Dion Mhlaba, CFO for RH Bophelo: Nominated for the 2020 CFO Awards.
enrolled at UJ with a first- year scholarship.
financial assistance to pay for his accommodation, but also to financial support from KMPG, which helped pay for his tuition fees. Success seldom comes without disappointments along the way. “Not everything works out the way we envisage. In high school I had to repeat Grade 11 and launching my own business in my 20s wasn’t a great success either. However, I learnt that to fail is an important part of success and breakthrough and doesn’t make you a failure as such. Whenever I’m going through difficulties, I remind myself that there was a time when I failed, but it didn’t stop me from waking up every day and keeping at it.” He is passionate about developing the next generation of leaders and has been involved in mentorship projects for upcoming CAs, working with students from Mpumalanga, and students from Wits and UJ.
Through the projects he assisted many students to gain access into tertiary institutions and helped raise money for their registration. He remains a staunch activist for free education for the poor. “We need to provide the youth with leadership opportunities. We will all benefit from their fresh input, new thinking, ideas and innovation.” What questions are you asking yourself lately? • What does this new world of 4IR means for me, our business and our employees? • What am I not doing that others are doing to be part of this new world? • What do I see when I look at myself in the mirror in six years’ time? • What can I do for mycommunity?
The scholarship did not cover his full university expenses, so he swung into action and took a job at a call centre where he worked eight-hour days to earn extra money. “Holding down a full-time job while studying was a strain,” he admits. “I started attending night classes with part-time students so that I didn’t fall behind, but my days were long and exhausting.” After graduating, another financial stumbling block awaited: the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) would not fund his BCom Honours in Accounting. Dion turned to Jelvin Griffioen, a UJ accounting lecturer and coordinator of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund, which is aimed at enabling more black professionals to qualify as chartered accountants, for assistance and advice. The encounter led not only to
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