Whether you're a man or a woman, you need to be professional
TANYA PRICE-CARR has a simple philosophy, "It's hard to grow in your career when you're settled in your comfort zone." So whenever she gets too comfortable, it's time for a change. Tanya's ability to capitalise on change has given her a broad perspective and allowed her to seek out new experiences where she can continue her growth path.
With this approach, it's no surprise Tanya has had a varied career. Growing up in circumstances where role models were few and far between, Tanya discovered softball and fell in love. It was the sport that gave her a sense of fulfilment and purpose and, at last, role models who showed her that hard work reaps rewards, a lesson she credits with her respect for commitment to goals and good, old-fashioned hard work.
Straight out of school, she went into sales, rapidly turning to promotional sports gear - because it seemed a good place to start earning the money she needed to buy herself a car! When she decided it was time for her to travel, softball paved the way, allowing her to spend six years based in the United Kingdom, coaching, competing and travelling the world. In typical style, she aimed for the top, and represented Great Britain in the pre-Olympic Test Event in Athens, Greece before making another change, and coming home to South Africa, and settling in Cape Town.
But it was in event planning that she discovered her next career. Organising a spectacular Freedom Day fundraising event that ran concurrently in five South African cities, Tanya began to see opportunities to change lives for the better, in this case by raising funds for the Red Cross Children's Hospital and Operation Bobbi Bear.
Next came a transfer to Durban - not just for a new business challenge, but also a major life change, as she came to join her now-husband. She stayed in event planning for another two years, but her charity project had left a profound impression, and three years later she joined The Clothing Bank a social enterprise development NPO, heading up the Durban branch that helps people chart a way out of poverty.
Leading the way
After five years at The Clothing Bank, it was time to get out of her comfort zone again. Tanya sees herself as a changemaker, and she's designed her new venture, Interconnection SA, to help people change their lives in a different way. "There is so much to be done in South Africa", she says, "and the disconnection between people means we aren't aligned and we aren't reaching our potential as individuals and as a country."
"Interconnection SA helps people take the next step in their lives, to connect with their strength and potential to realise their goals, to understand what they can achieve," she explains. The organisation also works with businesses to connect function and leadership with the goals as aspirations of the people they lead. "When your people see that their personal goals align with corporate goals, it creates a common purpose and delivers growth," says Tanya.
Tanya takes a servant-leadership approach to running an organisation. She is a firm believer in sharing her experience and allowing her team to grow authentically. "You can get the best out of people if you give them space to grow."
Tanya dismisses the idea that women need to take a different approach to men to achieve success. "Whether you're a man or a woman, you need to be professional," she says. "I am who I am. I know I can be emotional, but I have to make decisions based on fact, not emotion. And when things go against you, you can't take it personally."
With a husband and two daughters, Tanya's life is certainly not all about work. She finds time to chauffeur her teenage daughter, also a talented sportswoman, to her training and games, and has discovered that lift clubs are useful way to keep in touch with what's going on with her daughter's life - and get to know her friends. She also has a special needs five year old daughter who she loves to spend time with and grounds her to the simple things in life.
"Work-life balance isn't easy," she says. "You have good days and bad days, and good weeks and bad weeks - but you do need to make time for what's important." Tanya points out that you might block out time in your diary, but things can happen at work that demand your attention. "You need to appreciate the good weeks and focus on being present and mindful, and make your family time quality time, not necessarily quantity time."
Tanya is also still involved with softball. "Softball gave so much to me as a child - it kept me focused and gave me a sense of purpose - and I get great satisfaction in being able to give back."
One simple piece of advice
Tanya has a strong action orientation and looks to the future, but says that if she was starting out again, she'd do one thing differently. "I'd buy property early," she says. "It's a great investment and you really reap the rewards later."
After five years at The Clothing Bank, it was time to get out of her comfort zone again. Tanya sees herself as a changemaker, and she's designed her new venture, Interconnection SA, to help people change their lives in a different way