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Breaking barriers to entry: Mariam Cassim, CO, Financial Services, Vodacom

Written by Staff Writer

April 14, 2020

I am passionate about developing sustainable, innovative business models which benefit both business and society. I am also passionate about the development of women in business through education and mentorship.

As Head of Financial Services for Vodacom, my portfolio focuses on creating new and disruptive financial services for mobile network customers focusing specifically on micro insurance, payments, microloans and financial inclusion for small and medium enterprises in South Africa.  This also means I am responsible for the entire range of financial services, from product conceptualisation to pricing, sales and distribution, taking product to market, building the brand, finance and operations – responsible for the bottom line. Being in control of all the levers is successful but also offers huge opportunity for success.

Transitioning from junior to middle management was tough, especially being young and one of the few females at the boardroom tables at the various companies that I have worked for. But I believe respect is earned through performance and delivery of value.

When I joined Vodacom financial services was running at a loss. In two-and-a-half years I turned it into a R2.5-billion profit-making business with over 11 million customers and a growth rate of 1200%.  In my mind, though, my biggest achievement has been creating a fun, creative, passionate culture by attracting the best talent in the industry and allowing them to help craft the vision and the strategy.

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