Some women are considered a Jill of all trades and mistress of none. But this doesn’t apply to young South African chartered accountant and founder of BBBEE firm MOPSY Strategic Advisors Mpho Sedibe, 29, who is a complete all-rounder.
Sedibe, the first black chairperson of the RAG (remember and give) committee at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), is academically minded and obtained many accolades during her year at high school. The former Miss City Press is also a member of a church choir.
In matric, she achieved six distinctions, which qualified her to enrol for a degree of her choosing at any South African university. But due to the influence of a former high school teacher, she decided to do a BCom accounting (honours) at UJ.
She is one of the youngest chartered accountants accredited by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (Saica). Through her firm, MOPSY Strategic Advisors, one of her greatest achievements was shaping and transforming strategies and reaching scalable impact for South African Breweries, which was one of her first clients.
But Sedibe wouldn’t have made it this far without the support and wisdom of her mother, a domestic worker for 30 years. As a young girl, she believed her mom’s employers were paying for her fees at model C schools, but she later discovered that her mother had actually “made significant sacrifices” to ensure she obtained the best education.
“I thought that they were putting me through school, but my mom had agreed with them that they would pay my fees in advance so that she could get a discount. “They would then deduct it from her salary every month,” she explained.
Sedibe said her life had always revolved around excellence. “I refer to my mom as the under-educated person, because she doesn’t have formal recognition for what she knows. “But she is a very knowledgeable person. “She has always had an emphasis on education and how education would open doors for us. “I just took that with both hands and I ran with it. I think I was fortunate to be gifted and so are my siblings. But I am the only one that ran with it.”
While at school, her family background prevented her from succumbing to peer pressure. “The family that my mom worked for was very successful, so that helped,” said Sedibe, who described herself as an individual who worked harder than she probably should.
“I learned the relationship that one should have with money and how to create wealth. “I was never attracted to the flashy things, for me it was always about functionality. “It was never about peer pressure for me … I was never a cool kid. I have always focused on doing my own thing not concerning myself with what everyone else is doing.”
Sedibe also described herself as a “borderline compulsive perfectionist”. She started MOPSY Strategic Advisors on her own but as the workload increased, she employed other people. Being a perfectionist has taught her a lot and she has learned the hard way how to manage people and understand them.
In the past, she looked for replicas of herself, but then she realised “I have to give credit to what other people have learned on their individual journeys instead of looking for a replica of my own bucket”.