The Association of Allan Gray Fellows saw it fit to create the role of an Association Fellow-In-Residence (“FIR”) to act as a link between the Association and its graduated Fellows. The role has been structured to provide support for the Association’s Executive Committee and to develop special projects in line with the Association’s objectives to enhance efficiency, learning and entrepreneurial support for Fellows.
The FIR is expected to allocate 50% of her/his time to her/his own entrepreneurial venture, while providing the above-mentioned support for the remainder of the time.
Congratulations to Benjamin Shaw and Lesedi Kgaka – our FIRs for 2016!
Benjamin, an ex-investment banker who worked for J.P. Morgan in the M&A team in South Africa, graduated from UCT with a BBusSci in Finance & Accounting and founded several ventures as a student. He is currently getting his new company (HouseME) – which facilitates transactions between tenants and landlords via a mobile platform – off the ground. Ben spends what little time off he has refereeing rugby and playing games online.
Lesedi, also a former BBusSci Finance & Accounting student, is the owner of an estate agency, LRH Properties, which operates in Gauteng. It specialises in selling and letting residential property to investors seeking above average market returns. Lesedi has three years’ experience in the industry, working in Cape Town and in Johannesburg. She is currently registered for an MSc in Property Studies from her alma mater, UCT.
Both Lesedi and Benjamin saw the FIR opportunity as an ideal way to contribute to the Foundation and as a way to pay the bills while transitioning into full-time entrepreneurship. They aim to provide some perspective to the Association on how best to relate to and support Fellows, creating a better experience for them.
“I hope to leave a template for efficiency for the next FIR and also make a substantial contribution to Association literature and practical learnings,” says Benjamin. He is excited to contribute his passion for efficiency, practical tips for starting a business and skills in strategy and communication. Another focus area for him would be a more efficient working relationship between the Fellowship and e2.
Lesedi intends to bring an enlightened perspective on how the Association engages with Fellows. She hopes to create better processes for future FIRs to operate from and improve the Association’s initiatives and systems.
They both realise that they stand to gain a lot from the experience. Lesedi’s goals are both practical – learning to improve her administrative and project management skills – and long term. “I would also like to improve my network within the Association with Fellows in the hope of developing useful business relationships.” Benjamin hopes to learn more about collaboration, teamwork, business processes, and entrepreneurial ideas around the world.
There is no doubt that having Lesedi and Benjamin as Fellows in Residence will be an all-round enriching experience.