Lerato Thahane’s biggest surprise was discovering that someone from a disadvantaged background could achieve some of the milestones that she has. While on secondment to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a law firm in Munich, she was the lead associate on one of Europe’s biggest merger and acquisition deals. In order to achieve this, she learned to speak German and integrate herself into a new legal ecosystem. When asked why she pursues excellence, Thahane says that she wants to be an exemplary role model for other young lawyers who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. To this end, she founded the student alumni network board of the Student Sponsorship Programme, a private scholarship fund that helps gifted young South Africans access the best schools in the country. She contributes to the fund financially and by mentoring a young dux scholar, who she says “radiates with potential to do great things in medicine in the future”.
Greatness is inside of you — others may nurture your greatness, but they must work with something that is already there.