Date posted: 15/09/2022

Becoming a Top100 Future Leader: Three leadership skills you can develop today

The 2022 Top 100 Future Leaders Accounting Award winner Raramai Purazeni reflects on her leadership journey to date, and how students can learn from her experience.

In brief

  • Today’s employers are seeking accounting graduates who are proficient in their craft and exhibit strong leadership qualities they can bring to an organisation
  • It follows, then, that each year all eyes are on the GradConnection’s Top 100 Future Leaders Accounting Award, which assesses emerging leaders across criteria including application skills, communication skills and personal branding.

Raramai Purazeni

Raramai Purazeni is this year’s winner and has excelled in each of these categories. She says the awards process has confirmed that not only is she on the right path, but that others can walk it too. 

“I remember looking at the LinkedIn pages of the other finalists and thinking, "Wow, look at all these achievements, are you sure I belong in this group?” Raramai said. 

“Interacting with other finalists helped bring some human perspective to what was a really surreal process for me. Even though we're competitors, we're all university students, we're all on our own path and we're all still learning.” 

Raramai’s experience to date has brought out her leadership qualities and put her on the path to a successful career.  

Moving beyond theory to application

Since starting a Bachelor of Accounting at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Raramai has pursued volunteer and internship opportunities to expand her knowledge of how accounting skills are applied in real-world business scenarios.  

She’s recently completed her finance internship at QBE Insurance, a global company with more than 14,000 employees worldwide. 

“I'm a part of a team of four and they look over everything that's happening in a planning, budgeting and forecasting sense,” Raramai said. 

“It has been a real eye-opener. You get to see how people interact, how your managers try to engage you in a task and challenge you by giving you something you mightn’t have seen before.” 

Her real-world experience is also paying dividends closer to home. She’s recently helped her mother establish a business back in Zimbabwe, where Raramai was born.  

“My mother came to me and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got some spare cash and I want to start a business - can you help?’,” Raramai said. 

“It turns out I could assist a lot with things like budgeting, receipts and calculating profit. After all, what's the point of an accounting degree if you can't even do those kinds of basic things for your mother?" 

“Interacting with other finalists helped bring some human perspective to what was a really surreal process for me. Even though we're competitors, we're all university students, we're all on our own path and we're all still learning.”

Communication and crafting your personal brand

Crafting a strong personal brand has also helped Raramai establish herself as a leader early on in her career. Harvard Business Review describes a personal brand as the visibility and values you outwardly represent, or how you want people to see you. 

For Raramai, authenticity, connection and a keen sense of self are qualities important to how she’s developed a personal brand.

“When it comes to creating your personal brand, I think the first step would be to try and understand yourself, because there's no point making a personal brand around a false persona,” Raramai said. 

“From there, it's the way you interact with people that builds your personal brand. The more genuine you are when interacting with people, the stronger your brand is going to be.”

For students and graduates, a well-crafted LinkedIn presence can be a fantastic way to refine your personal brand. This could be the detail and layout of your profile, as well as the posts and people you interact with.

Authenticity and a keen sense of self are qualities that have helped Raramai build confidence and connection with peers and industry professionals. 

“I always remind myself that there's nothing ever wrong with being ‘the intern’. Even though you're the intern now, who knows where you’ll be in the next two or three years,” Raramai said.  

“I always try to talk to people. If you do go to a corporate event, try to get involved in conversations and introduce yourself, you never know who you’ll meet or who’ll remember you down the line.”

Looking to accelerate your leadership capabilities in a professional setting? 

The Chartered Accountants ANZ Achiever Programme is a great place to start. Follow the link to see how you can get involved. 

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