IIG News

Roots & Wings Catch Up During Lockdown

The IIG Roots and Wings Programme is well underway and the mentee’s are tapping into their mentor’s extensive experience, which will help shape their careers and navigate these uncertain times.

Each month we will share with you relevant insights from a few of the powerful pairs of the Roots & Wings Programme. This month we caught up with a few of our Roots & Wings Mentors and Mentees to hear how they were doing during the lockdown and remaining committed to their relationship.


Clodagh da Paixao is the owner of Mulberry Marketing Consulting and is mentoring Maureen Khumalo a Broker Consultant at AC & E Engineering Underwriting Managers.

Clodagh and Maureen shared with us how the lockdown has impacted their Roots & Wings Journey:

Maureen: Lockdown has helped me understand life’s challenges in a better way.  This was not something that any one of us could have seen coming and the impact it would have on our daily lives.  After the meet and greet at Emerald, it was fortunate that my mentor and I, Clodagh, had the opportunity to meet face-to-face a day or two ahead of lockdown.  It was good to at least meet in person, and we’ve spoken on the phone a few times and shared some emails.

Clodagh: The learnings from the past four weeks have meant that more contact is necessary to touch base, I think the uncertainty of us all being placed in this situation, that is so foreign to us all, has   added a new dimension to how we think and behave.  I am hoping that in the not too distant future – lockdown will be eased – and whilst we’ll still practice physical distancing we’ll be able to engage face-to-face.  Until this happens… we’ve agreed on a weekly touch base.

What Maureen has missed the most about her normal routine during the lockdown:

Waking up in the morning, dressing up and being ready to take on the world. Meeting up with clients. Dropping off my kids at school, later hearing about their day at school. Going to my Golf practice and networking.

Clodagh’s advice to Maureen to keep motivated during the lockdown:

Be Kind to Yourself!  You are a career woman, a mom, a wife, a mother, a sister and you’ve added teacher to the role – you’re doing a fantastic job! There are so many stressors coming at everyone during this time, from all sides, make sure you have some time out for yourself.  Everyone is working harder than ever, especially in this environment.



Gerhard Genis, Head of Quality Management at Santam is the mentor to Aaron Mrabalala a Business Assurance Specialist at Hollard Insurance.

Gerhard and Aaron shared with us how the lockdown has impacted their Roots & Wings journey?

 Aaron: The lockdown has been both a blessing and a very challenging journey. There have been times where I felt like I lost control; times I have been sad, challenging moments and times where I did not know how I was feeling. I have been deeply hurt by what our most vulnerable citizens have been going through. I have also been inspired and reminded that we are only human and its ok to acknowledge our emotions, for during these times we learn the most about ourselves.

Having people to talk to and being honest about the uncertainties – quickly puts me back on track.

I have enjoyed a lot of support in this regard from my mentor, Gerhard. Having someone that always reminds me of what is most important helps me find my way through the mess.  Decisions have to be made and problems have to be solved. Gerhard has reminded me about the importance of the ability to wear multiple hats and being flexible enough to work under changing conditions, environment and rules.

The lockdown together with my interactions with Gerhard has reminded me to be more intentional and to find comfort in my own capabilities. Knowing what I don’t know and what I need to know is the only way I can deliver myself to the future.

Gerhard:  It is business as usual. As a seasoned traveller this way of operating I am used to. Thus it is easier for me to guide from a frame of reference: how we should work. We meet weekly, communicate on Whatsapp, email and mobile. I’ve met the kids of Aaron and chat with them. We will socialise in future in cyber space as I am doing with my teams.

What Aaron had missed the most about his normal routine during this lockdown:

I miss the morning conversations about anything human and South African with the petrol attendants at the Caltex garage at Parkrand on my way to the office. The guys have for years been able to put a smile on my face or leave me in deep thought on my way to the office. I miss the sneaky conversations with the security guards in the office. I miss the lunch conversations with my colleagues in the office I learnt most about men and women during those conversations. I miss the office Gin Fridays and the industry networking events. I miss complaining about traffic, I miss the taxi drivers and bus drivers. I miss driving on the N17, I miss seeing smiles on the faces of strangers.

Gerhard’s advice to Aaron on keeping motivated during the lockdown:

Find the ideal workspace and let your brain and body know that it is time to work. Continue with your routines and time tables with certain priorities. Failing to plan; is planning for failure: thus plan your day and include other activities like rest breaks, exercise and time to socialize. Make video calls and use chats to keep in active communication with your family, friends etc. Leave “office at a certain time” and switch off. No debate! Have fun, enjoy the ride and stay positive.



Tshepiso Chocho is the Executive Manager of People Management Sasria SOC Ltd and is the mentoring, Tebogo Raphathelo a Commercial Technical Underwriter at Discovery Insure.

Tshepiso and Tebogo shared with us how the lockdown has impacted their Roots & Wings Journey:

Tebogo: Apart from the physical interaction barrier, the impact has been minimal. This is giving my mentor and I the opportunity to explore other ways of learning and interaction through the use of technology.

Tshepiso: It has become clear that virtual meetings are possible and we have all made them work.  Being able to connect virtually means that we can meet more often and at any reasonable hour.

What Tebogo has missed the most about her normal routine during the lockdown:

As an introvert, I feed off people’s positive energy. I miss my normal routine of going to the gym and interacting with different people at the office.

In the ILDP programme we learned about the future of work, adaptation and agility. Most of us thought this was something that would happen in the future. Due to COVID-19, we are in a position to review our daily routines: from virtual meetings, virtual fitness training, to working from home. This is the time to demonstrate, both on a personal level and as an Industry, that we will not be left behind, and that we are able to adapt, change and positively contribute to the new emerging world.

Tshepiso advice to Tebogo to keep motivated during the lockdown:

Change is the most constant and consistent thing in life.  It is like death and taxes.  The lockdown has brought a lot of changes in the way we do things and interact with one another.  It will be wise for us to use this time and reflect on our work, our relationships and our health.  A gratitude journal can help, every day write 5 things that you are grateful for in this time.