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Petite powerhouse

Ambitious career woman, dedicated wife and mother and someone who truly seems to understand the importance of finding balance in your life . . . we could all learn a thing or two from Sarika.

Having joined ZEMA in 2006 as financial manager, Sarika was appointed general manager in 2013 and has held the position ever since. During this time, she has seen the property grow from 452 to now over 1260 completed properties, while still retaining its reputation as the top player in the North Coast luxury residential property market. We spent some time getting to know the powerhouse behind this incredible, multi-faceted property.

1. Please tell us a bit about your background and family. “I grew up and went to school in Ladysmith in Northern KZN. I have fond memories of growing up in a small town and I think it had a lot to do with making me who I am today. I have a gorgeous 7-year-old daughter, Ishta, and a 5-year-old son, Kedar. They, together with my dedicated husband Heetesh and my supportive parents are everything to me and they always come first.

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2. What does a typical day at work look like for you? “A typical day at the office seldom starts off or ends up going as planned. A day doesn’t go by without a couple of my members calling or emailing me with a concern of some kind. Problem-solving and brainstorming are a big part of my day, but I have an open-door policy and try to keep myself available to my members and my team at all times.

3. Please tell us a bit about your position and role within ZEMA. “I am described as a ‘change agent’ – someone who acts as a catalyst for change. To be this, you have to be a little bit brave as well as extremely elastic. Not many people are open to change, but in this fast-paced, constantly developing island of bliss that makes up Zimbali, we need to embrace change and allow its latest phase to become our new normal. By tapping into the diverse strengths my team brings to the table we are able to all work towards a common goal.

4. You’ve mentioned that work-life balance is very important to you, how do you find yours? I make sure I tend to the quality relationships in my life by making them a priority in my down time. From ‘one-on-one’ girl time with my daughter, to gaming with my son and finding time to cook or have a date night with my husband, spending time with my loved ones is my top priority. I also think it’s important to find time to do the things you love and sometimes it’s okay to think about yourself. I enjoy going to the spa, watching my favourite series or just doing nothing at all. 

5. Please share your advice for young women wanting to move up in their careers? Be prepared to spot growth opportunities when they present themselves, because they are the key learning opportunities. You’ll know them because they make you uncomfortable, and your initial impulse may be that you’re not ready . . . but remember, growth and comfort never co-exist.

Sarika’s top tips for women hoping to break through the glass ceiling:

  • Make yourself valuable. Be a solutions person while producing work efficiently and effectively.
  • Be a risk taker. Follow opportunities, not being too rigid when considering your next move and taking chances.
  • Laugh at yourself. Having a sense of humour and not taking yourself too seriously is an important part of succeeding in the workforce.
  • Find passion. Enjoying your work is a great motivator.

Text: Leah Shone | Photographs: Stephen Rowley

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