Finding inspiration from this strong businesswoman

It was no easy feat choosing a Woman Entrepreneur that has inspired me the most. There are so many wonderfully successful women these days and they all inspire me constantly. Consistently it is their drive and perseverance together with a passion for what they do that leads to their success.

The journey of Maria Ramos

Maria Ramos is one of these women that really inspires me personally. As a South African, I am so proud of what South African women are achieving.

Maria moved to South Africa as a child from Portugal. She studied at University of Witwatersrand and gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree. As a student she heard about a men-only scholarship offered by Barclays Bank, where she worked as a clerk and she herself lobbied for the prize and won!
Maria worked in banking and finance and taught Economics. I graduated with a major in Economics and have a passion for investment banking myself. So.. Maria’s drive and ascent in her career have been a source of inspiration for me.

Maria worked in banking and finance, she taught Economics, and served as an economist for the African National Congress’s Department of Economic Planning. In 1996, she was appointed the country’s Director General of Finance. Here she worked closely with Finance Minister Trevor Manuel whom she married in 2008. These two people effectively guided South Africa toward a free market economic model.

In 2004 she moved to Transnet, on operator of ports and shipping, bus and other passenger transit systems, rail systems and fuel transport lines. This seems an unlikely choice, but the sheer size of the firm and its monopoly on transportation within South Africa, allowed her an opportunity to transform the country’s economy by reorganizing one of its most inefficient and debt-ridden companies. She was CEO and embarked on a campaign of privatization. Unions resisted and there were strikes, but she persevered. In 2009 she moved from Transnet to ABSA as CEO.

Maria’s influence in the banking sector

I read an article recently that specified the earnings of Maria Ramos currently and it is astounding what she has accomplished.

‘Absa CEO Maria Ramos was paid a total package of R37.6 million for the 2017 financial year, almost matching what Nedbank CEO Mike Brown earned.

Brown is typically known as the highest-paid CEO in the retail banking space, which covers the country’s ‘big five’ banks, including Capitec. He earned R38.1 million last year. Ramos’ total pay package was made up of a basic salary of R8.23 million, benefits of over R328,000, bonuses of R12.5 million and deferred income from previous years totalling R16.6 million.

Absa paid its top five executives a combined total of R123 million for the year. David Hodnett, deputy CEO for SA earned R33.2 million, and Peter Matlare, deputy CEO for the rest of Africa, earned R20 million. Financial director Jason Quinn scored R16.2 million and Nomkhita Nqweni, chief executive of wealth, investment management and insurance, earned R16.4 million.’

A powerhouse woman

It is women like Maria who fight for what they believe in and know their subject and believe in themselves, that have paved the way for so many after them. I find her so awe-inspiring! To say the least!

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