In this series, we celebrate the employees that make Grindrod Bank a success. Through the stories of our people you will come to know us, a company that values diversity, encourages inclusivity, and above all inspires individuals and teams to succeed. This is Fazela’s story:
Our Head of Special Projects & Legal, Fazela Dustigar, shares where it all started for her and how her big break came about:
“After completing articles and pursuing my career as a litigator, my first big break came about when I moved to London. After living abroad for 6 years, I truly appreciated and experienced the most incredible journey of my life. I understood the meaning of diversity whilst working in a city of strangers and found independence whilst navigating new and challenging career opportunities. I was introduced to financial markets during my time working for a private equity firm in the capital city and never looked back.”
“Working myself out of a job,” is how Fazela defines the most important function and satisfying part of her role:
“This means empowering and upskilling my team to take on new and complex transactions, pushing boundaries to achieve optimum results, both personally and professionally and remaining agile and flexible to change. This is certainly conducive to the knowledge sharing and collaborative culture at Grindrod Bank.”
Having identified agility and the flexibility to change as imperative functions in her role, Fazela is ready to adapt to emerging trends in her sector including digitisation, artificial intelligence (AI) and the importance of environmental, social and governance in our lives.
For high school students looking for career advice and for those hoping to follow in Fazela’s footsteps in the legal field, this is her advice to you:
“The working world is both exciting and challenging at the same time. Be prepared to grow faster than you can learn. Add a bit of passion and a whole lot of confidence and self-worth to everything you do. Never fear failure, adapt and evolve.”
A law degree is a good foundation for a number of professions within financial services, however, don’t attach yourself to the first role you secure. There are endless opportunities out there, do not be scared to explore. Take your time to understand what you want and where you want to be and then define your role within that. Make it your own and then shine.”
With all she’s accomplished in the legal field within the financial industry it is easy to see why Fazela has so much wisdom to impart. So, from whom does Fazela find inspiration?
“I find inspiration from the women I work with. I am truly lucky to work with exceptional women at Grindrod Bank. They inspire me in so many ways. Each has a story to tell and they leave their impact on everything they do. Despite the challenges faced by women, mothers, wives, they persevere and continue to reach for the stars.”
Given the opportunity to have a parallel career, Fazela tells us if she would take it or not:
“I love what I do, so I would probably choose the same path. I did at some stage want to be the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court.”
Working in such an ever-changing industry can be quite stressful. For Fazela, stress is not something burdensome. This is what she has to say about coping with stress and how she maintains a healthy work-life balance:
“I believe that a bit of stress is a good thing. I find communication in stressful situations very effective – it helps put things into perspective and ends up alleviating the stress. However, to maintain a healthy balance, I enjoy meditating, travelling, being outdoors and socialising with friends and family. When that’s not possible, I love to lose myself in books or painting. It’s the perfect form of escapism.”
Fazela shares the books and magazines she loves to read for inspiration and relaxation:
“My favourite must-read book has to be Banker to the Poor: Micro-lending and the battle against world poverty by Muhammad Yunis and Alan Jolis. I enjoy reading books that usually character driven and introspective, memoirs, crime thrillers, historical fiction and of course, the classics. During my free time, I am often found scrutinising the travel magazines and websites looking for my next big holiday adventure .”
With all Fazela has accomplished in her career, she describes herself as:
“A confident and adaptable woman of integrity.”
Bravo Fazela! We cannot help but be inspired by everything Fazela has accomplished. We thank her for being an inspiration to all of us.