17 August 2021 | Story Dr Cindé Greyling | Photo Supplied
Marisna Nel, Director: Governance and Reporting in the Department of Finance.

Marisna Nel is the Director: Governance and Reporting in the Department of Finance at the University of the Free State. Although her overall responsibility relates mainly to governance and financial reporting, it also includes the management of the following divisions within the Department of Finance:  Salaries; Accounts Payable; General Reporting; Travel and Expense Claims; and Financial Systems.

What is the best thing about your job?
The people. I am proud to say I’m surrounded by loyal, hardworking colleagues who will never shy away from walking the extra mile. They never stop to amaze or inspire me. 

What is the best and worst decision you have ever made?
One of my better decisions was to work abroad in both the USA and Ireland for a period of three years post articles. I will always be grateful for the life lessons learnt and professional experienced gained. However great these opportunities were, my ‘best’ decision was to return to South Africa. I truly believe that, irrespective of all the challenges we face in South Africa, we are resilient people with the ability to inspire and influence change. I also met the love of my life back home and am the proud mother of two boys. I do not recall a specific decision that I regret. My life journey thus far formed and made me the person I am today, and therefore I would not want it any other way.

What was/is the biggest challenge of your career?
Balancing my professional career with being a wife and mom. 

What does the word woman, mean to you?
Being a mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister, and colleague all in one. I believe that each of these roles contributes to our growth and internal well-being, and that is what makes women special.

Which woman inspires you, and why?
I do not have a specific role model, but rather some specific qualities that I admire. The ability to stay true to your beliefs. Sometimes, it means taking the difficult route to be able to do the right thing and having the courage to do it.

What advice would you give to the 15-year-old you?
Live and enjoy every moment. Do not focus so much on the future that you forget to enjoy the moment.

What is the one self-care thing that you do? 
Spending time with my family in nature – camping is our family thing. It helps me to refocus on what really matters when life wants to run away with me.

What makes you a woman of quality, impact, and care?
My values and strong ethics make me who I am – helping me to make fair decisions consistently and focus on the true North in times of difficulty. I believe the way to build trust is by always being honest. This is what I try to live by and also teach my children. The last value I hold dear is what my father has always emphasised through his entire life – humility. We are all part of a bigger picture and each one has an important role to play.
I cannot live without … coffee and my family. 
My secret weapon is … my ability to laugh at myself. 
I always have … faith. 
I will never … parachute.
I hope … to someday be able to say that I’m done with my to-do list.

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