‘Important for me to develop women’
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Lesego Sennelo CA (SA), is proof of the ability women have in spades to lead at any level where they are given the opportunity.
A leader from the age of 12 to founder and managing director of Gosele Advisory Services, a corporate governance advisory services firm, Sennelo has evolved into an influential corporate torchbearer.
“I serve on three listed entity boards, two private companies, excluding Gosele, and International Women’s Forum SA,” said Sennelo.
On November 2, 2018, Sennelo was appointed onto the board of directors of Redefine Properties, one of the leading JSE Top 40 Index companies with a market capitalisation of about R46.75billion, according to Bloomberg.
“I can do anything I put my mind to really.”
Sennelo has 16 years’ experience in private and public sectors, expertise in corporate governance, auditing and strategy development and implementation, project and investment management, business development and stakeholder management.
Her board participation has included public entities and private corporations such as Sasfin Holdings Limited, SA Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica), Limpopo Economic Development Agency and Corridor Mining Resources.
Sennelo’s leadership history has included participation as part of the preeminent Aspen Global Leadership Network, Africa Leadership Initiative, South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Institute of Directors, and as an Eisenhower Fellow.
Sennelo grew up to be a straight-A student, top of her class, when in Standard 7 (now Grade 9), while 14-years old, a pupil at Maryvale College, her love for accounting was ignited.
She said the brilliance of her accounting teacher was what made her decide, “I like this accounting thing.”
She researched the subjects she would need to have to fulfill her vision to become a chartered accountant or CA (SA).
After she completed her undergraduate studies at Unisa, and her CTA (honours in accounting), she did her obligatory articles at leading auditing firm Deloitte. She was given the responsibility to head its corporate social responsibility programme, Project Siyakhula, which assisted historically disadvantaged school learners with accounting and computer skills, in 2000.
After she passed the board exam in 2002, she then qualified as a CA (SA) in 2003.
“I got onboarded in October 2003 by Saica. You can’t use the term CA (SA) behind your name unless you are registered in terms of our code of conduct,” says Sennelo.
She believes every accountant must have unshakeable integrity. “If your integrity is intact, you will make the right decision.”
Sennelo says the development of especially black women accountants is an imperative. The Saica website - saica.co.za - sums up the total of chartered accountants in the country as at October 2019 at 45875 - 17465 female, 28410 are male. Only 327 are black African females.
“It’s important to me to develop women, period. Imagine if someone had not seen the value of developing me? What options would I have? You can’t expect to grow a sustainable economy, society, by excluding 50% of your population. It makes absolutely no sense.”
Sennelo says, her mandate as part of IWFSA, in terms of a “defined a 5-tier strategy” is to be the voice for women leaders in South Africa who aspire to be catalysts of ethical leadership and change.