Senior Corporate Finance Adviser
When Carmel was growing up, she wanted to be a doctor. But that all changed in high school when a chartered accountant spoke to her. “I thought the profession sounded really interesting,” she explains. Fast forward to 2017 and she’s been at Sanlam for 12 years and still finds her job hugely exciting.
Carmel has a lifelong love of learning, always wanting to do more and be better. Sanlam’s focus on constant growth is a value that resonates strongly with her and since completing her BCom Honours (with a bursary from Sanlam) and articles, she’s been part of a senior management programme at Stellenbosch University, a leadership programme at Gibs and a course on valuations at INSEAD business school in Paris. Going to INSEAD was a huge career highlight for her and she strongly believes that “If you’re not learning, you’re not growing. A lot was put into my development,” she continues, “This was necessary because our field is very technical.”
So much of her experience of learning and growth stems from the culture at Sanlam. “It’s very open, accepting and respectful,” she explains, “People are willing to teach you and share knowledge.” This is amplified by a diverse workforce, “No one is the same, so what each person brings is different. Each one brings new perspectives to our organization.”
Carmel’s role at Sanlam involves assisting and advising the businesses in the group on potential mergers and acquisitions. “There is no routine, your calendar changes frequently and I think I perform better with less of a routine. You also get to work with incredibly interesting people.”
Her position presents her with challenges on a daily basis, the main ones involving working with target entities. She expands, “When you go outside of Sanlam everything and everyone is different. You learn how different companies and countries do things. When you’re working on a transaction in an emerging market, you learn to work in different context.”
Carmel’s team is an all-women power house. “I’ve seen the demographics change in my 12 years in Sanlam. The issue of women and their career progression is still out there but at Sanlam, we’re making progress,” she says.
In her downtime Carmel most enjoys reading and spending time with her niece and nephew. “I try to see them every day. They are like a reset button when it comes to putting things in perspective again after big day at work.”