Melanie Reddy, Nedbank’s Regional Manager for Small-business and Professional Banking in KwaZulu-Natal
Melanie Reddy, Nedbank’s Regional Manager for Small-business and Professional Banking in KwaZulu-Natal

Melanie Reddy: Driven by a passion for growing people

By Brandstories Time of article published Aug 27, 2021

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August is Women’s Month and IOL has been shining the spotlight on women who are breaking barriers to carve their way in what is seen as male-dominated territory.

An inspiring example is Melanie Reddy, Nedbank’s Regional Manager for Small-business and Professional Banking in KwaZulu-Natal.

Reddy holds an MBA in social science from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and has worked for Nedbank for 18 years, 11 of which have been spent focusing on small-business and professional banking.

We caught up with her to find out more about what drives this barrier-breaking woman.

In your current role, what drives you? What are you most passionate about?

I feel very blessed to be in a position that allows me to truly make a difference. My passion is growing people, be it employees or clients, and it is extremely rewarding to be able to share in that journey.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I am a true believer in servant leadership. Lead people with empathy, treat them with dignity, support them in their roles and they will always give you their best.

What unique qualities do you think women bring to leadership roles?

My belief is that when women move into leadership roles, they bring skills, different perspectives and soft skills that make them very effective in the workplace. Skills such as empathy, open-mindedness, open communication, pressure handling and multitasking are some of the innate traits that make them more in sync with their teams.

What about your everyday work life gives you the most satisfaction?

Knowing that with each day my team and I bring value to a sector that creates opportunity in our country. We believe in people who believe in themselves and help them to grow while creating employment in the formal and informal sector. We view banking as a partnership – we are not just service providers.

The corporate world remains male-dominated. What challenges have you had to overcome?

Every environment comes with challenges and the corporate world is no different. Often, we are our own worst enemies and I found myself in that space early in my career. It was my own insecurities that made me doubt my abilities. However, I soon learnt that by being confident, trusting my abilities and owning my brand, I earned the respect of my colleagues.

What advice would you give other women in the sector, or in business in general?

You have to love what you do – otherwise, everyday will feel like a mountain to climb. Trust yourself, do not be afraid to challenge the status quo, and exude confidence. As women, we also need to support each other. As Serena Williams once said: ‘Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We are strongest when we cheer each other on’.

How do you feel about professional development? And why?

I am an advocate for professional development and believe that you have to invest in yourself. If you become too comfortable and complacent, you will hamper your growth. It is also important to remain relevant in a world that is constantly changing.

As a successful career woman who is also a wife and mother, how do you balance the demands and joys of work and family life?

Having the support of my family has been key to my success. They understand what my role requires and encourage me daily. My weekends are dedicated to them, and spending quality time together is not negotiable. My partner and I also have a no-interruption-hour daily. He is also in the banking industry, so he understands the stresses. No television or cellphones – just good-old conversation. We keep each other sane. Also, I am grounded in my faith and make time daily to give thanks.

Name three things you have done or achieved that make you most proud.

My MBA: it came with many personal sacrifices, but it was an investment in myself.

My career progression: I have had the opportunity to grow into many senior roles, which has allowed me to do good for my family, community and organisation.

Grooming other leaders in the business into senior roles.

What do you like to do for fun?

With the many Covid-19 restrictions over the past few months, I have developed a keen interest in fishing. Any opportunity to spend the day with the family, rods in hands, is my happy place.

Name your favourite indulgence or guilty pleasure.

I love a good pamper day at the spa – ‘me time’ as my family knows it.

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