MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN NEWSLETTERS
Behind Every Successful Woman is a Great Man
By Laura Franz-Kamissoko and Rudolph Raath
Gone are the days when the domain of women was restricted to the home, the raising of healthy children and the management of family social life. Times have changed and women form an integral part of modern commerce. But what of a family where the woman is also a breadwinner and a successful businesswoman in her own right? We speak to Carl Wepener (CW), Director: Corporate Services at CEO Communications and husband of Annelize Wepener, Chief Executive of the company, and Silven Padayachy (SP), Chief Financial Officer of TSLS Holdings and husband to Vasi Govinder,
Director of TSLS Holdings, to find out about marriage, love and life with a top executive.
The saying goes that behind every successful man is a great woman. Would you say that the reverse also applies?
CW: Yes, not only am I dedicated, but also supportive and caring, but so is she in all my endeavours.
SP: Most definitely, which could be why Vasi always says: “Men, you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them.”
What, in your opinion, makes your wives the motivated and successful business leaders they are today?
CW: The fact that she loves working with people, along with her pedal-to-the-metal approach to business and life. Once Annelize has made up her mind to do something, she goes all-out to achieve it.
SP: Vasi is very dedicated and passionate about her work. She always puts other people’s interests ahead of her own. She wakes up every morning worrying about “doing the right thing”, be it for clients, employees and the extended family. She always thinks about long-term results rather than quarterly earnings and this has definitely led to her success.
What five words best describe your wives?
CW: Passionate, caring, focused, tenacious, goal-oriented.
SP: Ambitious, dedicated, respectful, loyal, humble.
What do you do or where do you take your wives when you see that they are getting too stressed about work and you realise they need a break?
CW: If we have the time I take her to our Fishhoek home, where she loves sitting in the sun-room watching the sea. If we don’t have the time for that, I take her to our home in Pretoria, light some candles, put on some soft music, and enjoy a bottle of wine with her.
SP: I have learnt after many years that when she is stressing it is best to keep quiet and leave the television remote in her hands, and if she decides we are going away for the weekend then the kids and I are thrilled.
Do your wives succeed in separating their work and personal lives? Do you ever have to force them to ‘switch off’ from work-related matters when at home?
CW: What personal life? I’m only joking. Actually, my wife is very good at this. She’s excellent at balancing the two to the benefit of all.
SP: I don’t think there is an off switch, unless five minutes count. Recently, while we were on weekend break in order to get away from work, Vasi was planning changes to a project she is busy with, which took up most of the weekend. With time I have, however, come to appreciate that there’s no use in forcing Vasi to do anything unless she wants to.
How important is alone-time in your relationships – do you have a set weekly ‘date’ where you spend time together?
CW: Religion is the most important part of our relationship. In the morning before work we read from the Bible, discuss the message or lesson God intended for us, and say our prayers for the day together. Religion is not a once-off daily exercise, but a way of life. We both try to implement our beliefs into our everyday activities.
SP: Although Vasi is busy, I do appreciate the fact that family is always her main priority, so we always make an effort to spend quality time together.
If you’re out somewhere, how do you stay occupied while your wives are talking to their best friend (aka, BlackBerry or other phone of choice), or are you also often taking business calls?
CW: Go out, buy a newspaper, read the paper, go to the driving range and practise my golf swing and, on my way back, buy some chocolate just in case she has finished by the time I get back.
SP: I have become accustomed to the BlackBerry being joined to her hand, so during this time I attend to my e-mails or other work-related issues.
If you only had 10 minutes of her time in a day, which I would imagine is often a reality, what would you tell your wife?
CW: That I love her, that she can always count on my support, and that I will always be there for her. That she should go all-out to achieve her dreams and live them daily, and not try to be someone she isn’t.
SP: Being the hands-on person that she is, I would ask Vasi to delegate more work so that she would have some extra time for herself.
Carl, you and Annelize have been married for nearly 32 years. What are the top three things you never tell a woman?
CW: That she talks too much, that she’s wrong, and that she should not have the last piece of chocolate!