Meet Sue Smith, Helderberg Village’s Specialist Golf Estate CFO
When the Helderberg Village Board needed to recruit a new Chief Financial Officer and Exco member in 2019, they did not expect to meet Sue Smith whose 30 years of finance experience included 20 years at prestigious golf clubs and estates including Boschenmeer, Erinvale and Steenberg.
For Sue who lives around the corner from Helderberg Village, in Somerset West, and was spending hours commuting to Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs every day, the move has been an extremely rewarding one that has been filled with ‘positives’ since the day she joined in June 2019.
An international overview
Apart from her busy career, until recently, Sue also served on the Executive Board of CMASA, the Club Management Association of South Africa, for the past 13 years.
“One of the highlights of my association with CMASA was certainly that it enabled me to travel overseas to attend international conferences relating to the club industry, this allowed me to gain valuable insight into how clubs are run around the world,” says Sue.
Finely tuned processes always minimise queries and complaints
In Sue’s opinion the most rewarding aspect of a finance job is the capability to be able to make a difference by managing a team that streamlines processes and minimises complaints and queries. This alone however, does not alleviate the weight of responsibility that comes with an executive level finance position for one of South Africa’s most preeminent retirement estates.
“I most definitely feel the responsibility. Some of the ways I de-stress are to listen to podcasts, read and also watch non-fiction documentaries. My goal since moving to Helderberg Village has definitely been to work towards achieving a better work-life balance,” says Sue.
An inspiring brand ethos
The fact that the Helderberg Village Board place a priority on the wellbeing of their staff, is both inspirational and helpful to achieving these personal goals, she says.
“I love the Helderberg Village brand! The culture is certainly characterised by an emphasis on education and a sense of nurturing, especially within the lower income sector. I find this really refreshing as so many companies simply do not invest enough in their staff,” says Sue.
Meeting the Homeowners’ objectives
As the CFO, Sue’s most important task, is to ensure the financial wellbeing of Helderberg Village by making certain that all departments adhere to the budgets as approved by the homeowners at the AGM, as well as to negotiate favourable terms for procurement and accounts. In addition, her diverse portfolio comprises the overseeing of the administration functions of the village which include accounts, reception, postal deliveries, insurance queries and villager transport. All of this, she says, is done as a team.
Even though Sue trusts heavily in her instincts she is not only inspired by technology and all that it can achieve in one’s daily life, but is also reliant on the character traits she admires most in her fellow colleagues.
“Candour, in my opinion, is the best policy and I greatly admire my fellow colleagues who are dependable, organised and have empathy.
Age is but a number
After 30 years in business, Sue still tries to learn something new every day, and in terms of her personal view on retirement, she now believes that ‘age is but a number’.
“I sincerely hope that when I retire I will have as much energy and enthusiasm as some of the villagers I have met here!”