Millennials help shape the leaders of tomorrow

The NeXtGen Board aims is to give exposure and mentorship that is critical in the journey to developing future leaders.

15 March 2019 | People

Octavia Tsibes

James Chapman completed his studies at the University of Stellenbosch in 2006 and began his career at EY Namibia in 2007 in the assurance business, where he qualified as a chartered accountant.

He was recently appointed as the first chairperson of Capricorn Group's NeXtGen Board.“After four years in auditing and financial reporting, I took up the position of transaction advisory services manager where corporate finance brought a new dimension to my experience in finance. I worked at the EY Johannesburg office in 2011 and 2012 in the transaction services team,” he said.

Chapman was appointed by the Capricorn Group in March 2013 and was seconded to Cavmont Bank in Zambia, one of the banks in the group, where he served on the senior leadership team, primarily to provide group executive support to the chief executive and finance function of the bank. “After three years in Zambia, I was then appointed as chief financial officer of Bank Windhoek in September 2016,” he said.

Chapman said something that has really had an impact on his career was his decision to move to Zambia in 2013. “It was probably one of the toughest career decisions I had to make, but it has been such a rewarding experience. I had the opportunity to be involved in all areas across the bank and therefore gained a good understanding of not only the finance function, but also the banking operations and interdependencies within the bank,” he said.

He said Zambia's very dynamic and competitive banking landscape also provided for a very stimulating work environment and presented a great learning opportunity. “It was the ideal start to my career in banking,” he added.“I am excited about where Capricorn Group is in terms of empowering people and looking down the road into the future. In my view what differentiates an organisation is the sustainability of its business model and its ability to adapt and its ability to be proactive instead of reactive. I would therefore like to commend our visionary leaders, the managing directors in the group and the board for launching and supporting this great initiative (the NeXtGen Board),” he added.

Chapman says that over 50% of their employees and many of their customers are millennials and generation Zs, something they cannot ignore in their journey to create a future-fit organisation. “This 'next generation' is our future and needs to be represented to help shape that future, this is exactly what this NeXtGen Board platform provides us with. It is indeed a privilege to be selected chairperson of the first NeXtGen Board of Capricorn Group and I am really excited to work with this team of dynamic and talented individuals,” he said.

“Our aim is to be practical in our approach to making a meaningful and positive contribution, specifically to the workplace and our customers' experiences. Having a positive impact on business, society and our environment, through multiple perspectives and creating that future-fit organisation, will add to the sustainability of the organisation's business model itself.”

“Giving the NeXtGen Board the relevant exposure and mentoring will be critical in the journey to develop them as leaders. I personally believe one should, however, not discount the value of informal interactions in the workplace when it comes to learning,” he explained.“Time and energy invested in people yields the most rewarding returns. Even though some individuals have a larger impact than others on one's life, I believe one should not only look at mentorship from the traditional perspective, as I have come to know that one sometimes one learns from the most unexpected resources.

“My Father, James Chapman Snr, has however been a great role model in many respects. Another person who had a notable influence on my professional life is Gerhard Fourie, country managing partner during my tenure at EY. He played an instrumental role in my career development, whilst his wealth of knowledge and experience gave valuable insights.

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