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Thalente Madonda

Business Centre Manager for the Hibiscus Coast,
Standard Bank KZN

Thalente Madonda plays and occupies various roles in her capacity as a woman. Professionally, Thalente is the Business Centre Manager for the Hibiscus Coast area (the south node of Durban). Her current role is in the Business Banking segment, looking after both business banking as well as small enterprise clients.

Thalente has been with Standard Bank for 22 years and she has held various roles ranging from junior, middle, and now to senior management. Some of the roles she has held were branch manager, account executive, and small enterprises manager.

Speaking of her role she explains, “Being in Business Banking gives me an opportunity to contribute to our economy, indirectly and directly, by assisting our entrepreneurs with their business operations...granting them facilities, short and long term, to fund the growth in their businesses.”

“It is an exciting and very rewarding role in a sense that we look after entrepreneurs who are the most important people in our economy. The people that contribute to the growth of our economy. The employers of our professional as well as our ordinary South Africans who contribute directly to the GDP of our country.”

On the personal front, a role that she occupies as a woman is being the mother of three beautiful kids – one being a teenager. Other roles are wife, sister, daughter-in-law ... the list is endless.

Personal achievements

Thalente’s achievements have been based around seeing herself as a ‘young woman’ from Inanda Township who has grown and progressed successfully in a big organisation like Standard Bank. These achievements include moving from junior positions such a teller and progressing to managing a business centre, to looking after a balance sheet of over R6.5 billion with her team. “It is really an honour, and I am grateful to Standard Bank and the team that I work with. Some of my other achievements include winning a Top Performer in Business Banking in 2015 and winning a trip to Portugal with my partner. That was a very special moment.”

Shaping the person

A number of factors have inspired Thalente to get to where she is today. These include the environment she grew up in, which was a poor community, with a lack of role models, that resulted in girls getting pregnant at a tender age, amongst other challenges. Thalente explains, “I knew that this would not be my destiny as I wanted better. In addition, my mom was my biggest inspiration to achieve.”

Once Thalente had joined Standard Bank, she had many great leaders that believed and supported her in her journey. “These were leaders that saw potential in me and helped to shape the person that I am today,” she said. Some of these leaders, says Thalente, are still with the organisation today, while others have left.

In addition, much of Thalente’s career in the bank has been driven by her own desire to grow and learn. She explains that after spending a number of years as an enquiries clerk in the bank, she started coming in early to work to learn about other departments. Thalente added, “I used my lunch hour, as well, to get to know what other departments were all about. I started getting invitations to join the meetings in the other departments, invitations to apply for the positions. That’s how I grew...”

Challenges faced

A major challenge that Thalente faced was when, after being appointed an account executive, she had clients in her portfolio who told her that they would not deal with a black person. “This was an interesting challenge, which I did not take personally because I understood that clients have their preferences. But it was a learning curve for me,” she explained.

Thalente dealt with this challenge through engaging with the clients to understand their experiences with black people and their expectations of her as their account executive. The result was that she developed relationships with the majority of these clients through constant engagement and the support of her leadership team.

Future goals

In the future, Thalente’s goals are to execute her dream, which is to work with young girls in her community around career growth. She has in mind a concept similar to taking a girl child to a business, exposing them to institutions of higher learning such as universities and having career expo days. “I still see young girls showing no signs of a bright future despite education being free now,” she explains.

Thalente would also like to do more around growing young women in the workplace. She said, “I play a role of a mentor, sometimes without not even realising it and I would like to continue with my journey of mentoring young women. I am passionate about growing young girls.”

“I have contributed to the growth of many young people in my organisation. Because somebody believed in me, I took it upon myself to develop and grow young people in my organisation. Some of the guys are now branch managers, leader of teams etc. Some of the young stars who were not studying and had no reason why not, now have qualifications. It’s a heart-warming feeling.”

Advice to young woman

In giving advice to young women who may follow in her footsteps, Thalente says that they need to have the right attitude. She concludes, “After all, your attitude determines your altitude. Be a sponge. Be prepared to learn at all times. Don’t work with a job description because it limits your growth. Raise your hand when you are ready for the next role.”

Thalente Madonda
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