29 November 2018
SPEECH BY SIBONGISENI MBATHA, PRESIDENT ABSIP AT THE LAUNCH OF THE ABSIP YOUNG PROFESSIONALS CHAPTER IN GAUTENG.
Members of the ABSIP National Executive Committee;
The executive for Young Professionals & Chairperson of Young Professionals NEC subcommittee;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is a great pleasure to address you on this occasion of launching the Gauteng leg of the ABSIP Young Professionals chapter. This follows the launch of the Western Cape leg in 2017.
We are gathered to recognise and admire the role that you, as young professionals and future leaders, play in shaping the financial services sector. It is you who help to keep the wheels of our economy turning.
Since our formation, ABSIP has been focused on helping to transform the economy, and introduce appropriate levers to grow strategic areas of the financial sector to help create business and employment opportunities.
Some progress has been made. However, we need to do more and we need to do it better.
As young professionals, you are here today to serve as testimony that our country is working to help escape poverty by helping to change the material conditions of society for the better. It is testimony that we are serious about finding solutions to sluggish growth and underdevelopment. That we are committed to help mobilise new investments into our sector and economy, and, in so doing, ensure that transformation is at the centre of every opportunity – rather than in the periphery.
To move forward we must recognise that the financial services sector is a great equaliser of a thriving economy. Therefore, we must get fundamentals right in our sector first and influence change inside out, with the destination being an equitably shared economy.
ABSIP was established in 1995, as a lead custodian of black professionals’ interests and black business in the financial services sector.
As a membership and subscription based organisation, our vision has evolved to pursue a transformed, fully inclusive and ethically run financial sector that equitably represents black professionals and black business to enable sustainable growth for the sector and South Africa at large.
In its pursuit of Vision 2025 the current NEC is implementing a strategy consisting of five pillars. These are:
1) Youth Development which relates to the progression of matriculants, students in tertiary education and yourselves as young professionals. Through this pillar we have intervened to help improve matric results, especially in the Accounting and Mathematics subjects. We have offered bursaries to needy students with academic merit and assisted with career guidance. Going forward we must intervene more in career and leadership development as well as mentorship and coaching targeted at Young Professionals;
2) Women Development through the Women in Focus programme, otherwise known as AWIF. Through this pillar, we have run a successful leadership development programme for female professionals and hosted Women summits for the past 5 years in a row;
3) Thought leadership through various Think Tanks. ABSIP has nine financial services sector Think Tanks to help us research, think through and intelligently process issues, challenges, proposals and transformative solutions, so as to influence policy makers and legislators in our country. The Think Tanks are: Banking, Development Finance Institutions, Financial Sector Transformation Charter, Legislation and Regulation, Insurance and Assurance, Stockbroking, Asset Management, Advisory, and Economic Research and Policy. There is a resolution by the recently held 5th ABSIP Youth Economic Indaba to have another Think Tank focusing on the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The Think Tanks are led by members of the National Executive Committee who are sub-sector experts. Think Tanks support socio-political and economic processes by gathering and analysing information to help provide the stakeholders with policy and legislative options that facilitate sound decision-making;
4) Advocacy through engaging stakeholders to communicate ABSIP’s policy positions on various issues. This involves engaging CEOs, Boards, the Executive, Legislature and media on matters processed by Think Tanks and the National Executive Committee;
5) Financial Sustainability which seeks to ensure that ABSIP exists in perpetuity to serve its members and does not fail to implement its transformative mandate due to lack of financial resources.
ABSIP is interested, affected and actively involved in influencing change, transformation and creating inclusive growth in our sector. We believe that effective leadership is transformational leadership.
At ABSIP, through working together to mentor, educate and train the youth, particularly young professionals, we are helping secure a humane and better-managed world, the bedrock upon which we can realise our development objectives and secure a better future for all.
BEING YOUNG IS A BIG CHALLENGE
I am proud of you for helping making our country a wonderful place. I know that being young is a big challenge. You need to be a step ahead of the competition. You need to dress and speak professionally. You need to put clients at ease and give them no reason to worry.
As young professionals, you can find a niche, find where you are good and then go confidently.
Indeed, outside of the vigour of being young, you enjoy flexibility and freedom.
Today, I wish to remind you that every one of you has a unique talent. Every one of you has a dream. You have the advantage of possessing that burning desire.
DREAM AND DESIRE
So, put the dream and desire together. Don’t ever be afraid to take a risk. No matter where you go: If you have a meeting or a presentation to make anywhere, whether in Cape Town, Sandton, downtown Joburg or New York, don’t ever feel inferior. Dream and desire, because you have just as much right to achieve as anyone in the world.
With an increasingly competitive market for talented young professionals like you, I know that you are looking for more than just a job. You are anxious to make connections and make a difference.
One of the ways young professionals are developing relationships is through platforms designed just for you, such as the ABSIP YP chapter, to help you make an impact in your life, whether in business or in private life.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS YOUNG PROFESSIONALS
So what can you do as young professionals in this province? There is no denying that the business landscape in the region has been historically white and male. So where do we start in widening that scope and making it inclusive?
While it is true that many of you, the younger generations, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers, are more acutely aware of gender and racial divides, it is a different, much more complex task to take action in bridging those divides.
DIVERSITY AND TRANSFORMATION
To further diversity and transformation, as ABSIP we must first recognize and admit our own inherent biases and tendencies, as well as when we could have done better at seeking out varied perspectives.
We need to realise that transformation of this sector is an imperative, but can never be forced. That is when it becomes tokenism, where a person’s unique background and experiences are reduced to a number to meet some arbitrary diversity requirement. That superficial way of thinking is just as dangerous and divisive as homogeneity.
We need to diversify and transform this sector in an inclusive manner, by actively engaging with the multitude of young Professional groups and organisations of different backgrounds and cultures.
So this is what I ask of you: Please reach out to other young professionals. It is easy to stay confined to our comfortable social bubbles, as young Professionals, but you won‘t make an impact if it’s just you or just for people in your social circle. In fact, it would get pretty boring, pretty quickly. So the message is Collaborate selflessly.
DEALING WITH THE DARK TIMES
Lastly, we all know these are dark times in our country, with commission after commission of inquiry suggesting that there are people who believe that your success depends on political favours or government intervention.
Colleagues, even considering our challenges of recession, immense unemployment, crime and drug-related murders, corruption – the underlying sin is when our confidence is substituted by political dependency.
I urge you to have confidence in your abilities. Be calm and self-assured. Be not arrogant but confident because of where we come from and where we bare going.
ABSIP YOUNG PROFESSIONALS (YP)
After 18 months of its operations in the Western Cape the Young Professionals Chapter has worked hard to build future industry leaders. It has:
• Provided a career development platform that educates and provides career guidance to young professionals;
• Provided a networking platform that allows young professionals to connect with each other, and with senior professionals and industry leaders; and
• It began to bridge the gap between the ABSIP Student Chapters & ABSIP senior professionals and elders.
So, we welcome the Young Professionals chapter to Gauteng.
I would like to offer congratulations to all of you at this launch of the Gauteng leg. This is indeed a significant achievement and is recognition for the dedicated and professional approach you all take in your working lives.
On behalf of the National Executive Committee I declare the Gauteng leg of the Young Professionals Chapter officially launched.
Tonight we also launch the electronic magazine for Young Professionals. I trust that you all taken a look at it. Well done to all of you that put it together.
Last but not least, I thank Tinyiko Ngwenya for her energetic leadership. I also thank members of the Young Professionals Chapter sub-committee and the ABSIP office. They have all worked tirelessly to make this launch a success.
I implore all of you to guard this Chapter jealously and urge you to ensure ABSIP’s unity at all times.
Let me end with this inspirational quote from Alvin Toffler, an American writer, futurist, and businessman known for his works discussing modern technologies, including the digital revolution, who once said:
“The secret message communicated to most young people today by the society around them is that they are not needed, that the society will run itself quite nicely until they – at some distant point in the future – will take over the reigns. Yet the fact is that the society is not running itself nicely… because the rest of us need all the energy, brains, imagination and talent that young people can bring to bear down on our difficulties. For society to attempt to solve its desperate problems without the full participation of even very young people, is imbecile.”
I thank you.
For further information, please contact:
Mr. Tapiwa Elias
Tel: 010 203 9025