Bravura Alumni Society
May 2019 Spotlight
Alana Bond – Co-founder and Director of Simanye
When interviewed by Bravura as part of our twenty year celebrations, and asked about her vision for the future, Alana Bond said, “Taking people on a journey to create change and positive impact.” Alana shares insights from her own journey as an entrepreneur committed to empowering South Africans.
Alana Bond is a co-founder and director of economic development company Simanye, which provides clients with specialist B-BBEE services, economic development and social enterprise consulting, and facilitates impact investment for innovative high-risk, early-stage social enterprises, through a venture philanthropy approach.
Alana worked for Bravura for six years within the company’s strategic BEE consultancy (Bravura Consulting); first as a consultant, then moving to senior consultant before finally taking the helm as managing director four years later. In 2012, Alana bought the Bravura Consulting business from Bravura. She thereafter rebranded, and enabling her to explore the economic development opportunities by starting Simanye with her co-founder, Lana Lovasic, who also worked at Bravura Consulting.
- What drives you?
For me it is the intersection between making profit and creating positive impact in the world.
- Describe your most compelling qualities.
I have a vision for the future, and my hope is to bring other people along the journey to create change and positive impact in South Africa. Simanye is a vehicle for this vision and has been found to resonate with the wider market, both in terms of clients and colleagues.
I also like to get things done. While it’s inspiring to hear ideas about how meaningful socio-economic impact can be achieved, those ideas become irrelevant if not converted into action. I’m energised by being able to implement ideas, to mobilise plans and see results.
- How would colleagues and clients describe you?
I think each would describe me quite differently! Within the team, I’m direct and tend to drive everyone forward. I can be pretty intense, which I suspect is quite intimidating for those around me.
From a client perspective, the knowledge and experience that I’ve been fortunate enough to build up over the years is something that they have come to rely on, and I’m grateful for the confidence that they have in me. I would like to venture that I can ‘talk their language’ and accurately understand their requirements. This in turn enables us to deliver relevant and sustainable solutions for them.
- Professional memories or milestones at Bravura?
Bravura was an early adopter of transactional BEE. When I joined the company in 2006, broad-based BEE and the balanced scorecard measures were completely unchartered territory and would only be gazetted in 2007. There simply wasn’t a developed industry; there were no standards, no set of interpretations and limited industry bodies. We essentially had to teach ourselves. At the time we built a number of the calculation tools and frameworks for Bravura’s team to use when consulting to clients.
Bravura made a big impact on my career. Being afforded the opportunity to take the leadership reins of the BEE consultancy in 2010 was the beginning of my own entrepreneurial journey. I was able to use my leadership role to develop key skills and grow a network, while being paid a salary every month, which ultimately helped me to run my own business. This security is something I am particularly grateful for when I look back – especially as I didn’t realise at the time where it would all lead to.
- In a word or phrase, describe Bravura.
Bravura strives for excellence in its work and its solutions to clients. It’s one of the great values that Bravura lives by and is something that we also stand for at Simanye.
- Do you have enough hours in your day?
Never. One of my goals for 2019 is to bring on-board the right people who can take on more of a daily management role. I’ve been heavily involved in the BEE consulting space for a long time now, and one of my goals is to become a subject-matter expert in the business rather than an operator, to free up my time to focus more on the other areas of our business.
- Congratulations, you’ve just been elected president of South Africa. What is your first order of business?
Two things. The first is education, which of course is easy to talk about yet much harder to solve. But this is one of the root causes of almost every issue that affects South Africa today and deserves absolute and ongoing scrutiny. It’s a long game, beginning with early childhood development moving through to tertiary education and youth development – which is my own personal area of interest. We have recently started up a new business venture funded by Simanye Consulting called Lucha Lunako, which means “The Youth Have It”. Our philosophy and research is focused on what it actually takes to get young people economically active.
The second is to take a strategic and holistic view of what we want to achieve as a country, and then to audit and amend existing legislation – or produce new legislation that enables this. South Africa has many socio-economic and environmental challenges. With the right interventions and the right funding, we can solve these issues, with job creation, unemployment and poverty alleviation being secondary, but distinct additional outcomes. This includes the funding and support of small and medium enterprises (SMMEs), which are not, but should be, the backbone of this country.
These two aspects, education and strategic eco-system analysis and support, both address long-term root-cause issues around skills and people’s ability to work, and hold the critical key to propelling our economy forward.