Nedbank executive head of compliance Maria Boikanyo says that when she grew up, talkative people were told they would likely become lawyers.
Being talkative herself, she “naturally” chose a career in law.
After university, however, she realised she had a love for all things compliance. “I have been doing compliance for 24 years and have never looked back,” she says. “I took keen interest in corporate governance and risk, and now in ethics, as the industry is moving to risk-based supervision, market conduct and treating customers fairly more than merely ticking a regulatory box.”
TechCentral asked Boikanyo, who is an advocate of the high court, a few questions as part of its IT Leadership Series.
What does your company do?
I work for a bank. We are financial experts who do good. We are in the business of enabling our clients and we take our clients’ money seriously. Banking is a highly regulated industry and the ability to balance client needs and the commercial goals of the business with the regulatory frameworks is key in what I do at Nedbank.
What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023?
IT is a scary concept and unchartered territory for most professionals, and is often seen as a new way of replacing jobs and using robots. Enhancing understanding of IT and the benefits in day-to-day life is essential. When people fear a concept their minds get closed out to it.
We are told of the importance of increasing the speed of execution and the pace of innovation. While this is true, the benefits beyond an IT scorecard need to be demonstrated to all within a company. For assurance providers, we still would like to know that digitisation, automation and AI is implemented within the compliance and ethical frameworks.
We will also be agile and open-minded enough to consider the initiatives in a way that supports and enables business.
Who do you most admire in business and why?
No particular leader comes to mind. However, I have respect for a leader who elevates themselves above what they have always known. We usually employ, sponsor, promote and listen to what we know and resonate with, and lose out on the opportunity to hear and experience diverse people and points of view.
How do you attract and retain talent?
Build people’s careers and don’t just give them jobs. Where people see how they create value for themselves and the company, they are motivated and creative. They put in the hard work because they are seeing value for themselves. Allow them to use the skill sets that they have, which are not necessarily required in your area, by exposing them to those in other areas. Allow them to follow their passions and engage them as people, not only as employees. Allow the flow of ideas and ways of challenging and improving the status quo. Allow people to be ambitious and seek more of themselves in the work that they do.
If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Put in the hard work – it all works out in the end. Be knowledgeable in your area of expertise and refine and learn all the time.
What’s your favourite productivity hack?
Deal with things as they come in and setting reasonable timelines to get them done.
What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try?
I would work in the monitoring & evaluation department in the presidency. I am a public servant at heart. If done well, the impact is experienced by all 61 million South Africans.
What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why?
The Leader on the Couch, by Manfred Kets de Vries, is a practical way of looking at employees as individuals and harnessing their strengths. The book helps you to develop the skill sets needed to look at people’s personality traits as strengths and how this works within a greater team dynamic. – © 2023 NewsCentral Media