By Mzukona Mantshontsho
ADAPT IT is an innovative information technology (IT) services and specialised solutions provider, delivering IT solutions.
The South African Professional Services Academy spoke to Divisional Executive at Adapt IT Jodi Joseph about her personal and professional journey thus far.
Jodi is a results-driven executive with extensive experience in both finance and operations. Through motivating and enabling people and partnering with other executives, she drives the company performance through setting and executing growth strategies.
You have had several professional achievements please list them and indicate which one stands out for you and why?
- Part of the leadership team that transformed the UK Capital Markets division for Investec Bank (UK) Ltd, first joining as CFO and then being promoted to COO,
- Basel II Programme Investec Group – met the SARB Basel deadline for compliance,
- Joining Investec Private Bank (South Africa) as CFO and then COO,
- Joining CQS Technology Holdings as COO, and
- Promoted to Divisional Executive CaseWare Africa – Adapt IT
Have you had any particular challenges as a woman professional that you think differ from your male counterparts? How have you tackled them?
For the first 15 years of my career that I spent at Investec both in the UK and South Africa I was often part of male dominated teams. I always felt part of the team and well supported by my managers and broader leadership of the group. I think the only challenge as a professional woman that stands out for me was balancing the demands of senior roles and a mother of 3 children. Especially when my children were young I needed to constantly balance all the demands I faced to ensure both work and personal commitments were met. While many men are far more hands on with their families these days it still felt that as a mother the pressure and demands were more.
Effectiveness at work became the main way to ensure I kept the balance. This was achieved by having a strong team around me allowing for high levels of delegation and strong organisation skills to maximise effectiveness in the office and allowing for working at home or at night to allow time for me to attend to events and activities my children required. My husband is also a huge support that allows me to focus on my career and work demands. During my time at CaseWare we have had a far more diverse leadership team so there were no specific challenges as a woman professional.
What advice do you have for younger professionals who are looking forward to joining the profession?
Push yourselves as hard as you can. Take every opportunity that arises. Put your hand up and step into spaces. Step out of your comfort zone. A lot of what I have achieved is because I put my hand up and my leaders gave me opportunities beyond my experience.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my career was transforming the UK Capital Markets Division at Investec. I was very young and the challenge of bringing in so many new businesses and teams into the division over a very short time was a learning curve one only gets one chance in a lifetime to experience. It was the first of many new challenges for me from learning a diverse range of Banking activities from Commodities Trading, Equity Derivatives trading, Structure Finance, Project Finance, Asset Finance and Securitisaion activities. We had to design processes from scratch, implement systems to support these businesses as well as integrate highly skilled teams from diverse backgrounds. I learnt so much in a short period of time.
What principles and values do you think are important for any professional and why?
Integrity always counts the most. Do what you say. Actions count more than anything else. In the current climate of corruption that is destroying our country, with so many high-profile professionals involved integrity and honesty count more than ever before. Accountability and responsibility are also key. Young professionals should focus on these values from the start.
Explain what contribution you have made to your current company since joining it?
I joined CaseWare Africa (a Division of Adapt IT) in January 2013 as the COO. Over the past 5 ½ years I would say that I have transformed our ability to deliver our products. We have instituted a Scaled Agile product development and delivery methodology that has unlocked capacity and allowed us to deliver more and higher quality product to our clients. We have also diversified our client success services to have a multi-channel approach including online offerings and a Customer Success portal. All of this has allowed us to service more clients across the Professional Accounting, Corporate and Public Sector markets that we service.
Who stands out for you as a role model and why?
Pravin Gordhan stands out for me as a role model. A few years ago, I was privileged to attend an intimate dinner with Pravin Gordhan and 11 others. At this dinner I gained a huge insight into a man who is unwavering in his outlook and principles. He spoke about his time at SARS as what integrity really means. Given the challenges he has faced in his career he has always stood for his beliefs no matter the personal impact on his career. I have always admired him and his single-minded leadership. He is clear and direct and there is no grey. I think that this makes it easy for those around him to decide if they are with him or not.
Where do you want your career to be in 10 years’ time?
Having recently been promoted to the head of the CaseWare Africa division of Adapt IT I am looking forward to unlocking the growth opportunities that the broader Adapt IT business provides. We are looking to expand into Africa and beyond. In 10 years’ time I hope to look back on 10 years of incredible growth as we expand the business and become a global player in financial solutions. As the professional accounting industry transforms I would hope to have enabled our clients to have transformed along with the industry and the technological advancements that are emerging.
What is your management and leadership philosophy?
My leadership philosophy is to create an environment to unlock potential in every person I work with. IT is a people driven industry. workers need space to thrive and create. I like to set a vision and goals and then enable teams to deliver on those visions. I have a very collaborative, inclusive leadership style. I believe in the power of the collective.
What are you passionate about and what keeps you awake at night in terms of your position?
I am passionate about building products that matter. We are in the business of enabling the compliance industry in our country. The country is under threat more than ever before due to the high rate of corruption and needs products that matter to drive business back to compliant and sound business practices. Ensuring we deliver value to our clients that enable their businesses to thrive is what keeps me awake at night. I also care deeply that our staff are motivated and passionate about what they do and that they are continuously learning and afforded opportunities to be the best they can be.