FROM a young age, little girls dream about what they want to
be when they grow up.
Often this includes whether they want to be married,
have children and the type of career they would like to pursue.
As society has
created more opportunities over the years, women have pursued a variety of
careers including those that were previously considered male terrain.
As a South African woman who has represented my country in
other parts of the world, one of the things that always made my country so
beautiful to me is its colourful sporting activities.
The discipline required in sport has been
instrumental in the choices I have made throughout my life.
As a former South African hockey captain - having represented
my country in the Olympics in Sydney in 2000 and Athens in 2004 - I feel privileged
every day to work in an environment that allows me to continue to work alongside
used the same discipline I learnt while I was an Olympian in pursuing my career in an industry that is run predominantly by males.
Although I started off in the marketing departments of well-known sports
betting companies, both in South Africa and abroad, I always aspired to greater
My love of sport and later technology led me to the path of
becoming general manager for one of the leading online sports betting websites
in South Africa.
Often people ask me if I have always wanted to work in the
industry I am in - my answer is that I chose a career that is related to my
I knew that I couldn’t play hockey forever, but I also knew that no
one could ever take away my love and respect for sport.
As women we need to align ourselves with careers that we
know we can shine in, so that even if we are in a male-dominated industry we can walk in with confidence and be able to deliver the best we can.
A recent study by Business Unity South Africa showed that
the representation of women on the boards of JSE companies is at a
“disturbingly low” level, especially in the roles of chairpersons and executive
directors, including CEOs and CFOs.
The study showed that in 2011 the percentage of female
non-executive directors was 12.9%, a disappointing figure for a country that is
a leader in the African economies.
Like any other industry, there are challenges that women face
in the sports betting industry. When I walk into boardrooms, there is an
expectation for a general manager to be a male in my industry.
As women we must
look beyond issues such as gender inequality and work to be respected and to
show that we can run businesses as well as, if not better than, our male
Successful people align themselves with experts - people who
can help them achieve greatness.
I actively align myself with people who know
the industry better than I do, whether male or female, and having access to
them to ask questions when I need to is important.
I am also extremely fortunate to work with committed people
who are able to share my responsibilities to develop and grow the
Ladbrokes.co.za brand, and the online sports betting industry in South Africa.
This allows me to enjoy being a woman in my industry and maintain a healthy
*Anli Kotzé is
general manager at Ladbrokes.co.za. She is the latest guest columnist taking part in Fin24's
Women's Month campaign celebrating women in business.
Fin24 welcomes your
participation in the campaign. Send your views to email@example.com and you could get