For Cape Town Opera’s Financial Manager, Shammy Desai, June 2020 brings more than one significant milestone: it marks not only twenty years of serving the company’s finances, but also her personal half century.
She was 30 years old when she relocated to Cape Town from her native KZN, where her aptitude for mathematics earned her position in the accounts department of the university she attended in Pietermaritzburg. ‘After eleven years of boring routine I felt I needed to spread my wings’, she recalls, adding that the family soon followed. It was then that she joined the fledgling Cape Town Opera as accounts manager, and for the following two decades she and the company have grown together through good times and bad.
‘It doesn’t seem like twenty years that I’ve been with CTO, and it’s because it’s so exciting, unlike most positions in finance. Especially since I was promoted in 2018 from accounts to Finance Manager, when Elise Brunelle became Managing Director. It means more responsibility as I now handle cash flow as opposed to just capturing accounts payments and statements, but I also have more opportunities to meet interesting people, look in on rehearsals, attend meetings…there’s always something going on, and that’s why I am still here.’
Elise Brunelle comments, ‘Shammy is the Financial Manager every organisation should have: ethical, organised, honest and hardworking. Shammy’s 20 years of service are key to Cape Town Opera’s reputation as a company of integrity, and we are all honoured to work alongside her.’
Optimistic about CTOs future, she’s equally positive about her own position, which she sums up as ‘Freedom of movement and freedom of spirit without the cramp of routine.’ There is no questioning the commitment of this financial manager to the company she has served for most of its existence.
By Beverley Brommert