- Sarah Oelofse CA moved with her family from South Africa to New Zealand in 2008.
- After studying at the University of Waikato, she qualified as a CA in 2019.
- She was awarded a scholarship for the Women & Leadership New Zealand Executive Ready program in 2020.
By Sarah Oelofse CA
I was born in Durban, South Africa, in 1992. I always loved sports and the outdoors, particularly netball and horse riding. My love of horses began when I was five years old. I saw a pony at a local market and bought multiple tickets for a pony ride, but I was too scared to ride! A few years later, the same pony and her owner, who had become my best friend, were at my eighth birthday party. Horses have been a huge part of my life since then.
In 2008, I moved with my family to New Zealand and finished high school at Otumoetai College in Tauranga. I was also lucky enough to buy my first horse, Mia. After being awarded two scholarships to attend the University of Waikato, I moved to Hamilton to study a Bachelor of Management Studies. As the first person in my family to go to university, it was a proud moment for me.
I became a New Zealand citizen in 2015 and graduated from Waikato. After that, I took a year off and worked as a chef in Raglan, a little beachside town west of Hamilton. In 2016, I started a graduate job in a small CA firm in Hamilton, Owen McLeod & Co, working on accounts and audits.
I travelled to Peru for a month in 2018 by myself. It was my first solo trip overseas. It was incredible! I hiked the Inca Trail and stayed with locals in their villages. Solo travel was daunting at first but it was the best decision I could have made. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, I met amazing people and learnt a bit of Spanish. I was meant to be travelling in Europe in 2020 but my plans were cancelled due to border closures. I will definitely be rebooking when it is safe to travel again. I believe it’s extremely important to experience other cultures and try new things.
“Solo travel was daunting at first but it was the best decision I could have made
I qualified as a CA in 2019 and then started as the group financial accountant at Hamilton Airport. It’s a diverse role that’s already changed so much in just a couple of years. In 2020, I was awarded a scholarship for the Women & Leadership New Zealand’s Executive Ready program. It’s a seven-month accelerator course that gets middle managers into a more executive mindset. This course ties in with my work as I already manage some of the Airport’s commercial interests – I’m excited to see where it leads.
And I am still involved with horses! My friend gave me Chai, a horse she rescued, and I help with her other rescue horses.
Delivered through Women & Leadership New Zealand, Executive Ready is an intensive leadership development program enabling exceptional performance, behaviours and mindsets.Find out about Executive Ready
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