The dream to empower

EDUCATION IS KEY: Bahle Goba encourages women to become skilled and teach others.  Cicra 2008. Pic. Thys Dullaart.  © Unknown
EDUCATION IS KEY: Bahle Goba encourages women to become skilled and teach others. Cicra 2008. Pic. Thys Dullaart. © Unknown

Tamlyn Stewart

Tamlyn Stewart

Bahle Goba has been in her new role as chief executive of the Institute of Bankers for two months and 17 days.

She has travelled the world, but there's no place she's more passionate about than South Africa.

Born in Kagiso in Mogale City, Goba to completed her BCom degree in the United States at Indiana University, following it up with an MBA from Hood College. She then worked as a business analyst for IBM in Maryland, and Olin HTH International in Stanford, Connecticut.

Quietly confident, Goba considers her words carefully as she explains that during the eighties there was a very focussed attempt to develop young graduates to prepare them for leadership positions in the country and there were opportunities for young, black high school and university graduates to study further in the US.

"I saw that as a great opportunity for me to acquire a good education and to get exposure to a different country. It was a great experience," she said.

In 1991 she returned to South Africa - an adjustment she describes as her greatest challenge.

"I found it was a very different culture. The political landscape was changing and it required a lot of effort for me to adjust back into the corporate mainstream."

She says corporate South Africa was largely male-dominated.

"I found myself being one of two or the only black female in a team of males. But I had a vision to be part of corporate South Africa and to be part of the transformation of South Africa.

"Coming in at the inception of the transformation programme for corporate South Africa, it was not clear where to place a black woman with a BCom and an MBA."

Goba started her career in South Africa as an internal organisation development consultant, where her task was to create capacity for the organisation to change.

She later moved on to be a consultant at Accenture, where she stayed for four years.

She says she's proudest of the role she has played in being part of the transformation process in the economy of South Africa, as well as being a founding member of a leading black consultancy - Nokusa Consulting. Her face lights up as she describes her time with Nokusa.

"I was one of four people that led that organisation which grew to 36 people at one stage. I served as a director - it was a huge responsibility which I embraced with a lot of excitement and enthusiasm," she says.

Her work there focussed on business development, delivering projects, managing the practice and developing staff.

"People development is one of my great passions," she said.

"I am glad I am where I am, because the Institute of Bankers is about people development and transforming the sector through education and training."

She said her advice to other women is to choose a profession, and then, "if you are in an environment where you are learning and it is nurturing, stay".

"Money follows competence. And you can only have the breadth and depth by earning the stripes," she said.

"I would like to say to my peers, empower yourself and empower others."