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Do everything with intention

Leading Women in Business – Learning and Development Series – Getting to know Seipati Moloto

This National Women’s Month, our team at MasterStart has been connecting with phenomenal women who are making an impact in business today. We had a virtual conversation with Seipati Moloto, the Senior Manager of Learning and Development at the Liberty Group South Africa. Seipati spoke about some aspects of her career journey, and about always being present, and intentional in who you are and what you do.

About Seipati

“I was born in a small location in Soweto, Johannesburg, in a family of community workers – growing up in a space that was all about giving. “Witnessing the struggles within South Africa at the time, the 1976 student uprising encouraged my parents to enrol me in boarding school from primary school to matric.” Seipati reflected on this opportunity with great humour, understanding, and gratitude for the new doors that would open for her.

Tell us more about how you began your career

“Initially striving to be a social worker, I registered at Wits University and failed, and then decided to change my qualification.” I enrolled at Peninsula Technikon to study Analytical Chemistry, going on to work in the lab as a Laboratory Technician for a pharmaceutical company, and then as a Senior Technician. We had issues in the Quality Assurance Lab, and I went into the factory, started asking questions, and realised that people were given a recipe and the steps of manufacturing without really internalising their value in the production process and society at large. I had the advantage of language and used that to help people see meaning in their jobs, I started teaching people basic chemistry in isiZulu.”

This would ultimately inspire her next course of action, unintentionally creating learning opportunities for factory workers, Seipati asked to formalise her role in training others and “the training bug bit and never left.” She then decided to study part-time and completed her BCom and Honours in Industrial Psychology.

“We teach people what to do, we don’t teach them why they are doing it.”

Taking the chance

Gearing up to take the next steps in her career, Seipati remarks, “I was ready, but my CV wasn’t” and it was a woman who said, “I have a feeling about her!” and took the chance. “Embracing this opportunity, I ran with it.” Creating a beautiful, lifelong bond of women empowering other women.

The proudest moment of her career

Working at a bank in the early 2000s, “I was coming in on my first day and doing orientation to establish a training department, and I had never been so scared.” As I got to know people, I realised that this was an opportunity to do something meaningful with a positive social impact. I was asked to develop and teach people who were semi-literate about electronic banking. Not an easy task, but I realised I had to show the benefit to the recipients.”

“My proudest moment was with a widow, whose husband had recently passed away and sitting with her on the pavement and teaching her how to use an atm in IsiZulu, I literally drew what the atm looks like and what to do. ” An experience that was new, intimidating, and had not been widely accessible to many within South Africa at that time, “the next time I saw this woman, she came up to me and told me how happy she was that she now knew what to do. This was the most fulfilling moment of my life.”

How do you stay grounded in the chaos of the world?

“Family. I am very invested in my family, and every Sunday my sister, her family, my son, my grandchildren, and even my ex-husband meet at my parent’s house for lunch. This tradition grounds me – if I don’t go home on Sunday, I feel it on Monday, I feel like something is missing. We also have conversations that are way outside of my understanding of the world, and it is a purposeful grounding. “

What is your advice for other women who want to step into leadership roles?

“One of the things I have always said to myself is to always make sure that I am present. Do things with intention.”

“Don’t try to be someone else, be yourself. I make a point of asking myself these questions before I start anything: Why are you doing it? What would you want to achieve by doing it? How I want people to experience me as a brand, whether putting up a social media post or attending a meeting – I always try to be intentional. This can be difficult, but you don’t have to be intimidated by others. Consistently be yourself and be proud of who you are as a woman.”

An impressive woman to engage with, Seipati is always finding opportunities to do what matters, her love for nurturing, mentoring, and supporting others, and is currently pursuing her studies to become a coach. “Everything about me is about creating opportunities to enable others. I was very lucky to align my purpose, my gifts, and my job – and it’s not always like this for other people. It is about understanding who you are, how you want people to experience you and being intentional about it.”

“Sometimes I don’t progress simply because I don’t follow the crowd, and I am absolutely okay with that.”

She can still be found sharing her time at the children’s centre her father established and has shared her favourite quote with us.

“Thought without practice is empty, and action without thought is blind.”

Kwame Nkrumah

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