The month of August is dedicated to acknowledging and celebrating all women. We pay special tribute to more than 20 000 women who marched to the Union Buildings in August 1956.
In acknowledgement, we interviewed a few of our Mazarian trainees across the country. They spoke to us about their inspirations, how they got into the field and much more.
Meet Amber Fredricks, Trainee Accountant at Mazars in PE.
We are always interested in learning more about our trainees. Tell our readers more about yourself and the journey in your particular field.
I am ambitious Amber. A young, hardworking, devoted, kind, loving, stubborn person who loves food and my bed. I love networking and doing photoshoots. I am both mysterious and very open at the same time. What you see is what you get.
I am currently still studying and I am a first-year trainee, my dream is to become a CA, three years down, four to go.
What attracted you to Mazars? What stood out about the firm?
The people. I started out as a brand ambassador and then decided to apply for articles. I attended one of the lunch talks in my first year of varsity and one of the managers told their story and I immediately wanted to know more about Mazars. What stood out for me was the fact that Mazars cared more about the individual than about the marks, and when I did vac work, I knew that this was the place that I wanted to be at. When I attended the functions, people were so kind and they were themselves and I knew that I wanted to be at a place that motivates you to be authentically yourself without any judgement.
From your perspective, what makes a great leader?
A great leader is someone who has empathy, someone who inspires others to just be themselves. What makes a great leader is someone who stands up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves and someone who is honest and who has integrity. A great leader is also someone who is not perfect but someone who is human.
List some of your favourite “she-roes”:
First one would be my mom, she inspired me because she raised my sister and I alone, she sacrificed so much to make sure that we got the education that we needed and that we never go to bed hungry. Life threw so many obstacles at her but she never gave up and she continues to inspire me to not give up no matter what I am going through.
Second one would be “Storm” from X-men. She always inspired me as a young kid because of her strength and resilience. She knows how to weather a storm and she looks pretty cool while doing that.
Last one would be Mother Theresa, she inspired me because she had a passion for working with people, she had empathy and compassion and she helped the less fortunate. She was selfless and that’s something I aspire to be.
From your experience within your career thus far, do you have any messages for future female graduates heading into the same field?
Remind yourself why you studied accounting and why you want to become a CA, remind yourself about your goals and about what’s at stake, because it won’t always be moonlight and roses but it will be worth it in the end. Stay true to who you are, believe in yourself and don’t ever give up. Never be afraid to ask for help and make friends because they know how to cheer you up when it feels like nothing is going right.
What is the best career advice you have ever received? This could be from a colleague, relative or a lecturer.
Find out what your passion is and do what you love because you can have the best job in the world but if you don’t love it then you will never be happy doing it. Life is too short to not be doing what you love.
Share some of your favourite highlights since starting at Mazars. This could be work-related or even everyday interactions with your office colleagues.
My favourite one would definitely be when I became friends with my fellow first-year trainees. They are all so unique in their own way and any conversation with them always puts a smile on my face. Another one would be when we attended the SAICA event at the start of the year and we had to fight for pizza, it was a highlight for me because my fellow colleagues love food just as much as me. I also enjoyed doing physical verification of PPE on one of the clients, where I had the chance to go into the factory and see how they manufacture boxes and packaging, I love the smell of glue and new things so I felt like a kid in a candy store.
Do you feel the COVID-19 pandemic has changed your view on the general work environment in any way?
Not really but it did remind me not to get too comfortable with how things are because things can change so quickly and that one has to be ready to adapt.
How have you maintained focus and motivation in the face of changes brought by the pandemic? Highlight something important during your day-to-day that helps you cope with certain challenges.
I listen to gospel music because it calms me down, and it helps me think. When I feel like things are getting tough then I get up and take a short walk (to the bathroom) and I come back, I breathe, and I continue. What helps me to stay focused on is the random jokes and mini conversations that I have with my colleagues because it helps to take the stress away. I also munch on snacks a lot, because I am a stress eater and it helps me think better. One last thing that I do is to remind myself that I am capable and that it can’t rain forever.
What do you think the future of audit, tax and advisory looks like in South Africa?
I haven’t really thought about it, but I am sure that things will change (better or worse) and when it does, then we will adapt and change with the times. I am optimistic that whatever the future has in store for us that we will adapt and just move with the times.