Last year when South Africa celebrated Women's Month, in memory of women who stood up and marched against an oppressive system on 9 August 1956, financial services company Momentum started a conversation with women about boldly owning their achievements.
We launched the #NoApologyForMySuccess campaign - a movement that aims to inspire women to talk confidently about their achievements.
Women across the world are reaching incredible milestones and achieving well beyond what we were taught was possible; and still so many of us do not confidently embrace our success - instead, research shows that we tend to apologise for it.
The opposite is needed. We need women to talk about their success without feeling like they are being arrogant or overconfident when they do so.
Following International Women's Day, I have been reflecting on the fact that our inability to claim our success is an absurdity linked to many complex factors; such as how women have been socialised, as well as gender roles and culture, to name a few.
The consequence of this is that women are limited in their ability to win business deals, climb the corporate ladder or the relationships they desire.
These are just some of the unintended consequences of not being bold about the amazing accomplishments we have achieved.
I realised at a young age that ‘a man is not a financial plan'. I recognised that I needed to be independent and successful in my own right after witnessing my own educated mother's struggles with dependence on my father for money.
We did not lack for anything, but my mother had to ask my father for money to cover every expense of the household.
I decided early on that I will not be in the same position and always knew that I had to maintain my own identity and manage my own finances.
Growing up, none of the women in my family's friendship circle were career women, but my parents did not deter me from following my own path.
My father instilled a fierce work ethic in all the children and an aversion to debt. My dad drummed a discipline and belief into us to always do better and never to settle for anything less than the best.
After completing a BSc in mathematics and statistics, I was lucky to find the right people at Momentum where I started my career as an actuarial student.
Financial services was a tough sector to break into, but I did not see this as a hindrance, but rather as an opportunity.
I believe that if you are the only woman or minority, you could feel that business is no place for you, or you could see your difference as a gap and huge opportunity.
Through the years, I have had experience in executive positions at various companies. In 2018 I returned to the group as deputy CEO for Momentum Metropolitan.
My role includes being the CEO of Momentum Investments, as well as being responsible for distribution to independent financial advisers and marketing for the group.
A recent McKinsey report stated that men are promoted because of their potential, but women on past accomplishments. It is harder for women to break through the barriers and we need to support one another.
We should not hold ourselves back by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands to opportunities, or internalising negative messages.
Furthermore, to be successful in life, you need to surround yourself with the right people. If you are at a company that does not value you (and that holds true too for a personal relationship) where you are not allowed to reach your full potential, you have to look for something else.
My focus at work is to unite the team around a common cause, a shared goal. They will instinctively do the right things and, if one does that, the numbers will take care of themselves.
As a leader you must always challenge conventional thinking. I want to help people make better financial decisions and have plans in place that will set them up for the future.
The financial services industry is way too complex and I feel strongly about minimising the complexity in the industry.
Part of my plan is to change women's ingrained attitudes towards money so that women no longer defer to their husbands' or partners' perceived 'higher-authority' on finances.
Working women underestimate the role they play in their family's financial security.
Even though no money could replace a mother, it is important to have plans in place that would ensure the best possible outcome in an unfortunate situation.
My advice to women to be successful is to believe in yourself, to back yourself, to show the world that you are confident and to support the women around you.
Jeanette Marais is chair of the board of Momentum Global Investment Management