The road to Kearsney
Ghislaine Riceman is an ambitious Northern KZN woman whose life journey has led her to many professional adventures. Now that her boys are growing up, she has finally settled at Kearsney College as the Foundation Director.
She grew up on the North Coast on her family’s sugar cane farm. “It was wonderful growing up on the farm. Looking back now, the sense of freedom my siblings and I enjoyed was certainly a privilege.”
She studied a Bachelor of Commerce degree at University of KwaZulu Natal Durban. “I’ve always had a passion for accounting. I went on to major in Business Administration and Economics. I’m a strategic thinker and I wanted to do accounting with a difference. I studied Chartered Management Accounting in the United Kingdom for four years and I worked part-time at a stock broker firm to earn money for travelling.”
It was an exciting time for South African rugby and I feel fortunate to have had a small part in that
She had the opportunity to see and experience people and cultures from around the world.
“I worked really hard to be able to travel and explore, and it was definitely worthwhile. I also spent four months on a kibbutz in Israel . Travelling broadens your horizons and teaches you to be independent and to make planned decisions.”
She didn’t spend too much time travelling through Europe. “Visiting the more affluent countries was very expensive. It made far more sense to have memorable experiences in the less expensive countries. I worked in Greece for a while. It was beautiful; the lifestyle and the people were just amazing. At that stage, there were many South Africans living in Greece, which also made you feel right at home.”
Back in South Africa, she finished her studies and joined the Natal Rugby Union as the Financial Manager.
It was a fun environment to work in, and I met some life- long friends
“I was there from 1993 to 1997. It was an exciting time for South African rugby and I feel fortunate to have had a small part in that. In 1995, the Sharks won the Currie Cup and the Springboks won the World Cup. We hosted the semi -final of the World Cup in Durban; it was an exciting time for us at the Rugby Union, as well as for us as South Africans. It was a fun environment to work in, and I met some life- long friends. I also met my husband, Mike, during that time.”
Mike is a sales director at a leading real estate agency in Durban. “I found his drive and passion for his work inspiring. We got married in 1997 and in that same year I took an opportunity to manage a financial team at a security company. It was challenging, but it was the next logical step in my career path.”
When they had their second son, Ghislaine’s priorities changed and she found herself wanting more time at home. “I stayed at home with the intention of raising my boys and nothing more, but once a career woman, always a career woman. I had to stay in the game of finance. After a few short months, I started a financial advisory business. It suited that time of my life well. Working for myself, I could control how many clients I had. I could be there for my boys when they needed me and work when they didn’t.”
While she enjoyed being a financial advisor and is proud of the work she did during that time of her life, she needed a change.
We are extremely proud of our boys. They are both fiercely independent young men
“I enjoyed my work. It is fulfilling to walk a financial path with your clients and to see them grow and prosper, but it became lonely. As they became more settled in their businesses, they didn’t need me to spend time on site and while I love finance, I also love people, sharing ideas and getting to know new people with fresh perspectives. I knew that this chapter of my life was coming to an end. James, my eldest son, was already a student at Kearsney College when I came across the opportunity to join their team.”
This position was not financially centred , it was different to anything else she has ever done.
“I saw the positive change the school had made in James’ life and having a chance to be part of that team was something that really excited me.”
Her youngest son, Daniel, is at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School. “We are extremely proud of our boys. They are both fiercely independent young men. Daniel has been away from home since Grade 5 and he is flourishing on his own under the guidance of his school. He travels the world singing and learning, while James enjoys the numerous opportunities Kearsney has to offer him. They both work hard and play hard too. I feel lucky to have such well-rounded achieving young men in my life.”
With their busy schedules, they rarely get the chance to be together as a family.
“Having both my boys under one roof is special for me. We spend a lot of time staying in the berg hiking, socialising or just being together. We love going to the beach, surfing and soaking up the sun. I’m happy with where I am at the moment. I’m a big advocate of Kearsney College. It’s important to believe in the company you work for.”
She is looking forward to spending more quality time with her family. “Life is not about chasing the corporate ladder. Our children are on loan to us, so enjoying that time with them is what life should be about and finding a place where you can be content and happy.”
Get It Northern KZN & Midlands October 2018