Journeys into self-discovery for people

DESCRIBE a day in the life of your work

DESCRIBE a day in the life of your work

On a typical day the team gets together and we brainstorm ideas that will provoke dialogue and challenge our delegates to think and experience beyond their comfort zones.

The aim of our leadership programmes is to expose South Africans to realities of their country that they've never engaged with before. Together we explore burning issues such as race and identity, HIV-Aids and the future and safety in SA, through prominent guest speakers, workshops, community visits and most importantly - dialogue.

Why did you decide on this career?

I'm a primary school teacher by training. I was teaching at a school in one of the poorer, under-serviced areas of New York and realised that before I could even start educating, I had to address the social challenges facing the pupils.

How did you get into this career?

To be honest, it wasn't a clear process of 1, 2, 3 - I really just followed my growing interest in understanding the importance of addressing social needs. I went on an academic exchange with UCT and then applied for a job at GIBS in Johannesburg.

What's challenging about the job?

There's no formula and no precedent. Our delegates each bring something different into the room and respond differently to each speaker, topic and workshop.

We can't anticipate their reactions or control how the interaction develops. Often you have to just let go and allow the day to change direction - it's not about sticking to a schedule, it's about facilitating debate, opinions, ideas and action.

What do you love most about your career?

I love watching people, our delegates, discover not only sides to their country that they didn't know, but sides to themselves they'd never embraced. It's hugely emotional and rewarding to be a part of their personal development as future South African leaders.

It might sound cheesy but the work we do, the dialogues generated by our programmes, is building bridges across social divides that will help this beautiful country grow. It's a job well worth loving.

What type of person would make a success of this position?

You have to be curious. You need to be an explorer who delves into issues and wants to get to grips with them as much as possible.

In this job the journey or process is the focus - there are no immediate results which can be frustrating for some.

What subjects do you need to pass in high school to be able to study towards this career?

All your chosen subjects!

What does one study at tertiary level to get into this career?

There is no set study path. If I look at our team we're all well educated but from different backgrounds. Together we hold degrees in education, law, science, sociology and anthropology, yet we all share an interest in the philosophy behind social development.

What growth prospects are there for this career?

From here the next steps would be designing larger-scale dialogues on national issues or conversely more pinpointed dialogues for specific clients. There is a niche in the consulting field for this kind of facilitation and programme design especially in addressing social problems and bringing disparate groups toward common understanding.

What is the entry-level salary for the job?

Entry level pay for this type of work is R300000 a year.