The award winning business wiz shares her views of the way forward after her recent election to the board of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

How would you interpret the role of the Durban Chamber (DCC)

A vibrant business environment needs a catalyst to stimulate action. In my view, the DCC is such a catalyst. The management has made strides in their development of opportunities for local and regional businesses. To ensure the region’s economy grow they must continue with developmental projects not just for big business, but facilitate growth for smaller SMMEs to connect and learn from industry leaders.

What is your personal agenda as a new board member?

Before any person can act on a business opportunity, they need to know about it. My primary agenda will be to expose the wonderful programs and facilitation workshops hosted by the DCC, specifically for SMMEs. I will endeavour to create more interaction with different businesses in different fields through the platform offered by the DCC via my marketing and media expertize. Opportunities are to be found outside of the chamber membership too, hence we must communicate more broadly to the business community of Kwa-Zulu Natal, share with them the good news on what the DCC can offer them and grow our regions’ business endeavours even further.

How many years have you been a member of the DCC and what have you learned from your association?

In a total of 6 years I have made very strong business alliances. Business is reliant on connections and continued relationship building. The DCC offers such a platform and I have managed to build my business through associating with role players. With the DCC it is easier to find a business connection than to face the unknown on your own. Networking is a valuable tool in succeeding in business.

Do you believe in the theory of a glass ceiling for woman?

The level of ambition a woman holds will determine the height of her glass ceiling. There is always the option of branching out and becoming an entrepreneur. Then again, the limits she reaches will be determined by how hard she works and what goals she sets for herself in business.

What keeps Zama Phakathi in business?

The belief that I can always expand is a huge driving force in my life. If one door closes, there are many more to explore. I see myself reaching new levels as my business grows into new areas of expertise. I value business networking and I always seek new opportunities.