Women are powerful, and girl power one of the most prominent subjects this Women’s Month, it is only right to honour the women who make a difference in their communities.
It’s about time their input is recognised and acknowledged. Our Business Relationship Manager met up with a few businesswomen and asked them some personal and business-related questions that formed them to what they have become.
Meet Odette Faling, CEO of Travelcheck South Africa.
WHAT MAKES YOU SMILE THE MOST?
My 2 gorgeous children aged 3 and 5.
WHAT MUSIC MAKES YOU CRY?
Simon and Garfunkel, Sound of Silence.
WHAT LITTLE THING MAKES YOU THE MOST GRATEFUL TO BE ALIVE?
Breathing deeply always has a way of relaxing and revitalising me at the same time.
ON HARD DAYS, WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO GET UP AND START YOUR DAY?
I thrive on execution so ticking things off my to-do list gives me a scary amount of motivation.
HOW DO YOU FIND STRENGTH WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH HARDSHIPS?
Knowing that there is a Power higher than me and that I cannot control it all. Once I let go of my need for control, I am able to find acceptance in hardships. And acceptance is where the healing starts.
WHICH FAMILY MEMBER DO YOU CALL WHEN YOU HAVE GOOD NEWS TO SHARE?
My husband and then my mom.
WHO INSPIRES YOU TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE?
I am inspired by women like Michelle Obama and Sheryl Sandberg who has the tendency to make the best of every situation in an honest and beautiful way. They are living proof that resilience and perseverance results in a great ‘best life’
WHEN YOU HAVE TO CONFRONT SOMEONE, DO YOU CHOOSE TO STAND STRONG, OR TO NOT SAY ANYTHING AT ALL?
Stand Strong, I don’t know any other way.
IS THERE SOMEONE THAT MADE YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE?
DO YOU BELIEVE IN FATE AND THAT EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON?
WHAT MAKES YOU MOST PROUD OF YOURSELF?
I have a wonderful ability to stay calm in the storms and finding solutions out of most things that I put my mind to.
WHEN IN A CRISIS, DO YOU ACT CALMLY OR DO YOU AUTOMATICALLY FREAK OUT?
A real crisis gets me into solution mode so I stay calm and I find a way out.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
Business and when relationships disintegrate. I always have to fix it if I have hurt somebody.
IF THERE WAS ONE CHARITY YOU COULD DONATE TO, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Anything that helps street children. In Cape Town that is Homestead.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO SUCCEED IN THE WORKPLACE?
Be prepared to work hard. Make all your decisions with integrity. Look after your own well-being, consciously prioritise your health.
AFTER ALL THIS SUCCESS, WHAT DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH NOW?
? ‘I struggle with the juggle’ – being a present wife/mom plus running a new business is hard. I work on myself daily to improve.
DO YOU THINK WOMEN FEEL INTIMIDATED IN BUSINESS?
There is no need to. Women who have confidence in their own abilities don’t tend to feel inferior.
HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE WORK-LIFE BALANCE?
I don’t always, but I always aim to. I try to keep my weekends open to spend time with my family. I never watch TV so when I have free time, I try to feed my soul with something good.
HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY AND WHO/WHAT HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
I have been blessed with so many great leaders that have crossed my path and I have taken what I learnt from each of them with me today. I have also had incredible opportunities along the way and I don’t believe in overthinking anything. I just GO for it and see where it ends. Usually, it has a positive ending. I am quite prone to taking risks which have allowed me to take leaps in my career.
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT LEADERSHIP, ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND MENTORING OTHERS?
As a leader, we are there to SERVE. It’s our biggest responsibility to listen, to absorb and create change if necessary. I’ve also learnt that you cannot please everybody, so it’s important to be authentic and honest in everything that you do.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE ROLE OF LUCK IN YOUR SUCCESS?
50/50 definitely. I have been lucky and I have also known where to spot luck.
“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit. So let’s keep going — let’s keep going until all the women and girls in the world has the opportunity she deserves to have.”