Author: WIFN Editor

Honouring the working mom

In a world of work where women struggle to achieve balance, CFP◦ and Chartered Wealth Financial Planner, Tiffany Venter, draws on childhood memories to learn a valuable lesson.

Tiffany with her mom, Glenda De Wet

I could seldom resist.  I would lean over, peer at the contents and feel that vague sense of unease that often comes with envy.

There they lay – symmetrical perfection: fresh white triangles filled with crisp lettuce, tomato and cheese, crusts carefully cut off, and neatly arranged in the lunchbox … evidence of the solicitous care of stay-at-home mothers.  Whereas I, daughter of a working mother, rose early to make my own sandwiches, a rather rushed routine resulting in squashed blocks of jam and butter.

The contrast often made me reflect on the unfairness of life.  As a young girl, I used to scrutinise those flawless families at school all the time, their perfection extending beyond perfectly prepared lunches … girls whose moms worked at the tuckshop; mothers cheering at every netball match without fail; peers who were fetched at 13:30 sharp, available for private after-school activities to which they were seamlessly ferried; and school projects that always trumped mine, having had hefty parental involvement.

‘Missing’ Mom

My reality included solitary project efforts, aftercare in primary school and walks to and from high school as a teenager.

I was a child of a mother who worked … and this was a point of contention between us for many of my growing years. I recall often begging my mom to give up her job so that she could join the tuckshop troupe of volunteers, but she was unmoved and unmoving. I made my disappointment clearly known. But, there was never a moment when I did not feel loved.

With maturity comes insight and there came a time when my view started to shift.

I witnessed many of my friends struggling with the responsibility that comes with independence during our university years.  They still had to learn basic lessons:  tin foil cannot be used in the microwave; spilt milk does not miraculously clean itself up; laundry must be separated into darks and lights.

I started to realise that the independence that my mother encouraged in me from a young age was a gift: if I didn’t prepare my own lunch, I went hungry; if I left my project to the last minute, I had to make a plan.  I was expected to help with dinner.

I learned from a young age that I was responsible for my own actions, work, health and, ultimately, my own happiness.

Mother as a Mentor

Another huge advantage became apparent when I was deciding on a career path.

I needed someone who had worked hard to make a success of her own career to be a sounding board, someone who understood the various paths I was considering.  I had seen my mother’s dedication in her own career, and this experience stood me in good stead as I entered the working world.  The challenges of a first job are inevitable; guidance and sound advice are invaluable.

All novice employees need to understand the behaviour expected in a working environment. My mother showed me when I was being unreasonable and always offered me the alternative perspective.

I have realised that my mother is my role model.  Not only did she do a great job raising me and my siblings while holding down a full-time job, she also kept her life in balance.  She makes her health and fitness a priority; she makes time to see her friends and family; she is open-minded, smart and dedicated.  She wins the genuine admiration of those close to her, colleagues, family and friends.

A daughter’s dedication

So, with much gratitude, I would like to say this to career mothers:

Being a working mom can have such a positive impact on your daughters (and sons!).  A woman who is empowered, challenged and has a strong sense of purpose is inspiring to younger women.  She can help, mentor and guide them well into their adult years, resulting in a lifelong relationship of respect.

I recognise that it is difficult for mothers not to feel guilty when their children are young and those children demand more time and attention.  Nevertheless, there are undoubtedly long-term benefits of having a powerful female role model.

Thank you, Mom, for your love and many sacrifices …

Mrs Spiggles and her Money Tales

Jean Archary

Jean Archary is a proud mum to her seven-year-old daughter, Taria. She is a specialist in the financial services field, a Certified Financial Planning Professional® and a certified workplace coach. Financial education is a topic close to her heart. Jean also holds a BA in Psychology and Communication, and a postgraduate diploma in Advanced Tax.

Raised in a single-parent home with three siblings, she was forced to learn many money lessons early on in life. This prompted her to start financial discussions with her daughter at a young age too. Even with an extensive background in financial planning, Jean found it challenging to explain financial concepts to her daughter and wondered if other parents were struggling too.  And so through their money conversations, the concept of Mrs Spiggles, the flying piggy bank, was brought to life by both mother and daughter.

Mrs Spiggles hopes to share important money messages with children, regardless of their financial upbringing, with the hope that they are better able to manage their finances throughout their life journeys.

Like our Facebook page, Mrs Spiggles and her Money Tales, to keep up to date with future developments, information and practical tips on educating kids about money.

Series name: Mrs Spiggles and her Money Tales

Title of book: Taylor’s Birthday Surprise

The first book in the series “Mrs Spiggles and her Money Tales” is Taylor’s Birthday Surprise, where Taylor’s mum invites Mrs
Spiggles to visit her on her seventh birthday to share some important money messages. Taylor learns about how her parents earn money and the importance of budgeting.

Cathryn Gordon

Cathryn Gordon (also known as Cat) is a 33 year old artist born in Somerset West, Cape Town. Cat is hearing impaired and has worn a hearing aid from a young age. She completed a three-year Art Studies diploma at the Andrew Owen School of Fine Art. This was the first book Cat was commissioned to illustrate. Communication occurred via whatsapp and email and all drawings were hand drawn.

Goddesses Never Age: Can a number really tell who you are?

There are some books you read that you know will change your life.

Kim Potgieter recently read Goddesses Never Age by Dr Christiane Northrup and was so inspired that she wants to encourage all women to read it.

Apologies, men, this one is for us women, but be assured that you will benefit as much (well, almost as much!). Having read it, watch for the materialisation of the ageless goddess before your eyes … Kim promises your lives will be much more pleasurable!

Christiane’s central premise in her book is this: age really is just a number, and agelessness means not buying into the idea that a number determines everything, from your state of health to your attractiveness to your value. You can beyounger at 60 than you were at 30 because you’ve changed your attitude and lifestyle.

Ageless living is courageous living 

It means being undistracted by the petty dramas of life because you have enough experience to know what’s not worth worrying about and what ought to be prioritised.

Goddesses Never Age is not your run-of-the-mill self-help book. It challenges us to relinquish myths that we have internalised and that age us … myths about women, about our relationships with each other, about our bodies.

In this book, Christiane challenges us to grow older with gusto rather than to deteriorate with age. Then, she says, you won’t be old and you won’t be young: you will be something else … an ageless goddess!

“We are not proponents of long life. We are proponents of joyful life, and when you find yourself in joy, the longevity usually follows. We do not count the success of a life by its length; we count it by its joy,” says Christiane.

Inspiring take-aways

  • People with positive perceptions about ageing live on average seven-and-a-half years longer than people who don’t hold that belief.
  • Being vivacious and fully engaged by our experiences and enjoying our creativity protects our brain health … and keeps Alzheimer’s away.
  • Your thoughts and your beliefs are the single most important indicators of your state of health.
  • The anti-ageing prescription is to love life, to try new things and to savour your experiences.

Happy reading! The WiFN would love you to share your Ageless Goddess story with us.

Cut. Quality. Fit: A fashionable event

Cut. Quality. Fit : A fashionable event

07 January 2016 Sarah Coetzee, freelance writer based in Cape Town


Cape Town’s members of the Women in Finance Network graced The Bay hotel in Camps Bay for the final (and second ever) event of the year. Providing a platform to meet, share and relax with like-minded women from the industry, the Network creates a welcoming community; the business cards circulate, the contacts are made.

Attired in an array of looks – bright, monochrome, sparkly, colourful, prints and heels all round – the ladies of the Women in Finance Network all displayed their own personal styles (whether they realised it or not!). This was especially fitting considering the topic of discussion from the speaker at the event.

Former Elle magazine editor, recognised style icon and ‘salon pioneer’, Jackie Burger, was the guest speaker for the evening. Giving the audience food for thought, she took them through her reflections on the language of style. “Style is not about clothing, fashion or trends – it’s about self-expression which is grounded in your belief in yourself,” she explained.

Drawing the audience closer into a more intimate circle, Jackie encouraged the ladies to wear what makes them feel comfortable. “People perceive your self-confidence which is evident when you feel comfortable in what you are wearing,” she declared, “so dress for yourself; not for someone else. And don’t wear what you think you are ‘supposed to’ wear.”

Jackie volunteered an abundance of sage advice: link what you wear to who you are; use fashion as a tool – don’t allow it to overwhelm you; learn to love how you look; organise your wardrobe; and whenever you buy an item the motto to live by is ‘cut, quality, fit’.

WIFN is committed to connecting women with experts and leaders in the industry who can offer guidance, mentorship, support and opportunities for growth. Jackie Burger is a doyenne from the fashion industry who offered advice, consideration and wisdom on a subject that is key to so many women’s self-esteem and confidence.

Full story on FA News

A powerful combination

Celynn Erasmus is a registered dietician, professional speaker and writer, co-authoring the best-selling Fast food for sustained energy. Joni Peddie, CEO of The BizComm® Group, facilitates, coaches and speaks on personal growth, team performance and sustainable transformation. She is also the co-founder of the Enneagram Institute in South Africa. Together they have established the Resilient Energy Centre ( and are helping people live healthier, more balanced lives. Their WIFN presentation had women off their feet and getting healthy hormones pumping out energy and happiness.

What I love about their tips is that they are easy and quick to implement … and have a great impact on a busy lifestyle:

  • Are you time-poor and stress-rich? Fuel, Activate, Behave for a FABulously energetic life:
    • Fuel your body to unlock energy and vitality, and manage your waistline
    • Activate your body and brain to manage stress and ensure mental agility
    • Behave authentically to play to your strengths and collaborate more powerfully.
  • Breathing deeply is a built-in stress reliever
  • Daily wins become major victories

Don’t miss out on Celynn and Joni’s excellent book, The F+A+B Quotient.

Freedom to be me

Colleen-Joy Page
Colleen-Joy Page

As a successful business owner and life coach, Colleen Joy-Page has a wide spectrum of messages that benefit women.  For her evening with the women of WIFN, however, she chose the topic that is closest to her heart: helping women discover their authentic identity. This frees them from seeking to live up to unrealistic expectations – most often created by themselves – and from operating in a survival mode that results in them feeling either superior or inferior to others.  Genuine relationships are formed, Colleen says, when we are “equal to” each other – nothing to prove.

While you really need to attend an Apple Tree workshop to get the full benefit of Colleen’s wisdom, we have distilled these few seeds to give you a taste of it:
Your Apple Tree is your true, natural, liberated you, and teaches you teaches us that we don’t have to “become” someone.

Inner obstacles like fear, procrastination, carrying others’ burdens need to be transformed to free our dreams.
Instead of living a life of doing, make yours a life of being

You can find out about Colleen Joy-Page’s courses on her website:

Scripting your own success story

imageEveryone has dreams. But it is what you do with these dreams that is important. Dreams, once you make the decision to act on them, can become reality.
Glynis Nunn, Australian Olympic Champion

There is no shortage of articles on the lack of women in the financial planning industry.  Women seem reluctant to enter this still male-dominated career, and, it appears that when they do, the obstacles are numerous.  In Wendy Phaka’s story here, you will read of courage, commitment and the care of colleagues, and how these transformed her challenges into opportunity …

I was 20 years old, and had recently completed my Certificate in Human Resources.  I was full of hope for the start of a new career, but, the sad reality of South Africa is that, without any experience or contacts in the industry, finding a job seems an insurmountable challenge.
When my aunt, who worked at Chartered Wealth Solutions as a tea lady, took maternity leave, I filled in for her temporarily.

Some of the staff members – known affectionately within the company as the Chartered Crew – chatted to me about my plans for the future.  As we got to know each other, they must have spotted something special in me – I like to think it is my commitment to doing whatever I do with excellence.  I have also always held to the belief that I can improve my situation by working really hard.

Before I knew it, I was offered the opportunity to become part of a financial planning team as an administrator.  This meant that I would be working with the team’s para-planners in attending to client queries, dealing with relevant companies regarding tax and penalties, and following up on queries with transactions.
I was both nervous and excited to be offered the position, but the practice’s team assured me that I would grow to be competent, with the right amount of mentoring.

Genuine friendship
When I started out, I was aware that I required some assistance in honing my skills. To begin with, I could not pronounce English words properly, my home language being Sepedi. Donovan Adams, CFP®, one of our financial planners, was willing to help. He heard that I lacked confidence when speaking over the phone. Donovan and I met three times a week to work on my pronunciation.

I, of course, also knew nothing about financial planning and its processes. Raquel Rodrigues, a para-planner, dedicated her time to training me in financial planning, our company values and goals – we spent two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoons every day going through what I needed to know. And the support did not end there …”

My future in financial planning has become more certain now that Chartered is funding my studies: I am studying towards a Certificate in Financial Planning.

With this foundation, I have hope of a bright future. I am honoured to be an employee at this company and am grateful for the opportunity I was offered.  Without the commitment to mentoring me demonstrated by so many here, I would not have achieved the milestones that I have.

image 2

Wendy with one of the children at Tumi and Karabo Child Care Centre in Alexandra, a start-up business supported by Chartered in 2014.

Ways to Win as Women

stockvault-honey-comb127835As Executive Director of the Centre for Leadership and Dialogue at the Gordon Institute for Business Studies (GIBS), Shireen Chengadu is passionate about finding their own voices in whichever context they are operating.  The focus of her presentation to WIFN was to be and seek a mentor.  In addition, she encouraged women to develop and unite their voices to take a stand – for that which nurtures people and creates equality in society, and against that which divides communities and negatively impacts women in particular.

Here are some of her nuggets of wisdom to help women find ways to win at work:

  • Be your own best brand ambassador:  be distinct or extinct!Volunteer for stretch assignments to gain new knowledge, relationships and experiences.
  • View negotiation as problem-solving, not as a win-lose situation
  • Bring yourself to the tables of power and make yourself heard and your voice matter.
  • Find a great mentor, sponsor or advocate
  • Be a door-opener rather than a gate-keeper

Shireen continues to lead entrepreneurial forums for women to ensure they are equipped for the roles of leadership into which they have stepped or will be stepping.  Her personal credo is:  Disrupt yourself – often!

Shift those shackles!

shutterstock_197320142As the Quick-Shift Diva, Kate Emmerson make short work of useless items – that unused popcorn machine, that never-worn floral dress in lime green.  But, her message to women is far more than how to clear clutter.  Kate challenges women (and men!) to clear their emotional clutter:  those feelings of unforgiveness, those long-standing fears, those attitudes that no longer serve the better person you have become.  Both the physical and emotional decluttering are cathartic and make room for fresh growth and new ideas.

  • Here are some of her tips shared with the WIFN guests:
  • Pay attention to your outstanding goals – ask for support and accountability
  • Check your attitude – what is and isn’t serving you?
  • Focus on your to-do list – not others’ – to live light, live large

Kate Emmerson is also an author and her books and courses are just as inspiring as her presentations – find out more from her website.

The Unwritten Rule of Business: Networking

Networking expert and founder of The Networking Company, Helen Nicholson, was the speaker at the very first WIFN event. In her address, she noted that, while women typically have a business network of 11-15 people whom they can access for advice or assistance, men have 50-70 people they feel comfortable contacting for help. That’s a staggering difference! And consider the implications for growth, advancement in companies and industries, and confidence and influence.

Helen gave very practical pointers to mastering the art of networking.  Here are a few (and the bonus is that they are contained in her free – yes, free – ebook on her website):
Have your 10 second elevator speech, your ‘hook’ ready, in response to the question:  “So, what do you do?”

Great networkers are distinguished by two attributes: they understand their strengths and have their own personal brand.
Touching someone’s elbow when greeting him or her increases his or her ability to recall you by 70%!

The correct place to pin your name tag at any event is on the top right-hand side of your chest, almost at the base of your shoulder.
Thank you, Helen, for sharing so readily of your wisdom and encouragement to women in the financial services industry!

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