Thembi Chagonda / Global BS

LISTEN | A passion for empowering people

Thembi Chagonda.
Thembi Chagonda.

Thembi Chagonda, a business partner and shareholder in EL consultants Global Business Solutions (GBS), is living her professional dream.

“This role is a dream come true. Not only am I doing what I dreamt of, but I'm also a partner and shareholder.”

GBS is a leading labour law, human resources and industrial relations consultancy offering a diverse range of services aimed at empowering businesses to achieve their objectives.

Established in 1989, Global has developed a wealth of expertise in business solutions, project management, B-BBEE, the full spectrum of HR and private and public training (it is a SETA-accredited training provider).

“I was born in Grahamstown and attend Rhodes University," Thembi said.

"I was inspired to pursue this career because I always wanted to work with people, and empower them to do the best they can.

"This has been difficult for me though, for most of my life. Only now is it starting to make sense.”

"This means my scope of influence is wide and cuts across different sectors and industries."

The challenges of being a woman in an executive leadership position have changed over the years, she said.

“With more experience and exposure, I have the confidence and ability to assess when people are being condescending.”

What has become more difficult is balancing family life and work pressures.

“One never quite switches off completely, because the buck stops with you."

Work and family are her twin passions.

"My work opens opportunities for helping people, which is what inspired me to do what I do. I ensure that I involve myself with projects that are impactful.

"But my children are my life. I want to provide them with opportunities I never had as a child.”

The best advice she's ever received is not to worry about the things she can't change.

"This has been difficult for me though, for most of my life. Only now is it starting to make sense.”

Her advice for young people keen to join a firm like GBS? Experience and passion for the job are key.

"They will carry you when you doubt your ability.

"And believe in yourself -- but ask for help when you struggle, or when something is unclear.

"Never succumb to self-doubt and imposter syndrome.”

Her children are old enough now to share some of her interests, which is a lot of fun.

"I used to travel a lot in my earlier years, but as the business has grown we have capacity in the different regions, so I can do more local consultations.”

She considers her appointment to the Commission for Employment Equity, representing business, as one of the biggest milestones in her business career to date.

She wants to be remembered as a person who was passionate about transforming businesses, especially with assisting them to become diverse and inclusive.



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