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#WOMAN’SDAYFOCUS - Refilwe Ndlovu, Business Rescue Practitioner at Chrisyd Advisory Services

Meet TMA-SA member - Refilwe Ndlovu, Business Rescue Practitioner at Chrisyd Advisory Services

Tell us a bit about your childhood

I was born and raised in Soweto. I grew up in a warm family environment with little financial resources but lots of love, laughter, and support. Growing up in the township gives you that extra added advantage of being tough-skinned and a little bit street smart. These qualities come in handy in a business environment.

And your dream career?

My field of study was Accounting and Auditing. My dream was to become a Chartered Accountant. Although my path led me elsewhere, I am grateful for the opportunities that were presented along the journey of my life, which includes attaining my MBA qualification.

Your journey to the working world…

I started my career as an Accountant. I then moved on to work in various senior roles within the Financial Services Industry where I gained a broad and well-rounded view of the financial landscape in South Africa in general and the dynamic and intricacies of business funding.

After 19 years working in the financial industry and working with distressed companies, I realised that there was an opportunity in the market to provide a comprehensive suite of turnaround and business rescue services. This inspired me to start my own company in 2018 - Chrisyd Advisory Services.

Your day to day…

I am a Business Rescue Practitioner/Turnaround Specialist. My role primarily includes formulation and implementation of business/ turnaround strategies and business rescue plans predominately for businesses under financial distress. I also offer business and funding advisory services where possible.

As we celebrate Women’s Day on 9 August, share your thoughts on what you think the biggest issues are, that women in your industry have to face?

Generally, the corporate space especially the Financial Industry in South Africa is largely dominated by men, so women simply have fewer advantages. As networking is the most crucial part of a successful business rescue project, it is a little bit more difficult for women to build networks in a male-dominated environment. 

How important is it for women to support, stand together and lift each other in our workplace?

Women lifting each other in the corporate environment is critical.

For the longest time, women in the workplace have been openly excluded from leadership positions, and for the first time, a meaningful percentage of women are given opportunities to reach the leadership positions which we have long been qualified for.

Women lifting and supporting each other has actualised the potential of realising success in our careers and businesses. Personally, I know I would not be where I am today without the support and inspiration of other women.

Your message to women Turnaround environment?

I would say – find your passion and be driven by your values. I never see myself as an entrepreneur, but just as someone passionate about transforming a loss-making company into a profit-making company.

The Turnaround space can be very stressful but given women’s nurturing nature and our problem-solving ability, this work can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling. The impact of your success has far-reaching results that extend far beyond yourself and you can always look back with a sense of pride.

Your wish for the year to come for our country, businesses, and your industry?

For the country

Currently, Covid-19 is the biggest contributor to our ailing economy and business growth. My wish is to see the prevention of further infections and the achievement of set goals for the vaccination roll-out program.

Also, for me addressing inequality, poverty, quality of education, and youth unemployment is personal because I come from that world, and I wish to see a political will from both our political and business leaders to address these urgent and pressing issues.

For businesses

I believe that it is every South African’s wish to see our economy grow through having more capital available for business growth and the creation of more sustainable job opportunities. Despite the challenges faced by our economy due to the pandemic, I always admire the resilience of the South African spirit.

I wish to see more support towards women-owned businesses through business opportunities and funding. We are tired of simple talk, more action is required.

For the industry

Even when opportunities are available within the Turnaround industry, capital is limited. To a certain extent, business turnaround plans are taking a little longer to be implemented, and we are all scrapping for a small pool of available resources. Therefore, improvement of the economy will always work best for any industry in our country, especially ours.

Finally, this year the industry must work on its transformation goals by promoting women and youth participation. Make it more appealing and attractive for young and upcoming professionals to look at this industry as a career option. Make Turnaround fashionable!

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