Meet Esha Mansingh. She’s a multi-careerist based in South Africa. I met her through the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader Program. We were also classmates during an executive education course at Harvard Kennedy School. She has had a remarkable and inspirational journey.
- Executive Vice President: Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations at Imperial (a DP World company)
- Director/trustee of numerous boards
- Involved in various social impact and women empowerment projects in Africa
- Part time television presenter
- Wife and mum to 2 beautiful children
On her motivations for having many careers
I have been lucky enough to follow these career paths that align with my personal purpose which is to create an impact in communities and those around me, no matter how big or small.
My career choices are somewhat linked which is what keeps me motivated. I also want to lead by example and motivate those around me, especially my children, to follow their passion and not be limited by one career path.
This is how we grow as individuals, provided you have a strong support system in place that enables you to follow various career paths.
On how long he’s had these careers
I have been in my corporate career for 16 years, had my first directorship 4 years ago, I started in the media industry part time 17 years ago, married for 11 years and been a mum for the past 7 years and counting.
Advice to aspiring multi-careerists
Pursuing multiple careers is strongly encouraged provided you are able to commit and give your team to each one and continue to stay true to yourself and your personal commitments.
If possible, try to ensure that the careers you choose keeps you happy and motivated. Ensure you have a good support system in place.
On overcoming obstacles
Juggling multiple careers is time consuming and can be stressful.
At various stages I found myself trying to manage tight deadlines across career streams at the same time which took a toll on my personal and family life.
I learnt quickly that work life balance is not easy to achieve and so I had to make a conscious decision to prioritise and most importantly focus on self-care. I cannot give my best if I myself am not at my best!
On how multiple careers are beneficial
My careers are linked in many ways.
Firstly in my role as EVP: Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations, I also manage sustainability. This has provided me with the platform to build various social impact projects for communities in Africa. I also sit on boards of projects that we have driven or funded.
Secondly as a female leader in my organization, with the support of my executive colleagues, I was able to focus on initiatives to empower women in our business and communities. This has resulted in board directorship roles that require skills for empowerment, social impact, leadership and strategy.
My part time role in media is also very much about community stations and I do not for the passion.
Lastly, as a mum I encourage my children to join me at community events and initiatives so they can develop a culture of giving back from an early age.
On personal time
It is not always easy but I have learnt that when I am with my family, I need to be wholly present – not on my phone checking emails. Family time is about quality and between my husband and myself, we have set non-negotiables when it comes to family time versus our careers.
Some examples are that we take regular family breaks/getaways. We try not to travel for work during weekends – weekends are family time where possible.
Supporting each other as spouses in our journeys has been critical to maintaining a strong family foundation and successful careers at the same time. I am also blessed to have the support of my parents.
On what she wishes she had learned earlier
You cannot be everything to everyone – prioritize, choose career paths that make you happy and are linked in some way – then you will remain motivated in multiple careers and your impact will be greater.
On what to read
On the stigma of having many careers
I think having multiple careers is becoming a more accepted practice today than a decade ago especially for those with a passion to balance corporate ambitions and entrepreneurship.
However, the key is to make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle and then drop the ball.
On what to share with others
In my corporate career I prefer to be open and transparent about my ambitions especially with my leaders. In the case of my multiple career paths, my corporate career has been the foundation for other roles. I always ensure that my other career choices in some way benefit my corporate organization too and the objectives we are trying to achieve. This also keeps me focused.
On sublimating ego
Thankfully, aligning my corporate career with my other career paths in some way has some grounded me. However there are days where I get excited about certain achievements in other roles and again, in the principle of transparency, I share these with my corporate team.
Leadership is about humility and it is difficult to not cross the fine line between ego and excitement of sharing. I try to remain conscious about this especially in the work environment.
A Day in the Life
- 5am – wake up, get ready, open up the house make coffee and make kid’s lunches
- 6am – my husband and I get the kids ready for school
- 6:45am – leave home to do drop off my son at school
- 7:30am – at the office and catch up on emails until my first meeting starts
- 08:30 until 4pm work meetings for most of the day when I am not travelling
- 4pm – round up admin and urgent work matters
- 5:30pm – get back home, family time and dinner
- 7pm – put the kids to bed and then catch up with my husband on our day and family admin, call my parents
- 9pm – final round of emails and then some downtime watching Netflix, catching up on news or watching YouTube videos
- 10:30pm – bedtime
Where to find Esha