Born and raised in Eersterust (Pretoria), being the eldest child meant that Claudelle von Ecks’s parents always expected of her to be the more responsible sibling and take the lead. She says it is because of her parents that she began to develop the leadership qualities she has today. She lived up to her parent’s expectations when she became the CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors of South Africa (IIASA).
The IIASA represents the interests of internal auditors in South Africa and makes sure that they follow the rules and regulations of the industry. Under her leadership, the IIASA grew into the second largest auditor institute in the world, after the US. Furthermore, in recognition of her leadership qualities, she won the regional and country award in the Agencies & Regulatory Authority category at the ‘Africa’s Most Influential Women’ awards.
In addition to her role as CEO, she serves on the Unisa Council and has served on the board and audit committee of the Unisa School of Business Leadership. She serves on the Anti-Intimidation and Ethical Practices Forum, the Forum for Accounting Bodies, the Public Sector Audit Committee Forum, the University Advisory Boards, and she is the Chairperson of the UNISA Graduate School of Business Leadership Alumni Association.
Before becoming CEO, she was the Project Director for Business Initiatives at the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants after which she joined the IIASA as the Chief Operations Officer.
Claudelle holds a BA in Psychology from the University of the Witwatersrand, a three year business management diploma in Business Management from the Institute of Administration and Commerce, a Master of Business Leadership degree from the Unisa School of Business Leadership and a Doctorate in Leadership from the University of Johannesburg.
The advice Caudelle gives to those who want to climb the corporate ladder is to be fair, develop self-respect, be honest, rest when you need to, and don’t become arrogant.
She says that is more important to be fair than to be concerned about who likes you. You can’t please everybody and the best you can do is make sure that everybody gets treated equally. Do not judge anybody on their race, gender or how much money they have. It is important to look at who the person is inside. Many times, the people with the most wisdom do not have degrees and big houses.
She also says that you must always remember that the higher you climb, the harder you can fall. Don’t become arrogant, continue to work hard, never stop learning, stay honest, and always plan ahead.
In her spare time, Claudelle enjoys Latin and Ballroom dancing and she has been dancing for the past 18 years. She still attends dancing classes every Monday evening and jogs for 14 kilometers every Saturday and Sunday morning. She says exercise helps to clear her head so that she can plan ahead.
She says that the best advice that she had received came from her dad. He told her that when she needs to make a big decision, she shouldn’t be afraid to make that decision. If you avoid making important decisions, you will only stress yourself and end up doing nothing. Claudelle’s job is all about making important decisions, and looking at how far she has come, she seems to be good at it.