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Do better each day

30 Sep 2019

Professional, strategic, determined and inspiring. These four words are a perfect way to describe Lerato Sebata, Liberty's Procurement Category Manager for Marketing and Communications & Intermediaries. Lerato's role at Liberty is demanding and often misunderstood. It requires an individual with a strong will and unwavering commitment to professional and ethical behaviour.

To give you a glimpse into the role she plays at Liberty, Lerato explains, "Put simply, my role is to ensure strategic execution of projects in line with Liberty's Procurement Governance Framework. This requires me to do in-depth market analysis to make robust and sustainable procurement decisions. This is vital to the business operation's lifecycle and to optimise and streamline Liberty's business efficiencies."

With a BCom Honours in Strategic Management, Lerato's work at Liberty is directly linked to our company's purpose which is, "To improve people's lives by making their financial freedom possible." Procurement is the lever of power that helps the company to use the right market insights and tools to manage costs and deliver exceptional solutions to our clients and financial advisers.

"Ethics and governance as well as rules and frameworks help us to drive efficiencies by rationalising our vendors and evolving our business through digitisation. For me, gathering insights and delivering the right tools to the business in the right way is essential. It helps us to stay ahead of our competitors in the market," says Lerato.

Lerato makes working in this challenging environment look easy. However, managing costs and business expectations while delivering on existing projects requires her to have a thick skin. She is resilient, committed and can't afford to shy away from critical conversations. To be successful in her role, Lerato helps people to focus on the result while working within the confines of the legal and internal processes.

Lerato explains, "My motto is to do better today than I did yesterday. This means that I often must take a close look at the things I can improve on daily. I enjoy being part of a success story, but I must help others to thrive by encouraging them, sharing information and offering a helping hand."

Lerato is a strong believer in the power of accountability too. She believes that people must take responsibility for their actions. Doing this will help them to fix their errors and translate failures into success. However, Lerato also realises that as a woman, it is sometimes difficult to convince others to take responsibly for their business challenges.    

“There is a notion that women can't rationalise because of their emotions. This is just bizarre. That's why I firmly believe that we need to stand up for ourselves and never sacrifice our personal values to meet the expectations of others," she says.

Lerato owes much of her success to the mentors she's had in her life. She pays a special tribute to prominent South African business leader, Makhup Nyama, "He played a good role in my life. He taught me that I am enough and that I don't lack anything. If my professional or personal relationships fail or if I don't achieve a goal that I set for myself, I must accept that there is nothing wrong with me. I don't lack anything because I am enough. This notion helped me to find myself."

Lerato reveals that as a child she was overweight. This had an impact on her confidence while she was growing up. However, she took steps to change her life and live a healthier lifestyle by taking up the sport of trail running and general exercise which in turn, has taught her commitment and patience. She says, "I love to stay fit because it contributes to my confidence and helps me to inspire others in my life.”

Lerato concludes, “Recently, International Professional Educator and Coach, Charles Henderson Jr., focussed on personal mastery and taught me that I should not be afraid to tell people about my past, because my experiences can motivate and inspire others to realise that they can change their lives for the better."

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