them have been her superiors.

“I’ve been privileged to work with great individuals from a personality and work ethic perspective. People have taken me under their wing and shown me the ropes.”

Read more: Afri-business is a tough industry right now

“I take a lot of inspiration from our chairman and vice chairman,” says Vedanta Zinc CFO Pushpender Singla (pictured). “They are very humble and down-to-earth individuals.”

He referred to their vision, entrepreneurship and strong commitment, which resulted in them converting a small scrap business into a global metal and mining conglomerate.

“In addition, I love to read and know about the paths of young entrepreneurs and professionals who, in their early age, have reached great heights in their respective careers.”

Read more: Pushpender Singla, Vedanta Zinc CFO, says he is committed to growth in Africa

Area CFO-in-waiting at AstraZeneca Osman Mia looks to a more familiar superior for inspiration. 

“I believe that integrity is key and I draw my inspiration from my dad in that regard.” 

Although Osman’s dad is not his superior in the professional industry, he was previously a CEO and held quite a few board positions. 

“He has an entrepreneurial spirit, and has passed it down to his family,” Osman said. “My brother is also a successful entrepreneur.”

“This attitude helps me to focus on my goals at work. There is never a day where I’ve said ‘I haven’t achieved what I needed to achieve’, and not asked myself ‘what more could I be doing to move my organisation in a certain direction?’”

Read more: Osman Mia, area CFO-in-waiting to a global pharmaceutical business

OUTsurance CFO Jan Hofmeyr draws his inspiration from how the financial services industry has the power to improve the quality of life of the societies it serves by not only continually improving product access, service quality and value for money, but playing a key role to enable economic growth and job creation in South Africa. 

“This prospect of creating better client outcomes inspires me, especially in the digital age, where the pace of change and innovation is ever increasing.” 

Read more: Nine questions for OUTsurance CFO Jan Hofmeyr

Similarly inspired by development and young professionals, PPC CFO Tryphosa Ramano enjoys seeing something that started as a concept through to the final outcome.

She refers to PPC’s CA training programme, which was launched in 2013, through which they’ve produced more than 10 CAs. “It’s a great initiative, and I love seeing people come here as trainees, go through accreditation with SAICA, and become qualified CAs,” Tryphosa says. “We have also participated in a programme with Fordham University (in New York), where those trainees go as a part of their training. There is nothing as inspiring and motivating as a young person going to an Ivy League institution and come back with better knowledge.” 

She also likes gardening:

“I think there’s a relationship between my love of development and my love of gardening, because you tend plants from seeds until they become flowers of vegetables. It inspires me to think differently and helps me to relax.” 

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