USB Alumnus appointed as CEO of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber

Themdi Xaba
  • Themdi XabaThembi Xaba
  • JUN 28 2018
  • Tags Alumni, Business, News

USB Alumnus Thembi Xaba was appointed as the new CEO of Deciduous Fruit Development Chamber (DFDC-SA) last month. She is also busy with her PhD on performance evaluation of agricultural cooperatives in Mpumalanga. Here she shares her journey:

I have completed a Project Management course, followed by the Senior Management Development Programme (SMDP) offered by USB-ED. The SMDP served as a mini MBA programme and it was during that period when I thought I would pursue the full MBA programme. Then I had a conflicting choice between the MBA and the MPhil in Development Finance (MDevF), which I then opted to do the latter, and take the Business Management Administration at a PhD level.

I enrolled for the MDevF to strengthen my focus within the development space, as I was employed by government entrusted with funding agricultural projects. USB as the institution where I should study was a no brainer! Apart from the fact that the programme is internationally accredited, it also provided relevant modules to me, which elevated my strategic thinking.

Learnings and highlights

The key learning is that development finance has a global focus or agenda, and its relevance cuts across industry sectors. The class was a diverse group and it was amazing how a programme of this nature could attract people from various industries, from economist, lawyers, bankers, to IT specialists (and yes, different countries as well). The group work was also balanced in a sense that it will have representation of the various industries, which somehow made people to see development in a different context.

Career path

My career progression has been over the years attributed to both me being on the ground (as a public servant) and empowering myself academically. At the period when I did my MDevF I was already entrusted with heading a directorate. The MDevF helped in the broader context of not only focusing on the numbers, but also the socio economic impact of government programmes. Coupled with that the governance module enabled one to reflect, and calibrate my leadership style.

Leaders who inspire

I celebrate those leaders who don’t make it to the cover magazine, those who lead within our communities without being given the recognition of the role they play. I believe everyone in their corners is entrusted with a leadership role, be it in our homes, our communities, and circles. And for that I would like to say I look up to all (women in particular) who make a meaningful contribution to their networks.

Balancing work and studies

There is a never a balance! Family is everything to me and my son gives me the energy to refocus and deliver on whatever assignment I have at hand. Prioritising is very important and at this stage it means that I don’t really have a social life – I will have to catch up on that later!


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