Career success is majorly influenced by contextual and individual factors. People have different ways of conceptualizing and evaluating their own career success. (Heslin , p. 25). Women have slowly been rising into powerful positions in the corporate business world. It is no wonder that I couldn’t find a better candidate for this interview than an iron lady who had defied all odds to be the strong, successful person that she is today. Growing up in a humble household, she always wanted more for herself. A better life through education. Education is the key to unlock the potential that is locked within a society (Pandey ,p. 3)
In a career spanning almost 20 years, Clare, 49, has accumulated numerous degrees in education, law and business. She has worked in very senior positions in some of the world’s biggest Telecommunications firms as their chief legal and regulatory officer. She’s an accomplished lawyer specialising in all things regulatory. She is basically the company’s legal eagle, smoothing the path between business and government. She is very good at what she does. No wonder she is often head-hunted.
“I started off at the Postal and Telecommunications Authority. I was involved in writing up most of the telecommunications regulations that the government has put in place today,” Clare says. That was the beginning of her amazing career in legal advisory. The look on her face tells it all. Nostalgic memories seem to flood her pretty face. Clare worked for the Authority for five years, quickly rising through the ranks due to her amazing work ethic and intellectual capacity, proving that hardwork can get you anywhere you want to be.
As her career grew, she was poached by Zain, a company that provides mobile and data services. She was given the role of chief corporate affairs officer where she worked for four years. “Zain provided me with the opportunity and capacity to venture into the different dynamic of business and it is then that I did my Master’s degree in Business Administration, Strategic Management. Working in the corporate sector was very different from working with the government as I had done before. It was a new challenge that I took with much pride. I now see how important the business world is.” Clare explains to me. I can read a lot of pride on her face. Looking back, she feels proud of her achievements and I am sure her family must be proud as well.
As her career grew, she was once again poached- by another giant. “My move to Multichoice as the General Manager for regulatory affairs for West Africa came at the perfect time, at a time when I felt I needed change of environment.” Clare made the move with much anticipation for her new job and she hasn’t looked back ever since. She is in love with her job. She talks about it with such pride that I want to become just like her. “I am at a point in my career where growing into other roles is not at the top of my priority list. I’d rather impart my knowledge to other people, see them take up the mantle.” She is a hub of knowledge this lady!
Clare’s career greatly impacted her life. She is a career woman at the top of her game and as such, her personal life was bound to suffer. Upon asking her about it, she giggles. Having grown up in a society where most ladies marry at a really young age, she definitely had it rough. She married at the relatively mature age of 42. Prior to that, she had been getting numerous mounts of pressure from her family, especially her mother, to marry. Pressure that she tried her best to handle skilfully. She didn’t let it deter her from achieving her career goals. Then she met Henry, and after they married, she became a mother to a baby girl. Clare knows that she had her at the right age. “I was ready psychologically and I didn’t have other distractions from life. I don’t know how younger people do it, honestly!” Her face lights up as she speaks more of her little girl and how much joy she has brought into their lives.
She maintains that although she always wanted to start a family, she purposely placed her career as her first priority for very many years. “I wanted to secure financial freedom for myself and my children, when I had them. I have always wanted to be outstanding, to be independent and most of all, to have a successful career. This was my driving force through the many years that I worked diligently in and out of the country.” She agrees that she would not have had it any other way. Her success story is one of a kind. Most people equate success with wealth and power. However, true success is not a thing you acquire or achieve. Rather, it is a journey you take your whole life long. (Maxwell , p. 203)
Clare’s career provided her with the opportunity to travel the world and see things from a different perspective. She was an adrenaline junkie in her youth. She recalls of the time she went bungee jumping in Cape Town. This makes her laugh as she remembers how scared she was. Her success has not hindered her from having fun and enjoying life. Rather, it has opened her eyes to the beauty that life has to offer.
She tells me of the first time she had a glass of wine. She was on a flight to France. She still loves wine.
Heslin, Peter A. “Conceptualizing and evaluating career success.” Journal of Organizational Behavior/ Volume 26, Issue 2 (2005).
Maxwell, John C. Your Road Map For Success : You Can Get There from Here. Nashville, Tenn, 2002.
Pandey, Prathmesh Alok. Importance of Education. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.