11 August 2023 

Written by Milpark Communications

Samantha Pinn, 41, tells a story of how she got her current position as a human resources business partner. A few years ago, she asked to apply for a position for which a colleague had been shortlisted. From her own recruiting experience, she knew that, on paper, her colleague was a stronger candidate. But that didn’t stop her. Although not required, she prepared a killer pitch with a PowerPoint depicting her action plan and justifying why she was the best candidate. She even handed out printouts for everyone on the panel. She got the job. 

“Ultimately, it was my never-say-die attitude that convinced them I was the right person for the job,” says Samantha, whose attributes her determination to succeed to her upbringing on the Cape Flats. She witnessed the people around her pushing to get ahead – how her father, who had dropped out of high school, completed his schooling as an adult, working and juggling studies. She watched her mother deal with being a victim of violence, wresting back control of her life – a great source of inspiration for her, which has carried on to her own two sons as well. 

After school, there were no financial means for Samantha to study further, so she applied for a bursary to do a legal secretarial course and after working in recruitment and human resources, resolved to continue her studies. She was devastated to learn that her low marks for mathematics in matric (she barely passed lower grade math with 40%) made her ineligible for a bridging course at one institution. But Milpark accepted her and provided her a bridging opportunity that she successfully completed. She then enrolled for a BCom in Human Resources and later a Postgraduate Diploma in Accounting (PGDip), from which she graduated cum laude. Currently, she’s doing her master’s in business administration (MBA), also through Milpark Education.  

“I never used to be that comfortable with numbers, but Milpark changed my mindset. They made me look differently at accounting,” recalls Samantha, reflecting on how lecturers used different approaches and more engaging teaching styles to explain concepts. In her MBA studies today, she has found the leadership development modules especially helpful – even life changing. 

“I truly believe that you are never too old to learn, and that learning should be a lifelong journey – not a destination,” says Samantha. She recalls having said that she would not study further after her PGDip  and how one of the lecturers at Milpark said to her “you are done for now” which was so true because it’s important to have a work/life balance and make time for everything else in your life.  

It was not all smooth sailing and Samantha reflects often on the moments when she wanted to give up. But with the right support structures in place and the crucial backing of her husband, she was able to realise her goal and receive her qualification. “Having walked on the Milpark stage this year to obtain my PGDip cum laude, I can honestly say it was worth every trial and tribulation.”