SHE started her career with no experience, less than £80 (R1085.00) in her wallet and sleeping on the floor of a friend’s apartment in Hammersmith, London; a three-bedroom place shared by nine people.
Today, with experience from international powerhouses like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, Port Elizabeth businesswoman Diedre ElphickMoore teaches corporate executives around South Africa essential skills to develop and sustain their brands.
Like many success stories, hers is one of passion and self development, the two drivers behind skills development company The Office Coach.
Elphick-Moore and business partner Angela Carter have been developing and facilitating top-notch training programmes to clients all over the country on everything from business etiquette to compliance with consumer and empowerment laws since 2009.
A people’s person, Elphick-Moore studied psychology but decided not to practise until she fulfilled a vaguely articulated notion of “more life experience”.
“I felt this was important if I was to have any credibility and integrity as a psychologist,” she said.
And on a life journey she went, crossing the Atlantic Ocean from Antigua in the Caribbean to Mallorca in the Mediterranean aboard a sailing boat. “I had no real sailing experience before this.”
This is similar to how her career took off. Her first job was a data entry clerk at Citibank.
“It was boring but it gave me a phenomenal opportunity to understand the financial services industry and one of the human resources departments that support it,” Elphick-Moore said.
“From there, I worked hard, differentiating myself from others through a positive hard-working attitude, a willingness to learn and take the initiative and an ability to look at things a little differently.
“In fact, I was later told that it was these attributes that led to me being head-hunted from Goldman Sachs to a corner, Morgan Stanley office in Canary Wharf, London. I was there until I returned to South Africa to enjoy a more balanced quality of life and the joys of family.”
Elphick-Moore said what one needed to succeed in business was a sense of accountability, the ability to think out of the box, positivity, humility and cultural awareness.
Her goal for The Office Coach is to have a brand synonymous with integrity and to be known as a “must have” business partner instrumental in developing positive, sustained change in organisational behaviours.
Her message to young entrepreneurs is to know what you are setting out to achieve.
“If you do not have a clearly articulated goal you cannot approach each day with purpose. Understand your weaknesses and seek out mentors you can learn from and people who can supplement your skills. Understand compliance factors in your chosen career. Ignorance is no excuse for work that lacks integrity.”