DIRECTOR AT REDISA (RECYCLING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
INITIATIVE OF SA) In her 23-year career, Davidson has worked in retail and consultancy, held management roles in corporates, did a stint in politics and started her own business. In 2003, she founded Melsta Business Solutions, which provided data and community-based marketing strategies to financial services companies in order to trace members of pension and provident funds. Her interest in empowering the previously disadvantaged saw her volunteering for community-based organisations such as the National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro), the Cape Flats Developmental Association (Cafda), and Triple Trust Organisation. In 2012 she joined Redisa, where she focuses on developing entrepreneurs and SMMEs, and oversees the development of a new tyre-recycling industry. I started my first business venture when I was 19, selling rotis and cookies. It took me some time to realise that business is actually about people. You and me. I got my career break at the age of 32 when I secured a contract with Old Mutual. The opportunity made me shake in my boots because I had to deliver a presentation to actuaries, consultants and chartered accountants. But by presenting the financial model simply, I got the job. The area I struggled with was making decisions that impact people and their employment. I found that periods of restructuring and high change were difficult, because you have to keep people and their career aspirations in mind. In every career, you do make mistakes. I made mistakes but I have learnt that you can grow from them, be resilient and up your game. Get an experienced mentor in your field who will advise you, act as your spokesperson and endorse you when opportunities in the organisation arise. Be focused on what you want to achieve. Having goals will help you make career decisions easier. There are many opportunities in the financial services sector.