Black History Month 2022: a conversation with Manager Jonathan Mutepfa
19 October 2022
Black History Month’s theme this year is ‘Time for Change: Actions Not Words’ – we must be walking the walk on top of talking the talk.
In doing this, we should listen to voices close to home too.
We spoke to Jonathan Mutepfa, Manager in our Jersey office to find out more about him as a professional, and what his thoughts are on Black History Month and diversity at Saltgate.
What is your professional background?
I’m a chartered accountant with 18 years’ experience in audit (with a big 4 accounting firm) and in fund administration. I’ve worked in different jurisdictions that include, Jersey, Angola, and Zimbabwe.
I graduated from the University of Zimbabwe in 2004 with a degree in Accounting, and from the University of South Africa in 2005 with an Accounting Sciences degree.
How did you get to Saltgate?
I was at a point in my career where wanted a change. A recruitment agent introduced me to Saltgate and sent a job description for a role here. The moment I finished reading through it I knew that this role was the right fit for me. It’s been four years since and I haven’t looked back.
What’s your role and what are your responsibilities at Saltgate?
I head a fund administration team for one of our key clients. I oversee the administration of client service delivery, ensuring that performance targets are on track. I’m also part of various operational committees.
What’s the best thing about your role?
I get to work with a team of amazing colleagues who are committed to their work. There is always something new to learn from them while also sharing my knowledge and experiences.
What’s the most challenging part?
The nature of fund administration means sometimes deadlines for unscheduled deliverables from stakeholders can conflict. But when this happens, we make sure that service quality is not compromised by communicating transparently to the affected stakeholders.
Why did you go for the role you are in?
I wanted to expand my capabilities while contributing positively to the team and deliver quality client service that’s second to none. There are many learning opportunities from all elements (from clients, the team, and the senior management team) that come with the role.
What advice would you give to someone who wants your role?
Whatever you do, do it from your whole heart, enjoy it, do your best, and learn from your mistakes. Don't offer excuses or try to cover mistakes. Instead, offer solutions.
Have you got a funny work story to share?
In a previous role, I’d just started work in a new country and was about to travel for an engagement. I ended up missing my flight because I was going by a clock in a different time zone! Fortunately, there was still ample time to get to the client, which I eventually did.
What do you do for fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love spending time with friends and family and travelling to see new places and people.
Who’s your hero?
My mum and dad. I have learned a lot from them with respect to life experiences and work ethic.
What makes someone succeed at Saltgate?
Adherence to the values of engagement, partnership, integrity, and commitment. There are equal opportunities for all, and should one believe in these values whole heartedly, the sky is the limit.
What’s your favourite part of Saltgate culture?
I love the open-door culture – everyone at the company is approachable. Anyone can go to senior management without fear.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
To me, it’s a month of celebrating achievements by the black community in the various disciplines.
I’ve learnt that black people were pioneers in many areas from the content published for Black History Month.
This month provides a platform for people to understand black culture, thereby implicitly improving race relations.
Do you feel Saltgate truly prioritises diversity and inclusion? Why?
Saltgate truly prioritises diversity. The company’s values state: ‘we give our employees opportunities to advance in an environment where teamwork and diversity are at the forefront of our business principles. Our commitment to our people is one of our greatest assets.’
This is a value that I’ve witnessed. Many of my colleagues from very different social backgrounds have succeeded in their role because of Saltgate’s enabling environment.
What are some things Saltgate and other organisations can do to support full racial equality?
I’m happy that the Black History Month has taken off the over the last few years. I believe it’s enabled a lot of engagement with the black community. I would love to see more engagement of this nature regularly, not just for the black community but for other minorities as well.
What do you think still needs to be done to address inequality and racism in and out of the workplace?
I think communities can start by acknowledging that racial issues do exist. By doing so, a platform is provided to examine profiling and or biases and consider where these may have originated.