“I loved the people, what the firm stood for. I was inspired by leadership and I really enjoyed my job.”
Janine, a South African, grew up and was educated in the USA. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in International Politics and Economics, thinking that she would like to work for the United Nations, the World Bank or a similar research institution.
Instead she ended up working for a film production company in New York, which presented the major hurdle of obtaining a visa to work in the USA. Janine was accepted to film school in New York and planned to attend while working part time. “I came back to South Africa to complete the process, but experienced one roadblock after the other,” she says. “I only became aware of PwC upon my return home, when I accepted a temporary assignment with the firm. I fully intended to return to the US, but took on the PwC assignment to keep busy while I waited for my visa.”
According to Janine, her career at PwC is a result of divine intervention, since she unintentionally ended up in the perfect job, with the perfect team. “I started off in the Mafikeng office in the Performance Improvement division and I loved the people, what the firm stood for. I was inspired by the leadership and I really enjoyed my job.”
It was only after the third offer of a permanent position from the firm that Janine abandoned plans to return to the US and decided to stay. “When I was interviewing for the job, I didn’t know that I was interviewing for my dream job,” Janine says.
“Today I live, breathe, sleep my work. Obviously, I make time for my family, but I love showing up here every day and I love working with the People and Organisation team. And I didn’t even look for it; it came to me.”
Janine has subsequently completed a Master’s degree in Business Leadership through Unisa’s School of Business Leadership (SBL) to further develop her strategic capabilities.
The problem-solving aspect of Janine’s work is remarkable. “Our work ranges from people strategy to organisational design, change management and people analytics,” she explains. “I can’t say that I focus on only one of those areas, but essentially our team helps organisations align their people strategies and operations to their business strategies to ensure that they achieve their goals.”
Janine explains that she finds tremendous fulfilment in the dynamic nature of her job and work environment. “Somebody once asked me how I could be at the same place for ten years, and the truth is that no two days as a consultant are ever the same. In the time that I’ve been at PwC I’ve worked with dozens of different clients and environments. You might use the same methodologies, but the application and experience vary from client to client. Furthermore, there’s always an opportunity for innovation when you add unique insights and create new solutions. There’s also always room for creativity in the way we apply and package our solutions.”
Janine has spent the last four years navigating the realities of management and cites ‘learning to let go’ as one of her most valuable lessons learnt. This requires creating a safe space for employees at all levels to contribute and add value. “When other people make inputs, they bring what I can’t bring, because it’s not part of my skill set,” she says.
“When I leverage the best everybody else has to bring, then the impact multiplies. So, I now realise that as a manager, it’s my job to coach people in the area of my strengths. But I also need to learn from their strengths. When you put those things together, you get magic.”