GARY BORUCHOWITZ discovered the rags to riches story of ANDY SCOTT, an abandoned child with polio, who refused to go away, climbing up the corporate ladder to become head of Nedbank Group Sponsorships.
Tell us a bit more about Andy Scott?
Born in South Africa but spent early life in Zambia and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) returning to SA in 1981. Contracted polio at age three months with total paralysis in legs and lower abdomen. Swam at the 1968 Paralympics in Tel Aviv becoming the youngest world record holder in Paralympic history. I am happily married to Eileen and have two daughters Sarah (23) and Claire (21).
What was your first job?
Junior cost clerk at the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Works (RISCO).
Tell us about your current job at Nedbank and what it entails?
Head of Group Sponsorships. Responsible for selected group sponsorships including The Nedbank Golf Challenge and other golf properties, Nedbank City Marathon and Matha Road Running Series, as well as various properties within the field of sport for athletes with disabilities. We have recently secured a five-year deal with the PSL for the Nedbank Cup. I also oversee sponsorships for several strategic market initiatives including the Business Women’s Association and the Cape Wine Makers Guild.
What work did you do with The Sports Trust?
I was the Chief Operating Officer. My role was to reposition The Sports Trust and attend to governance issues. It as a very fulfilling role helping and watching those less fortunate benefit through sport at grassroots level.
Did you ever struggle to find employment because you are disabled?
Only in the beginning. In fact my first job was the result of refusing to “go away”. I had to find work or go back under the wing of social welfare as I was an abandoned child at that time. Twelve interviews and camping on the steps of the personnel department of RISCO finally did the trick. After that, I simply never declared on my CV that I was disabled. I sold myself based on my ability as opposed to my disability.
Have you ever been prejudiced against in the workplace because you are disabled?
No, I wouldn’t ever accept that!
Do people interact with you differently in the workplace because you are disabled?
I hope not. I am capable, confident and independent and very streetwise, I don’t think those who know me really care about my disability or see it. I certainly don’t!
You have been the leading campaigner for the recognition of disabled sport in South Africa. Tell us more about this?
I had to change many corporate, media and public mindsets to recognise the achievements of disabled athletes and see their abilities and talents. I tried converting the corporates’ thinking in terms of donations versus sponsorships, making them understand that these were marketable athletes, great role models who despite their lot in life, had excelled. I have raised in excess of R150-million in sponsorships for sport for the disabled.
Have you achieved all that you set out to achieve with Paralympic sport in South
Not really. I have raised the sponsorship for the Beijing 2008 campaign but with the new structures and my career, I will probably move on after the Paralympics. I also do the marketing for Wheelchair Basketball SA where we have had huge success. I will continue in that role as well as commentating on the Supersport Series.
A message for the disabled who think they can’t find a job at a corporate company or cannot climb the corporate ladder because they have a disability?
It’s tough out there in that a lot of lip service is paid to disabled people. You simply have to set realistic goals, never be compromised and never take no for an answer. How bad do you want it and what are you prepared to do to get it are the ingredients. Don’t demand your rights, earn your stripes!
A message for the able-bodied corporates who think the disabled are incapable of performing a job as well as the able-bodied? Every able-bodied person is potentially a disabled person! It can happen to anyone at anytime and surely this does not mean condemnation to the scrap heap. Every disabled person deserves a chance and no matter how big or small the task, they generally turn up trumps.
This article originally featured in Estate Magazine and is reproduced here with permission.