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What is the true meaning of success?

by Marlene le Roux
My name is Marlene le Roux and I am the CEO of the Artscape Theatre Centre in Cape Town.

To me, success lies beyond the surface. If you look at a microphone – for example – how do you determine its success? You need to consider what really matters. Did it do what it was meant to do?

Did it help an artist express their true personality? Did it help captivate an audience and give them joy? Did it give someone a voice to make a difference in the world?

Now, if you want to measure the success of a person, normally you look at their career. Job title, net worth, overseas accolades. But there’s a lot more to it than that. During my time as a student at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, I could see that USB understood what true success means.

They cultivate a type of leadership that is about social impact. Leading by example. Giving back. Being accountable for everything you achieve.

I contracted polio when I was 3 months old. I grew up disabled, living in a poor farm community during the height of Apartheid – but when I was on stage performing and singing, I was free from my hardships. In those moments I discovered how I could move people. I discovered the power that the arts have in uplifting communities.

Show business is still business. If you want to be an artist, you need to be an entrepreneur. I gained many business skills from USB, but they also taught me about the responsibility I have to give back. With this in mind, I started the Audience Development and Education Department at Artscape.

Every time I see a young person perform and move an audience, I remember how important it is, not only to lead and succeed in your own career – but to be an ethical, responsible leader.

Useful resources:
Stellenbosch Business School
The internationally accredited Stellenbosch Business School offers MBA, Master’s, MPhil and PhD programmes as well as executive education programmes – all focused on the development of business leadership.
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