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7 Questions with Keamogetswe Matsho
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7 Questions with Keamogetswe Matsho
Name: Keamogetswe Matsho
Current title: Chief Executive Officer
Current organization: Tocobyte
Keamogetswe Matsho is the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of IoT technology company, Tocobyte. She was previously the CEO of atmospheric water generation technology company, Aqua Air Africa. She led a team that built Africa's first atmospheric water generation plant (that had a capacity to produce 10 000 litres of clean drinking water from air). Keamogetswe has experience in various diverse industries including heavy-duty vehicle manufacturing. Her advocacy for women to break barriers in male dominated industries has ensured that she prioritizes the procurement of goods and services from women-owned businesses and the recruitment of women in leadership positions. Keamogetswe was selected as finalist for the Standard Bank Top Women (Young Achiever) award 2020 and the Nedbank Business Ignite 2020.
1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?
My age has been one of the biggest challenges as people assume that being young equates to no expertise. I have experienced this when initially engaging external stakeholders or when joining a new organisation. However, the assumption tends to evaporate quite quickly.
2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became CEO of Tocobyte after resigning from Aqua Air Africa as their CEO. My journey to becoming CEO is filled with various roles that I occupied in mostly brand/marketing and operations. I have also started my consultancy firm before. All of the above experiences and completing my degree at the University of Pretoria and an Executive Development Programme from Wits Business School led me to occupying my current role.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I wake up at 5:00 latest during the week and start off by catching up on emails, reading and praying. At 8:30, I am already at the office to start my day with meetings. My work day usually ends at 18:00. I will then travel home and begin to cook, get ready for bed, read and sleep until 02:00. At 02:00 I complete work that could not be done during the day. I sleep again until 5:00 and start all over again. In the summer months, I will start off my day with a game of squash with friends every morning at 5:00.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most significant leadership lesson I have learned has to be that clear, coherent leadership is essential in getting the best out of people and in managing stakeholder relations. You need to be clear in communicating your vision as a leader. Once your team buys into your vision and begins to adopt it as their own, you will have no reason to micro-manage them at all. As a leader you need to also look into managing your shareholders and directors by ensuring they are not kept in the dark and they are perfectly aware of what is possible and what is not. Communication, integrity and transparency are essential.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
Losing my virginity by Richard Branson has to be one of the most impactful books that I read in high school. I related so much to Richard Branson's journey. He has always been a fearless leader that was able to inspire his people to build the giant that the Virgin brand is today. I have always chosen the companies that I have worked for based on their big audacious visions.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?
Mentorship, coaching and being invested in growing future leaders. It is important to trust your people and continuously give them more responsibility over time. Having a strong talent management strategy that incentivizes retention and skills development is key.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?
When building Africa's first atmospheric water generation plant, it was so important to have a tangible and sustainable impact in the community that we were based in. Identifying a community that was previously disadvantaged was important. Through building the plant, jobs were created for the local community and they were all up-skilled; knowing that we made such a huge impact on the community's lives will be something I will always keep close to my heart, even after leaving.