As part of my MEET THE MOMS SERIES, I connected with Liezel van Rooyen, mom of champion swimming girl Carissa van Rooyen. I was moved by her humility, her grateful heart and her deep desire to impact the world for the better, once changed life at a time. Liezel wants to ensure that every South African is blessed with the means to generate an income. She has been through deep waters as a single mom, unemployed with a teenage daughter active in sport, but still she rose all the way to stand again. Liezel I salute your tenacity, your faith in God, and the brilliant example that you set for many women in our society.
Q: You have just launched your own business entrepreneurial brand – GrowthTip. Congrats! Tell me more about it.
The vision of GrowthTip is ambitious in that it wants to see every South African blessed with a means to generate an income and provide for their families. Today’s economy and circumstances in South Africa demands this.
It is our mission to develop, support and promote start-up and small owned/managed businesses to ensure their growth and sustainability in co-ordination and partnership with other role players (e.g. training providers, financiers and corporates – enterprise and supplier development initiatives).
It is also a goal to help entrepreneurs grow and increase their contribution to sustainable and equitable social and economic development, employment and wealth creation in South Africa.
Q: When did you first know this is what you wanted to do?
This dream was borne when I was un-employed for 13 months from January 2014 to January 2015. Not many people know this.
I am a highly qualified and experienced individual but finding a job was very, very difficult. I am a single parent and I do not receive any financial support. Trying to look after your high performing child and not knowing where food will come from the next day, or how she will get to training, introduces you to new levels of challenges you could never have understood and have empathy for unless you experience these challenges yourself. Thanks to the grace of God, family and friends we managed to get through this phase in our lives.
Carissa and I look gratefully back at this phase in our lives. We both are much better people as a result of this and I know now that we had to experience this in order for me to make a REAL difference during my time on earth.
The skills and experiences I gained have prepared me for this new journey in our life’s.
Q: Tell me about your career journey / (experience) up to this current point.
I have had the most amazing career and experiences since I joined the job market immediately after I matriculated in 1988.
I received a full University bursary to study Bsc Ed. at Rand Afrikaans University from January 1989. However on the day I had to report at University on 22 January 1989, I informed my parents that I do not think that this is what I want to do. They acknowledged this decision with a response that I need to find a job and support myself.
Back then this was not a challenge. I managed to secure an interview on the same day and started my employment at First National Bank the following day as a Savings Clerk at Germiston South Branch. I realised very soon that I do not have a future doing a very administrative job and my career soon lead me to becoming the 1st female representative in the Commercial sector of the Oil Industry. Total South Africa provided the platform on which my career kicked off. I travelled the globe and spend a lot of time in Paris, France and other parts of the world while I climbed the corporate ladder so to speak. I learned about sales, business, IT, etc during my career here and studied Business Management through Henley Business School in the UK. I then joined Nedbank and Standard Bank and then ventured into the Education sector where I trained Business Skills and developed training material. I returned to the IT sector and during this time I became unemployed. I realised then that I have a lot more to give to the human race. Returning to Adult Education fuelled this vision.
Creating employment and providing a means for this is my purpose.
Q: What have been the highlights?
Some highlights in my career include the following:
Working and interacting with International Businesses
Experiencing great success and failure
Meeting extraordinary people
Having it all and losing it all again
Mastering myself and despite everything influencing a young life successfully – my daughter
Q: What’s the best part of your job / business?
Contributing towards the success of other people – it is extremely humbling to make even the smallest contribution to people’s lives which is extraordinary to them. Often this contribution is perceived as insignificant to most but to the ordinary man/ woman it is significant.
Q: What is the most Challenging part?
Making time for myself. I tend to give too much to others. I had to learn to say no to others and yes to myself.
My typical day would start with meditation in the morning followed by doing my affirmations and visualization. The time I get up is very much influenced by Carissa’s schedule i.e. morning training or not therefore I can get up at 3h30 or 5h00. Breakfast and lunch are then prepared for Carissa. I would drop her at school either at 6h30 or 7h15 – subject to morning training. Meetings, phone calls, admin, strategic thinking, appointments, facilitation, etc. would follow. My day starts to conclude with fetching Carissa from swim training, arriving back at home at 19h30, dinner, homework, wrapping up the business day and preparation for the following day concludes before I retire.
I do not manage to sleep a lot, however sleeping and exercising is receiving a renewed focus. I am aging badly! 😉
Q: What are your other interests / or do to relax/ have fun?
My interests, relaxing and having fun seems to evolve around Carissa’s swimming career. Most swim parents can vouch for this. You spend hours during the week and over weekends next to the pool. I would spend this time mostly working.
I am now disciplining myself to reading a couple of hours a day again and have registered to study again.
I love cooking and baking and when I can, I invest a lot of energy into this.
Q: As a mom how do you manage to balance your family and career life. Your tips and tricks: advice for other moms?
Managing your family and work life will always be a challenge, especially with being a single parent. The best way to do this is to plan very well and to commit to the plan and execute it to the best of your ability. You need to acknowledge that you are a human being as well who needs some attention from time to time. Giving all the time will guarantee failure.
Team work with your family and communication is critical. Carissa and I would agree our respective goals and ensure that we both understand each other’s needs. We also check in with each other every day to see how the other is doing,
We would agree our action plan and review it as we make progress. We do not waste time and energy on energy drainers and manage successfully to focus on what is REALLY important. We remind each other of the bigger picture.
We might not have as much as others do at this point in time, but we know we can rely on our FAITH, COURAGE and BEING GRATEFUL!
We know we can only be the best we can be as individuals by operating as one team.
Q: Has your daughter’s swimming career, which will imply more and more travelling, inspired you to make the bold move to start your own business?
Absolutely! Both time and money are massive factors. The reality is that swimming is an expensive sport and unfortunately swimming does not receive the same resources as other sports do in South Africa. The association does it best with the little resources they receive and as parents we need to do our part in contributing towards our children’s successful swimming careers. We are extremely grateful towards Swimming South Africa, Central Gauteng Aquatics and Carissa’s sponsors however I need to make my contribution as well.
I also want to be at every gala Carissa participates in. There is no replay button of our life’s events and it all happens so fast.
Due to finances I could not attend the Grand Prix in Durban this year. It was the worst time of my life being home alone while Carissa participated in Durban. We also experienced this when Carissa participated at the Seagulls gala in October 2015 and I could not be there again due to finances and not being able to take time off work.
I told myself that this will never happen again. We only have these few moments in life to celebrate and I can influence being there.
Thank GOD for great friends who were there when I could not be there.
Q: What lessons have you learned from your champion swimmer daughter J
Oh my word. Where do I start. Carissa’s conscientiousness, self-discipline, courageousness, passion and commitment, goal setting, facing and dealing with great challenges and difficulties and never giving up inspired me even more to take this step. Actually she is the main contributor and influencer to me taking this step.
Q: How do you see the journey ahead for your brand / business?
GrowthTip must become the TIP for GROWING people and entrepreneurs. I want to see GrowthTip being the enabler of establishing and growing thousands of successful entrepreneurs on many different levels. Unemployment must no longer be a concern of South Africans. Everybody must have a dream and a means to succeed.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
I have learned so much from so many people and different experiences. My greatest learning and experience however came when I realised that:
- You must have Faith
- One must never give up
- You cannot do it all by yourself
- If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no
- You must be grateful for what you have, your experiences and the people you have in your life
- You must share your knowledge and experience with others
- You must be honest
- You must allow others to be successful
- You must help other’s to achieve their dreams and potential
- You must acknowledge and respect others
- You need to dream
- You must be brave and don’t let fear become your disabler.
Thanks so much for taking the interview! We wish you all the best on the exciting journey ahead. Blessings.
Managing Director – Liezel van Rooyen
Tel: 073 512 1849
Web – www.growthtip.co.za
NB – All images were supplied by the athlete to Heslop Sports. If there are any images that are not credited correctly, please email email@example.com with the details and we will gladly do so immediately.