Features and Society Editor
Successful organisations that will see the future are those earnestly embracing inclusivity and bringing talented and capable women into their decision making tables, and not those merely doing it to meet a quota, a senior business executive Gloria Zvaravanhu said yesterday.
Zvaravanhu who is the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe (ICAZ) chief executive told The Herald that: “We have long moved on from the equality and quota talks. We are talking inclusivity for sustainable businesses and recognition based on merit. The female talent is overwhelmingly there!”
To continue removing barriers to women’s leadership, meaningful participation, and decision-making, Zvaravanhu said it is important to have a diversity of views to ensure efficient and effective decision making.
“One can’t afford leaving out the views of the majority gender in the country from the decision making tables. Inclusivity is the key to customer oriented products and services,” she pointed out.
Zvaravanhu has proved that in the 21st century, women continue to make huge strides with their leadership and innovation.
A chartered accountant by profession, she was the second female president in ICAZ’s 100-year history. With 17 years of experience in financial management, 13 years at executive management level, Zvaravanhu has been around for a long time and has seen it all to understand customer needs.
The market, she explained, is dominated by female consumers.
“The wise organisations know that to effectively tap into that consumer base you need to have like-minded people on the decision making tables. For illustration purposes, how can a company that manufactures sanitary wear or diapers or baby food not have a single woman in the top management team?” Zvaravanhu pointed out.
With vast experience in the insurance sector, where she served in both life and non-life insurance companies at executive level between the period 2005-2018 her record speaks of her accomplishments, leadership, work ethic and wisdom.
She has also served as a general manager at NicozDiamond Insurance Limited, and as a finance executive at First Mutual Life.
In the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), Zvaravanhu has served on insurance company boards in Mozambique and Zambia.
Before joining the insurance sector in 2005, she was a manager at KPMG Chartered Accountants in both audit and corporate finance departments.
She said being the current ICAZ CEO is an honour, which enables her to contribute to the narrative of the future leaders for the country and beyond borders where their current and future members serve and influence.
“It also gives me an opportunity to future set the Chartered Accountant profession for inclusive transformational and vibrant leadership. That is what the future requires and we are enthusiastically ready to deliver future proofed professionals,” she further explained.
Zvaravanhu’s list of accomplishments is long and proves that determination and hard work pays.
She joined the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) Professional Accountants in Business Advisory Group in January 2020, after her nomination by ICAZ.
An alumnus of the prestigious Fortune 500 Global women mentoring programme, she was mentored by one of the top “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” in the United States.
A holder a Bachelor of Accountancy degree from Rhodes University, South Africa and a Master in Business Leadership degree from the University of South Africa, she recently completed (October 2019) an LLM degree in International Business Law with the University of Cumbria, UK.
Zvaravanhu also serves as the chairperson of Chengetedzayi Depository Company Board in Zimbabwe.
She is also the chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe and serves on several other audit committees in the country.
At continental level she also serves on the Pan African Federation of Accountants Board where she represents Southern Africa and also serves on the Africa Integrated Reporting Council.
She has won several business accolades in Zimbabwe that include Female Manager of the year (2013), Corporate Governance Professional of the year (2017), Young Professional leader of the year (2018).
As we round up women’s month, we salute women like Zvaravanhu who continue to claim their space in male dominated positions.