MEET: Paulina Hlapane, Senior Administration Officer in the Department of Finance

Posted on July 31, 2020

‘Opportunities do not just happen ­– you create them,’ says senior admin officer Paulina Hlapane, who tells Tukkievaria more about her life and career.

Tell us a bit about your background.

I was born in Ficksburg in the Free State and was raised in Phuthaditjhaba. After attaining my Grade 12 in 1998 at Tlhorong High School, I enrolled for a National Diploma in Finance and Accounting at Tshwane University of Technology.

I believe that opportunities do not just happen ­– you create them. That is why, while I was studying, I volunteered at Telkom as an accounts payable administrator. I was responsible for the daily management of staff in the accounting department to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of processes and payments. The finance industry is huge, and I have a passion for the sub-sector I am involved in. My philosophy with regard to the work environment is that it is important to accept criticism, be it positive or negative. I continuously learn from my seniors.

What does your role at UP entail?

I handle the financial issues of UP student societies, which it involves a lot of collaboration. This is challenging for me because I generally prefer to work alone. But I came to appreciate the help of my colleagues and recognised that the work we produce together is of a higher quality than any one of us could have done alone.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make UP an even better place to work?

UP’s staff complement is diverse and we are operating under immense pressure with COVID-19. Virtual communication has become the default. Starting with self-introspection, I would recommend being open-minded and mindful of the essential simplifications that could be instituted to help each individual experience an ever greater sense of belonging to the team while working within the “new normal”. We are diverse in terms of our skills, knowledge and abilities. However, common knowledge is not always common to everyone. To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he or she has achieved, but at what he or she aspires to do.

What do you do in your free time?

I am a middle-distance runner, and I often take my two girls along to introduce them to athletics.

Who is your all-time hero?

My mother is the person whose shoulder I lean on. She taught me to strive to be of value, and she continuously motivates me. I also look up to former president Nelson Mandela who slayed his enemies with a smile. I live by his words, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”

- Author Jimmy Masombuka

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