By Charndré Emma Kippie
Johannesburg businesswoman, Shelley du Plessis, is the proud CEO and co-founder, together with Dane A. Mesane (COO), of Veracity Markets – a privately owned South African-based company with offices in Cape Town and Sandton. Both founders have been instrumental in the success of one of South Africa’s regulated online trading platforms.
Shelley is passionate about creating meaningful connections and a notable impact on a long misunderstood industry – trading. Shelley believes that it is the people around you who help to shape you, your business and how you choose to lead, learn and make an impact.
How did you get to this point in your career?
It was a lucky accident! At the time I moved into finance, my knowledge of trading platforms was limited. It wasn’t something I studied or set out to do in my early career. When a close friend needed help with his business, I jumped at the opportunity. As I took on more responsibility, I found an affinity for brokering. I enjoyed working with people, being problem-solving-oriented, and proactive working with trading clients and brokers.
Being quite an introvert, moving into this new field helped me climb out of my shell. Firstly, I found the industry fascinating for its notorious nature among the public and how easy it is misunderstood when clients remain uninformed. Many people often consider the trading market only to be accessible to those with high disposable income. It was up to me to help them understand the ins and outs of successful trading and ultimately associate it with integrity, making it a more approachable sector.
What excites you the most about your job?
The opportunity to be a change maker. Taking on the position of an authentic voice and helping demystify long-time industry misperceptions. I get to help change mindsets and equip people with the tools, platforms, and knowledge they need to take the next step in their financial journeys.
How is your business enhancing the South African economy?
Veracity Markets launched at the height of South Africa’s lockdown in March 2020. Four months into our existence, we created permanent jobs for 60 people in Johannesburg and Cape Town. It may seem like a slight drop in the bucket of job creation initiatives in South Africa., but this team enabled us to increase our client base to 200 000+, making the concept of trading more understandable to so many more people than we had thought would be possible.
We’re not doing anything new. I believe the product we continue to build and expand is something many people can relate to and entrust. We’re driven by innovation, constantly thinking of new ways and plug-ins to place the industry at South Africans’ fingertips.
Are there great opportunities for women in your field?
I feel there is more potential for women to flourish in finance. The number of female leaders in the capital sector continues to increase. The playing field for women to top the ladder of success in such industries is expanding by the day. In my experience, I find that women are able to show their vulnerability and remain authentic in how they connect with people. When it comes to trading decisions, I feel being able to control our emotions, and remaining aware of them, is a priceless skill.
What are your top 3 tips for ensuring the success of women in your field?
- Do it. There is no reason to think that an opportunity supersedes you because you are a woman. It is an advantage depending on how you choose to approach your career choices. If you believe your skills are enough to achieve your goals, it’s enough to get you out there and strive for it.
- Considering trading, whether you are the client or the broker, means taking the time and effort to educate yourself.
- Always ensure that you’re a step ahead. This is a vital box to tick.
What have been some major obstacles in your career, as a woman, and how did you overcome them?
For one, multitasking between businesses as a single mother continues to be a learning experience. Being able to ask for help and accepting others’ generosity was a tough one for me. Additionally, making time for myself instead of wanting to be everything to everybody, often at the expense of my family and losing a vital sense of balance.
What are your plans for the future?
Hopefully to soon expand the Veracity Market beyond SA borders. I aim to enjoy being a dynamic player in various industries. I remain curious and have never wanted to do just one ‘thing’ in my professional life. It speaks to my goal to diversify my interests, learn as much as possible, and take on new fields where female empowerment and leadership is represented.
What’s on your list of most inspirational books thus far?
- 12 Rules for Life – Jordan B Peterson
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Don Miguel Ruiz with Janet Mills
- The Art of War – Sun Tzu
What advice do you have for young women entrepreneurs who aspire to work in your field?
Play to your strengths, and don’t underestimate yourself. If the pandemic has told us anything, don’t think there will be time later to achieve what you want to. Do it even if you are afraid, do it even when everything is not perfect, and don’t wait for the ideal moment to START. The rest will follow. It may not be smooth sailing all the way, but accepting the process is a valuable step to take.
Do you have a special message for women across South Africa as we celebrate Women’s Month?
The notion of ‘Women’s Month’ and ‘Women’s Day’ leads me to hope that we can reach a point where we don’t have to highlight women’s achievement beyond what we perceive is the standard. Commemorating benchmarks set by women should be noted at the same level as the achievements registered by anyone else. I look forward to when special allowances for women are no longer the norm. We are as capable as anyone else on this earth.
*For more, check out our bumper 16th edition of the Standard Bank Top Women Leaders publication on Issuu – Digital Publishing Platform – here.
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