Meet Thoba, opportunity creator and Global Shaper
A keen sense of self-awareness is what drives Thoba to open doors of opportunity for others. He is passionate about using his full potential to make a positive impact on the world
Born in London, and raised in South Africa, Thoba is a true citizen of the world with an urge for shaping the community around him through empowerment and access to opportunities. After obtaining a B.A(Hons) in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States, Thoba launched his professional career, while simultaneously feeding his appetite for entrepreneurship through ventures of his own. Today, he works towards finding viable solutions for inequality and unemployment. This is Thoba’s story:
ON MAKING THE MOST OF LIFE
A reflection on my view of the world, and what’s required of us as individuals, combined with my unique set of abilities led me to my career. I was able to come to a conclusion that helped me understand where these unique skills match up with what the world needs. That’s kind of why I decided that venture capital and private equity was a space that I wanted to be in. I think that one thing I am uniquely good at that helps in my line of work is connecting people, and also being analytical and rigorous. A lot of people don’t have access to many opportunities so the world needs more people who can help them access the required resources to solve real problems.
I’m driven by an awareness of the unique opportunities I have been given in my life. I have a sense of pressure to make sure that I’m using everything I have to make the most of those opportunities. My mother always said that you need to take what you’ve already been given, and improve on it by at least 40%. So that’s my goal: To make sure that with all the leverage, access and privileges I’ve been given, that I’m constantly pushing that, to 40% and beyond!
Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.
The best professional advice I’ve received is kind of taken from fashion & clothing: If you’re not excited from the start, don’t go ahead with it, because the start is the most excited you will ever be about it! You need to trust your gut, and be able to move on to finding something else if what you’re doing doesn’t excite you. It’s kind of like when you go shopping – if you don’t love an item when you first see it in the store, you’re never going to love it more, so don’t get it!
ON FINDING BALANCE:
Along the way, I’ve learnt the importance of everything except work, and keeping an eye on that, because that really affects how you play in the game. It’s kind of ironic that when you feel like you’re working too much, the best way to work better is to work less, and replenish yourself outside of your career – it’s one of the most counterintuitive lessons of my working career so far. Fulfil yourself first, and your job will be much easier, and your work much better!
ON BEING AUTHENTIC
IN HIS WORDS
“Know your why. Don’t just focus on what you do; focus more on the outcome you want to create…”
Know your why. Don’t just focus on what you do; focus more on the outcome you want to create, because then you’ll realise that there are many different ways to reach that same destination. If you focus solely on what you want to do, then you’ll force-fit yourself into something, even when the context has changed.
For me, style is like a form of good manners. We all have to wear clothes, so why not just make great choices. I think style is a platform to express yourself; it’s a form of communicating with the people around you; it says a lot about you, about your interests and the things you value. Style is about being appropriate to the context – that’s one of my most important considerations. It’s not just about being trendy at all times, but also about being aware of what’s expected from the mood, and still making sure your personality comes through without overpowering the context. It’s about being relevant, appropriate, and staying true to your personality.
Music has always had the biggest influence on my style; Rock ‘n’ roll in particular. My general style can best be described as “rockstar going to meet his girlfriend’s family for the first time”. Whatever I wear has to have some tones of edginess and grunge. I always shop for things that will fit with the existing pieces in my wardrobe, particularly my shoes, as I believe that they anchor an outfit
For my job, it’s more like “rockstar goes to the Hamptons” vibe – it’s still palettes of dark colours, with just a enough of a work-appropriate vibe to take off a little bit of the edginess.