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“Stay focused, keep on moving, and find some cheerleaders in your life.”

It’s an unusual combination of skill sets to have in business: the ability to hyper-focus with steely determination on your business goal, and simultaneously look around for someone other than yourself to inspire and support you. Clearly this talent for managing the hard issues side-by-side with the so-called ‘soft’ issues in the financial business space, has worked well for Alida De Swardt, CEO of RMI Investment Managers.

It might have something to do with the fact that while exhibiting all of this single minded goal orientation early on in her career, she was offered a position in her dream company RMB, by a woman who became – and remained – De Swardt’s mentor for the entirety of her own tenure as Head of Treasury at RMB. So De Swardt speaks from first-hand experience when she emphasises the importance of mentors and cheerleaders.

In fact, whatever subject she’s discussing, she seems to always be balancing the hard-core business aspects with liberal doses of emotional intelligence. So while she has this unshakeable belief in putting your goals front and centre of everything you do, she also believes that the universe gives you what you put out there.

In this Quick Insight, extracted from a full length interview, De Swardt addresses these concepts from the perspective of young entrepreneurs and professionals who are starting their careers.

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