For Spearheading The Growth and Development of a Province – Mosa Tshabalala
Ms Mosa Tshabalala is a well renowned Chartered Accountant (CA) and the CEO of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA)
Tshabalala has over 15 years of experience in leadership roles. Prior to her current role she was the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the GGDA group and before that she was the CFO of business and entrepreneur incubator, Awethu Project Business incubator.
Tshabalala is a board member of several organisations which include the Automotive Industry Development Centre (AIDC), Audit and Risk Committee of the GGDA Group and Listamaiso (Pty) Ltd, the operating company of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Tshabalala also specialises in public finance, social impact investment, large infrastructure projects, and facilitation of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and Domestic Direct investment (DDI).
What does Modern Leadership mean to you as an individual?
Firstly, thank you for nominating me as a Tribe Business Magazine modern leader in 2021. It is a very humbling recognition of the work that my organisation does to change the lives of our citizens. Modern leadership entails managing a process of influencing your team positively to deliver on set goals but simultaneously navigating interconnected risks that are sometimes not immediately visible in our world. Modern leadership also entails the ability to deliver on these goals in more multicultural and diverse teams with stakeholders spread across the world. The Covid -19 pandemic is a clear example and testing case of modern leadership and navigating the attendant matters that arise. Another key aspect of modern leadership is about recognising that as a leader, you are a human being first and so are the teams that you lead. In leading people, it is important to continuously be cognisant of and present to the human experience of the leadership journey – ambition to achieve, anxiety of failure, joy in success and vulnerability to the full experience.
As an alumna of the University of Oxford’s Executive Leadership program what lessons learned do you feel are now applicable in today’s environment?
One of the key lessons from Oxfords leadership program is its ability in helping me identify my strengths and blind spots. Furthermore, a key learning from the program is focused on assisting leaders to circumnavigate the seemingly “conflicting” goals of being profit-centric and 21st century demands of creating a socially conscious organisation. Navigating this tension requires a leadership that is able to balance social and financial tensions as well as multi-stakeholder demands. The leader should clearly define social and financial goals, equip employees to be conscious of the operating context while creating a responsive organisation structure. Also eyeopening is the vast amount of knowledge and information we risk depriving ourselves as leaders if we are not intentional about being open to ‘learning’, what leadership is and how it continues to evolve over the ages based on the demands and the pressures of global circumstances.
As the Group CEO of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) what does your role mainly entail?
My organisation is an economic development and investment promotion agency. Our core deliverable is to provide a better future for our enterprises, investors and citizens. We primarily achieve our mandate through three main “products”. Firstly, promoting our province as an investment destination of choice, secondly, expanding the global trade and investment footprint of our local enterprises and thirdly, developing economic infrastructure that unlocks the future economic value and potential of our region. At the heart of our three main products is delivering a better quality of life for our citizens by providing economic opportunities and jobs for them.
How are your principles of modern leadership applicable to you efficiently implementing your core mandate?
The principles on modern leadership are more applicable than ever. The modern leader’s role at its core is centered on providing an answer on how the organisation they lead can deliver on its mandate more effectively, whilst at the same time balancing and maintaining relevance in an ever-changing complex world. As such the modern leader has the mandate to guide the organisation into the future. At the same time in order to thrive the modern leader must be grounded in authenticity and principles so as not to lose focus on their “why” .This principle is very applicable to the context of the organisation I lead as we bridge the needs of our investors and enterprises with demands of our citizens to provide a better life for them.
Who is your modern leadership icon and why?
I don’t view leadership in a singular way, so I seek leadership role models in all aspects of my life. I have icons in the business world based on their ability to navigate and succeed with integrity. I have icons in the spiritual world based on their ability to remain true, grounded and authentic. As a result of Covid-19, I have also come to appreciate that true modern leaders are actually the ordinary women and men in our communities, who remain dedicated and pioneering through the toughest and most humbling life experiences. Though few are given the recognition, all of us are modern leaders within ourselves. Our leadership forms just need to harnessed and channelled with courage.
What do you think is the greatest challenge modern leader’s face today?
In my journey I believe the greatest challenge for a leader today is understanding your operating context, managing the complexity of that context whilst remaining financially sustainable and delivering on your mandate in a manner that is people centric, socially impactful and environmentally sensible. We operate in a world that is changing and moving at a fast pace, the ability to remain relevant, manage multiple internal and external dynamics, keeping your staff motivated and remaining focused on the vision and mission is a steep, but rewarding juggling act for any modern leader.
As a female business leader what do you feel has been the driving force in your career to date?
The driving force has been holding onto the lessons instilled in me through my childhood. My greatest female influences were my mother and grandmother. I was taught that if I am willing to work hard to achieve my ambitions, I must not accept any obstacle as insurmountable. I was not raised to just be a respectable lady; I was raised to be a human being that is fearless, limitless, respectful and considerate of everyone and everything around me.
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