South Africans cannot just sit back, listen to the State of the Nation Address and wait for President Cyril Ramaphosa to bring change and rebuild trust in the country, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, transformation director at Pick 'n Pay, said on Thursday.
She was the guest speaker at a women’s breakfast hosted at the SA Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) in Cape Town on Thursday.
Ackerman shared some of her own views on leadership, saying it was important to make a difference.
"Leading a balanced life is about compassion, and becoming authentic leaders is about how to answer the needs of our customers. That is how my father (Pick 'n Pay founder Raymond Ackerman) built his legacy – by listening and not becoming high and too snooty," said Ackerman-Berman.
"My father is astutely aware of the world around him and the customers. He gave me the gift of being constantly aware of those around you and of listening."
For Ackerman-Berman, making a positive impact is crucial in one's professional life, creating jobs and changing the status quo of the community you are serving. This includes for those with disabilities, she noted.
She added that the retail sector in SA is unfortunately still a very-male dominated environment. According to Ackerman-Berman, the retail industry is lagging behind the property industry in this respect.
In her view, one of the ways property owners can continue to make a positive impact is by providing spaces for small entrepreneurs.
"We have the skills to make sure they succeed, but we need property sites at affordable rentals," said Ackerman-Berman.
"Do what you enjoy doing and do it to the best of your ability. It is about teaching respect for one another and about ethics. This is what business should be about, about living your purpose," she said.
"Be mindful of how you can make an impact and how your actions are going to leave a mark. Be mindful of the responsibility of the privilege of education. Get an intern to mentor. Each one of us have a choice not to sit back and do nothing."