With 2021 almost done and dusted, Faith Khanyile, CEO of WDB Investment Holdings (WDBIH) reflects on a year of uncertainty, learning and growth.
Living with Intention
For me, 2021 has been about doing things a bit differently. As we know all too well, the Covid-19 pandemic shifted the world of work drastically in 2020 – and for many of us, life felt like one long Zoom call.
At the beginning of the year, I vowed that I was going to create healthy boundaries and focus on my mental health. While it’s easy to make these types of resolutions, it’s a lot more challenging to stick to them.
In May I decided to take a sabbatical and recharge my batteries. In essence, I gave myself the gift of time. I pressed the pause button on everything. Although the two-and-a-half months sped by quickly, I made the space for dedicated self-reflection, and I came back to the office stronger, more energised and with a different perspective. I also created a new set of rules for myself: I decided I wouldn’t be plugged into work 24/7, and that I would be disciplined in sticking to my personal boundaries and being more deliberate with how I spent my hours.
I battled a little with managing everyone else’s expectations but promised myself I wouldn’t go back to my old patterns and head back down that highway to burn-out. I have tried to be more intentional in all that I do, and I am proud to say, I am getting it right, mostly!
I have found there is a certain type of magic found in ‘living in the moment’ and this translates to my working day as well as my downtime.
I have found there is a certain type of magic found in ‘living in the moment’ and this translates to my working day as well as my downtime. I really feel like I can now use my skills, gifts and time in the best way possible – and this new behaviour has made my life in general more expansive and fulfilling. Of course, I do slip now and then and say “yes” to unplanned meetings, etc. – my desire is always to help and be of service, but I correct myself and get straight back on the straight and narrow. Being deliberate is hard work, and I am still on that journey. I haven’t perfected it yet, but I am so pleased to say I’m getting there.
Celebrating the Wins
One of the things that I have learnt to focus on during this time is celebrating every victory – the large and the small ones.
As always, the key highlights for our team are when WDBIH has had an impact on the lives of others. Even though the company’s finances have been affected by Covid-19 we have still supported our various social impact initiatives.
We have walked a long road with Makola Primary School and have supported their Maths and English literacy programmes for several years (and seen excellent results). This year, we sponsored reusable sanitary pads for the young girls at Makola with Palesa Pads – one of our WDB Growth Fund investee companies. We spent a fantastic day at the school in September, and we were all so motivated by the amazing work done by the school and the positive spirit of the learners.
The work being done by Primestars is another source of great pride for the team at WDBIH, and we were thrilled to once again support their numerous programmes that reach thousands of learners each year. The recent Step Up 2 A Green Start-Up National Youth Awards were a resounding success. It’s remarkable to see the incredible talent and passion of our youth. They have their unique solutions for problems in their communities, and all they need is someone to support them and believe in them. Kudos to all the winners and participants – you will go on to make our world a better place.
We have seen another exciting development take shape in the form of the Catalytic strategy initiative, which we have been working on for over two years. The strategy aims to accelerate the meaningful participation of women in the economy. We focus on advocacy and changing government legislation looking through the gender lens. Our core partners include the International Women’s Forum SA (IWFSA) and the JSE, and we are pushing for 50% representation of women across the board. The critical success factor of Catalytic Strategy is the collaborative philosophy that we have adopted – we are solutions-driven and action-orientated and we aim to drive real and lasting change when it comes to gender equity in our country. The official launch of Catalytic will take place in March 2022. Watch this space!
Embracing the Uncertainty
The past two years have taught me that uncertainty is the way forward. While I surrender to the fact that I can’t control any of the outside circumstances, I can be very protective of my own headspace and that means making a choice to shut out the noise of the world.
I am deliberate in closing down any doomsday narratives – and I choose to walk away from whatever it is that doesn’t feed my spirit. I am not a denialist by nature, but I choose to focus on the positive, and I have found that practising appreciation and gratitude are the most effective tools in grounding myself in the good stuff.
That brings me to you – WDBIH is an organisation that hits way above our weight in many aspects, and I acknowledge every one of WDBIH’s incredible partners who make this possible. We could not do the work we do without you, thanks for going the distance.
To my WDBIH team, who are brilliant, supportive and knock the lights out when it comes to owning our vision of a kinder, more prosperous world for all – thanks for living the WDB values with so much grace.
To all who are part of the greater WDB family, we wish you health, happiness, and peace.
May the uncertainty spark spontaneity and new ways of being and may you be deliberate and intentional in all that you do.
Wishing you all a blessed festive season.
All the Best
CEO, Faith Khanyile