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A mission for impact – Kelebogile Shoko

By November 28, 2019June 19th, 2023Alumni, Corporate Finance, News

Bravura Alumni Society

November 2019 Spotlight

Kelebogile – Deal Structuring and Financial Analyst at Old Mutual

Kelebogile Shoko is a young woman with a mission. Having completed her articles at the South African Revenue Service (SARS) in 2016, Bravura was Kelebogile’s first “real” job post articles. Here she worked as an analyst in the Corporate Finance department for almost two years. After Bravura, Kelebogile moved to Old Mutual where she has found her passion as a Deal Structuring and Financial Analyst for the Masisizane Fund. The fund is a non-profit entity that provides enterprise development to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) via development financing and business support. Here Kelebogile is propelled by a desire to empower others.

What drives you?

I want my life to have meaning, and I’m fortunate to be able to do work that supports this. I am able to use my skills to service under-serviced entrepreneurs; those who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to obtain financing from other commercial banks. I’m passionate about wanting to make a difference in somebody’s life. I thrive on knowing that the work that I do has an impact and is able to transform the lives of entrepreneurs, their families and the communities in which they operate.

Describe your most compelling qualities.

I attended a course at Gibs (the Gordon Institute of Business Science) where I was classified as a “fiery red”. This means that I display drive and enthusiasm for the work that I do. I’m willing to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to provide excellent services and products for clients. I have great passion and a strong work ethic.

How would your work colleagues describe you?

I think there is a general consensus that I definitely meet the characteristics of a fiery red. I want to get things done quickly and immediately. Some describe us fiery reds as bulldozers, and I have to admit that my colleagues and my superiors have experienced this side of my personality. I believe that this tendency has grown in me as I’ve matured into my current role, through my eagerness to bring about change and to empower people’s lives.

What memory stands out of your time at Bravura?

Closing a B-BBEE ownership transaction for French private equity investor Wendel Group which obtained a 51% stake in the Tsebo Solutions Group was the highlight of my time at Bravura. As the financial advisor we were tasked with running a process to identify suitable BEE partners and to embark with the client on the transaction through to successful conclusion.

The pitch work for the transaction was done in September 2016. We received the mandate in October 2016 and successfully concluded the deal in June or July of the following year. This was a long learning journey for me due to the deal’s complex nature and multiple requirements.

The transaction continues to be a career highlight for me because the Bravura team was so resilient and committed throughout the process. It was an immensely empowering event in my professional life as I learnt a huge amount, not only from a technical perspective but also about project and stakeholder management.

Name one lesson that you’ve learnt at Bravura which will serve you in good stead.

The way in which I describe Bravura is that it is a highly technical environment. It has been the place where I’ve met some of the smartest people I’m ever likely to meet. I think the lesson would be to remain curious and to continuously learn and grow in order to enhance both technical and people skills. Additionally, to strive for excellence and go above and beyond.

What do you hope to achieve in your career?

I regard myself as an impactful dealmaker and I will definitely be in the development space in the long term.

While financial reward is of course important, it is the ability to change and transform lives that lights my fire. For example, to be able to go to a town in Kuruman and think, “I invested in a business here which is now employing 30 people and has transformed the entrepreneur’s life and that of his children.” Those kinds of things make me happy.

My career may not necessarily remain in the SMME space, though. I am also interested in infrastructure, the energy sector and the rest of Africa. I would love to see Africa light up from a power perspective – we take for granted electricity in South Africa, but there are many countries that don’t have a stable (or sustainable) electricity source. Thus I would hope to work for – or form a company – which changes lives at that scale.

Could you share something about your professional fears and triumphs?

My greatest fear is to not meet my own benchmark for success. The way I define success is through my career, and specifically in becoming a senior dealmaker in the development space within the next three to five years. If I don’t achieve this, I would have let myself down.

As far as one of my biggest triumphs goes, the previously mentioned BEE transaction at Bravura is a major one. This was the first transaction that I ever closed, and I continue to experience immense pride when I think of this achievement, both for myself and the team.

You are the “Designated Survivor” who must guide South Africa Inc. What is your first order of business?

I would begin mobilising strategies to fix the unemployment situation, which at 29% is completely unacceptable and unsustainable. While recent statistics indicate that the largest number of jobs will stem from small- and medium-sized enterprises, investors are holding back on their capital for fear of the unknown. So I would begin by unlocking capital in the SMME space to enable the financing of businesses. I would devise and implement robust governance processes around what type of businesses would be funded, but I would also allow some free rein. This would be in order for businesses to take risks, because it is only when we take a certain amount of risk that we obtain the most fruitful rewards.