In 2017 Ntokozo Mahlangu graduated with a Master’s degree from The Da Vinci Institute. Little did he know at the time that two years down the line, after he had graduated, he would be appointed as The Institute’s Vice-Chair of The Da Vinci Institute Council. Sometimes meaningful engagements with brilliant souls tend to take their own direction and move swiftly at their self-regulated momentum – remarkably abiding, as it were, to their own accord. This, in fact, was how The Institute’s relationship with Mr Mahlangu began and over the years soared, and continues to do so, to this day. In his own words, “I [still] treasure my connection with The Da Vinci Institute”.
The Home of Remarkability is a safe space, where all diverse minds merge in unity as one – as fellow Davincians. Mr Mahlangu’s energy and charismatic character have always led to wonderful and robust co-creations at The Institute. The ultimate result of that connection led to a grounding experience, as a Masters’ student, that challenged and pushed his thinking. Today, Mr Mahlangu is an esteemed alumnus who is always willing to avail himself for any cause at his alma mater.
Mr Mahlangu is a respected community co-creator, his studiousness, and intelligence as a systemic thinker are characteristic of a true Davincian, coupled with his focus on always being principled, ethical and a man of integrity. When asked to describe himself, Mr Mahlangu shared the following: “As a person, I consider myself to be an optimist and an authentic person [by staying truthful] to myself – by believing in myself, and by also refusing to [feel small], undeserving, or inadequate. It is a matter of courage and humility, but not arrogance. I’m [therefore] the type of a person that gets a seat at the table and speaks his mind.” These are arguably the attributes in Mr Mahlangu that have ensured his continued and deserved successes, as the old-adage goes, fortune favours the prepared mind.
With experience spanning over a decade in the financial sector, Mr Mahlangu co-created at Investec as a Senior Risk Consultant – “one who attempted to provide clear evidence that companies with innovative risk management processes outperform their competitors in terms of financial and business outcomes”, as he elegantly summarises the responsibilities of his former title. “I enjoyed working at Investec and stayed for a decade because of the company’s culture.”
Mr Mahlangu, ever able to balm the seriousness of his work, and his intelligence, with both his vibrancy and cheerfulness, has also been quietly making career strides in recent times. With his passionate, committed, and formidable chutzpah, Mr Mahlangu has brought all those qualities with him to his recent but exciting appointment as the Operational Risk Head for Risk Processes at Absa South Africa’s Retail and Business Banking (RBB), and we at The Da Vinci Institute, congratulate our Vice-Chairperson of Council, for his latest remarkable achievement.
In describing the transition to his new role, Mr Mahlangu explains that changing jobs jolts an individual, forcing us to acquire new co-creating techniques, and to learn to apply those in preparation for personal and professional growth. He further states that by one’s movement, “from one company to another, on the other hand, this eventually leads to upward mobility and different experiences.” For Mr Mahlangu, the move seemed of propitious timing, and additionally, through this journey, “I’ve also realised the importance of creating a career map to help me achieve my career goals.”
Of course, the move into a different company from another unique organisation means the sands are shifting, so to speak. In Mr Mahlangu’s own words, “organisational cultures are vastly different. It is critical to be mentally prepared and to avoid excessive comparison when changing organisations. They are distinct, with both benefits and drawbacks. In all working environments, the best thing to do is to foster a positive work environment and to take on new challenges to grow and make a difference.”
In his hard-earned privilege as one of our own at The Institute, Mr Mahlangu shares his advice to our students: “My advice would be for them [our students] to make an effort to understand and [vigorously] engage with whatever they learn. Rather than simply memorising, at least attempt to deepen your understanding of concepts. Make an effort to fully grasp what is expected of you.” Mr Mahlangu’s advice, of course, also comes from an empathetic perspective, as a current student towards his own Doctoral degree.
Besides his work and studies that keep him busy, Mr Mahlangu balances this with ensuring that his prized moments are treasured by spending time with his family, harnessing his daddy streak chasing after his beloved son and contributing towards volunteer work through his church.
It is in this voice of pride from The Da Vinci Institute that we wish Ntokozo Mahlangu a continuous and most remarkable experience as he co-creates in his new position at Absa!