The mind of a mentor: Valentine Nti shares what ‘mentorship’ means to him and names his ideal mentor.

The Mentorship Challenge, with Marc Wainer connects people across geographical, cultural and industrial boundaries. And this is all thanks to the time, talent and wisdom of the mentors featured on the show and online. We wanted to unpack their insights more fully than the television show allows. Because ultimately, it’s all about the meetings, moments, milestones – and mistakes! – that led them to the leaders they are today.

Valentine Nti is big on building a network of financially-qualified business leaders. He’s all for lighting a fire under all things financial, and, as founding chief executive of the CharterQuest Professional Education Institute and its affiliated sub-brands, he’s encouraging CFOs to set aside self-interest and adopt a deeply collaborative competitive strategy.

Valentine Nti

He’s committed to nothing less than ushering in a new ‘world order’, where mutually shared objectives define financial decision-making. With over 16 years’ experience in the private and public sectors, as a lecturer at Wits and GIBS, and through serving blue-chip multinationals such as Anglo American and Standard Chartered Bank, he’s charting new territory in the world of finance.

We sat him down and asked him to answer a few choice questions.

What does the term ‘mentorship’ mean to you?

Inspiring a mentee or protégé to aim high and overachieve!

What, in your view, is required to forge a successful mentoring relationship?

The mentor should be passionate and can make time, of course, but it’s the mentee who should always initiate and lead – not the mentor! The mentee should bring solutions or options, and must ask for guidance. It’s a two-way street!

Tell us about the earliest memories of mentorship in your life – with specific reference to the people who had the greatest influence on your development.

Generally, I looked up to my teachers at school, and to my managers at work!

Looking back on your life, what changes would you make and what would you do differently? What would you say to your younger self?

I should have studied an MBA much sooner; I found that I was more of a generalist

and an entrepreneurial leader than I realised whilst in accounting and auditing.

If you could pick anyone in the world to mentor you today, who would that ‘fantasy’ mentor be?

Barack Obama!

What legacy would you like to leave in your lifetime?

Build a business that continues to deliver the greatest number of financially-qualified business leaders for Africa.

What role can corporates, SMEs and NGOs play in rebuilding South Africa, and how can they make a meaningful impact in the communities that need this most?

Just do more of the same!

What advice would you give a passionate young person who wants to start their own business in today’s economic climate?

Forget the economy! Think about the real need your business meets, and why and how it does better.

We’re hoping these mentoring dialogues will deliver some meaningful food for thought for you to digest, and that they’ll inspire both mentors and mentees to join the challenge.

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