Insaaf Daniels believes in a combination of empowerment and collaboration


Insaaf describes her leadership style as a fine balance between empowerment and collaboration.

Insaaf Daniels, human capital director at redPanda Group, says it is vital for her to empower her team to make decisions and enable them to thrive even in her absence.

“I want them to feel empowered and understand that they hold their roles for a reason. Involving my team in the decision-making process is critical for successful implementation of initiatives. Trust is also a fundamental component of my leadership approach, as I place immense trust in my team. This trust enables us to work together seamlessly and achieve our goals.”

HR, says Insaaf, is something that wove itself into her career as she first studied management and finance at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2010.

“I initially studied management and finance and started my career as a finance intern for a large retailer. It was important for me to find an internship at an organisation where I knew if I proved myself, they might offer me a permanent job. This internship was in addition to my job at a restaurant, where I had worked since high school to fund my studies.”

During the internship, she spent a week in HR, in the recruitment space as most HR professionals do, giving people an opportunity to start a new career. “Thankfully, I encountered an incredible woman who recognised my potential. From there, I never looked back, dedicating two and a half years to HR before pursuing an HR qualification.”.

Growing in the HR space

After spending eight years at the retailer, ultimately growing to a human resources business partner position, Insaaf joined redPanda Group in 2021 as a human capital business partner, advanced to the position of general manager and now holds the position of director.

“My current role involves setting the strategic direction for people-related goals, aligned with the broader objectives of the redPanda Group. What truly motivated me to join redPanda Software was the opportunity to meet my current managing director and CEO. The shared vision for the future of the company resonated deeply with me, as it aligned with the change I was seeking at that time. I yearned to be part of an organisation where ideas are not only heard but also implemented, where expertise is recognised and valued, and change is welcomed. I truly work with the best people.”

Insaaf acknowledges that becoming a director and board director at the age of 30 was an incredible achievement, but also shares that the joys of HR also come with some challenges.

“If I had to choose my biggest challenge, it would be navigating through retrenchments. These times are often difficult for organisations, as employees face uncertainty, and HR professionals must handle the process while also addressing changes within the company (and are maybe at risk for retrenchments themselves). Another challenge I’ve encountered is managing shifts in company culture, especially in smaller organisations where changes are immediately noticeable. It’s important to acknowledge that company culture evolves over time, influenced by both internal and external factors.”

She adds that despite all this, she still loves connecting with people as an HR professional and remains inspired to do her utmost on a daily basis. “I am inspired every day that I get to do what women before me did not have the opportunity to do, knowing that there are women in environments in which they cannot achieve their goals. Remembering this and being thankful for those that paved our paths is what makes me grateful to wake up every morning.”

When she isn’t hard at work, Insaaf enjoys going for walks, listening to podcasts, and recording episodes for her own podcast, Your Next Level.

“Through this platform, I interview women from around the globe, delving into their personal journeys to inspire others in achieving their career and life goals. I also draw inspiration from their stories.”

She adds that she also uses the platform to inspire others, “It helps you to gain clarity on your goals, then to find someone, or people who have already achieved the success you want and become a part of their circle.

“Success leaves clues and I am yet to meet a successful person who does not want to share their strategies. Get them as a mentor, join their programmes, watch their YouTube videos – but most importantly, you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that it is possible for you, even if there is no example in your family or your friends achieving goals on that level.

“Take action, no matter how scared you are. It’s in those moments that your life will change, and you will make history in your family.”


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