Lisa Klein is a dynamic individual who is driven by a desire to use her skills to stretch the boundaries of what is possible. She is currently the Head of M&A at Discovery and has played a strategic directorship role across many industries for many organisations. She has a passion for developing the future of South Africa through the youth and is currently involved as the Assistant General Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarship, a Fellow of the fourth class of the Africa Leadership Initiative-South Africa and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
My Definition of Success | Being the best ‘you’ you can be. Figure out what makes you happy: this is not always the same as what you think will bring you conventional ‘success’. And make the world a better place.
What Drives Me | A belief that fighting the world’s fight (in its multiple and varied iterations) is both possible and desirable.
My Highlights | Winning the Rhodes Scholarship was a seminal moment in my life: it opened up horizons I never thought possible. I’ve been part of the Rhodes Scholarship secretariat for many years. The brilliant youngsters who come before our selection committees keep me humble. They’re a constant reminder of how important youthful idealism is, and that optimism drives change.
My Key Talent | Fearlessness – speaking truth to power. I’ve learnt that the more powerful you are, the more lightly you should tread. And I never forget that luck has played a role in my success (an important bulwark against hubris).
Values I Live By | Intellectual and emotional honesty. Integrity. Empathy. Tolerance. As I get older, I keep re-learning the centrality of compassion and kindness.
The Important Lessons I’ve Learned | Don’t be afraid – not of your brilliance, or of your convictions. Embrace and listen to your own ethical compass. Don’t be defined by what you think others want you to say, look like, or do. Originality isn’t the same as broadcasting a carefully curated life: the former takes courage; the latter is for show.
Resources I’ve Used | Yoga has taught me to be present and mindful. Attention is a scarce resource, and I’ve found that mindfulness is great for prioritizing. It helps drown out the irrelevant. And I read voraciously: magazines (high brow and low brow) and newspapers. Reading more novels is always on my ‘to do’ list.
My Dreams and Ambitions | Anais Nin said that “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”. To be courageous is a hard choice. But I’m convinced that if I’m seduced by what is comfortable and conventional I won’t have the impact on the world that I desire.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | She made me brave. She taught me to take risks. She defined her own life.
Women Should ‘Lean In’ | Feminism is powerful. It’s sexy. I want young women to own it. Not to feel that speaking out for gender equality is ‘negative’ or typecasts you as a “man-hater”. This is small-minded thinking that’s been mainstreamed by popular culture. I love fashion. Beauty animates me. And I’m a feminist (Sheryl Sandberg’s exhortation to women to ‘lean in’).