Momentum CHRO was entranced by the big, red sign


Every time Desiré Pauw went past the Momentum offices in Centurion on the Gautrain, it enforced her desire to work at the company – something that was on her bucket list.

Desiré Pauw joined Momentum in 2013 as senior HC business partner, a move she made from Stanlib, where she was a senior HR consultant, because Momentum’s big, red logo had captivated her. She is currently the executive: human capital at Momentum Investments, one of the divisions within Momentum Metropolitan Holdings.

In 2018, she moved into her current position, after being promoted through various roles. The investment industry is something that has always captivated Desiré.

Desiré always knew that she wanted to work with people and apply her problem-solving skills in the workplace. “Naturally, that led me to human capital,” she says. Ironically, given her qualification as an industrial psychologist, her parents – who are both teachers – convinced her to do a range of assessments to help identify the most suitable career. “Those results confirmed that I had chosen the right study path. I do think it was meant to be. The human psyche interests me greatly, and it’s an aspect of people that you need to delve deeply into to truly understand. Not one person is the same.

“I used to coach hockey and got to know someone who knows someone, and they introduced me to Stanlib. When I first joined Stanlib, my HR career really started. Back then, I was a junior resource, hungry to learn, who was trying to shadow everyone and see what HR was about.”

She has worked at Stanlib twice, with her first role being that of HR consultant, a position she was offered while doing her BCom (Hons) in industrial psychology at Unisa. In-between her time at Stanlib, she worked at Australian bank, Macquarie, also as an HR Consultant.

As she grew in the human capital space, Desiré realised how much she loved it and decided to complete her master’s in industrial psychology. She has since registered as an industrial psychologist.

During her time in human capital, Desiré has seen the role change from being a role that drove policy and procedure to one that requires different thinking and core organisational development skills. HC is not a capability that sits on the side, but core to business success.

The world of HC as we know it has changed forever, she says, citing a few examples: “Learning and Development as well as skills development have moved away from driving a scorecard to meeting people where they are at in their learning journeys, and considering different ways of learning through different platforms, with a key focus on skills of the future and inspiring employees to do more beyond just their job description,” she notes.

Performance management has also changed, with measurement metrics having moved to output rather than input, and considering the quality of work delivered. “I believe that every person must have meaningful work that aligns to the company’s vision and purpose. This will inspire your employees to do more, do better and to pull towards a common cause.”

Organisational design is a capability that never used to be considered, and is now vital, Desiré says. She says there is a science in terms of how operating models and structures are put together and now it’s important to think differently about business models to ensure business success.

Culture has become a key enabler of strategy and in complex businesses you now also deal with the shift to microcultures with a key focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Employee value proposition is also an aspect that has changed, and is now designed around specific needs, ensuring it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, but looking at the holistic person.

If not for HC, Desiré might have become a teacher or speech therapist, but admits she doesn’t have the patience her parents exhibit. “I considered something else for a very short duration of time, but I don’t think I would have been right for any other role.”

Desiré is a mom of two girls, who turn eight and 11 this year, which also keeps her busy. A big camper, she enjoys the Kruger National Park in her downtime, as do her girls and husband – her childhood sweetheart and best friend at school. “I just love what the Kruger does in terms of bringing different people together.”

In her spare time, she is a volunteer at a baby house, fulfilling her love for children and her belief that every child deserves to be taken care of and loved. Desiré is passionate about human capital and also supervises industrial psychology internships to ensure that she gives back to the human capital community.


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