Esme Molefe is a married mother of two, who was born in Soweto and raised in Eldorado Park, spending her high school years at boarding school in Mafikeng before returning to Johannesburg for her tertiary education. Her corporate career started in 1996 as a bank teller at Standard Bank South Africa and ended in venture capital funding in 2020 as Chief Operations Officer at Edge Growth. In a career spanning 24 years, she also worked in various other industries which included engineering &, telecommunications, parastatals, oil & gas, and SME development. She is an MBA graduate and is currently pursuing PhD studies.
For more of Esme's professional career details, click on the image alongside.
Esme founded the company in late 2020 as an initiative to bring the fundamentals of financial education to consumers primarily from previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa.
As an ex-banking executive, she observed the interactions of these communities with the banking and financial service sectors, discovering that there were various education gaps that had led to them having lower financial literacy and participation levels than other population groups, leading to less money management and wealth building skills. To gain more insights, Esme researched the topic "Social values influencing financial literacy in previously disadvantage communities in South Africa" as part of her masters programme research at Wits University (Johannesburg). Using all this formal and informal research as well as her 24 years experience and lessons learned over the past 25 years in commerce and industry, she decided to start StepUp Financial Coaching, in order to bring financial education, money management and wealth creation skills closer to these communities.
We asked Esme about her personal motivations to start StepUp Financial Coaching and this is what she had to say:
"I was born and raised in the Johannesburg townships. To say I know the challenges of growing up in a poor and working class community is an understatement. I know what it's like to live from hand to mouth, and at the same time bear the responsibility of helping and contributing to my immediate as well as my extended family. Watching the hard sacrifices my parents made to make ends meet and give us a more comfortable life with opportunities they never had, made me determined to learn how to be financially independent and not have to make the tough choices they had to make. I was always curious as a child, and still am. This and being very determined and strong-willed, led me to a career spanning many years in the world of banking and finance. Since then, many people have approached me for advice on how to achieve their financial goals and financial freedom.
Through StepUp Financial Coaching, I help my clients break through the obstacles and habits that may be sabotaging their efforts at achieving financial success for themselves and their families. For example, one of the most common money beliefs in these communities are:
1) that money evil
2) if you have lots of money, you must be doing something bad; and
3) people with lots of money have more problems.
Another one is 'money can't buy you happiness'. Well, it sure can't but I think we can all agree that not having it can definitely lead to a lot of UNHAPPINESS!
I encourage anyone who struggles with making, keeping and growing their money to join our training and coaching courses, and learn how take authority over their finances and develop better ways to handle their money so that they can live the life they truly deserve. Afterall, now more than ever, we've learned that post covid-19, that life really is too short to be lived unhappy and unfulfilled. So, take that bold step into your future towards a life that gives you the financial security to provide not only for yourself but your loved ones as well, without any feelings of guilt, shame or FOMO. DO IT NOW!"
Sign up to hear from us about training, coaching, and webinar events.