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Go after what you want: gender will not stop you

Mosa Mothokho is a financial analyst at De Beers Global Sightholder Sales during the week but at weekends she’s out on horseback.

How long have you been with De Beers, and what were you doing before you joined the company?

I joined De Beers Group in October 2015 as a Finance intern. Since joining, I have been able to move from the Finance Department into a permanent role in the Product Planning Department as Assistant Financial Analyst. The move was motivated by my keen interest in developing an analytical skill-set. Before joining De Beers, I had just completed a BA (Hons) in Finance and Accounting with the University of Derby (in partnership with Botswana Accountancy College). I have since then managed to achieve ACCA affiliation.

Why did you choose De Beers Group and diamond mining?

Having grown up in a diamond-producing country, for me the diamond industry is a key player in the economic development of Botswana. The possibility of being part of such an organisation had always been of great interest to me. So, when the opportunity to be part of this industry presented itself, I took it upon myself to make my diamond dream a reality. I also think the volatility of the markets are a constant challenge when creating forecasts, and that is a good building block for a budding analyst.

What exactly does your current role involve?

The role involves preparing various analyses relating to supply and demand in the diamond midstream. It brings together various elements of data to provide information for decision-making at a variety of levels. This requires a great amount of caution in order to uphold the numeric integrity of the reports we generate. Being part of the supply and demand team within the Product Planning area means dealing with various business planning models and performing analysis on them.

What do you like most about your work?

My job gives me a chance to be in the hub of different streams of discussions regarding achieving the range of objectives the business unit has. Therefore, this gives me a better appreciation of how individual tasks culminate in the bigger picture and help achieve the cross-functionality in Global Sightholder Sales. Even at this early stage of my career in the mining industry, I am able to interact with individuals at different levels across the diamond pipeline and not just in the midstream, where I am based.

I work in a team, with four other analysts. I am currently the only woman in our team but we all work as equals. The one thing I enjoy about working in a team is being able to gain different perspectives as my team members have different career backgrounds and a spread of experience, both in the diamond industry and other industries. Therefore, the pool of information available is key to my development.

What are the main challenges you face as a woman in mining?

The main challenge I face is progressing in a male-dominated industry. Nevertheless, there are more women becoming key players and decision-makers in the industry, which I believe is a win for all women.

What advice would you give a woman considering joining the mining industry?

I would say she should be as strong and resilient as a diamond. Only your mindset can limit your potential. I think women now have the same opportunities in the industry as their male counterparts. Therefore, I think the greatest challenge is the one from within the individual herself. If you believe in yourself and go after what you want, gender will not stop you.

How do you like to spend your spare time?

I come from a close-knit family of five – my parents and my brother and sister – and I like to spend time with them. I also enjoy being outdoors and embracing nature. I have developed an interest in horseback riding and have been riding for two years. Most of my weekend afternoons are spent at a ranch, in a nearby village called Mogobane. My favourite horse is an eight-year-old called Highline and we ride for miles over the countryside, the old manganese mine close by or the nearby dam. The view at each point is quite exquisite. I find it relaxing and exhilarating and recommend it as a wonderful way to help you put things in perspective.

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