Stay focused, says top entrepreneur

Celeste Le Roux encourages young women to followtheir dreams.

A former Retreat resident has been announced winner of this year’s Standard Bank Top Woman Entrepreneur Award.

Celeste Le Roux, 42, is the CEO of React24, a company which works in the construction and built environment industry.

She received her award on October 2 and said her recipe for success was to remain focused and driven, never give up and hard work, with lots of sacrifices.

“It’s been worth it,” said Ms Le Roux who now lives in Durbanville with husband and business partner, David, and 16-year-old son, Adam.

The Standard Bank Top Women Awards honour those whose unfailing vision and innovative leadership have positively impacted women in South Africa.

Ms Le Roux said: “I am so extremely proud to be a part of these presti- gious awards and the reality is that I could not achieve such success on my own.

“I would like to express how profoundly grateful I am to my amazing team at React24. Our success is because of their hard work, their daily excellence and their dedication to our purpose.”

Ms Le Roux’s determination to demolish the male-dominated narrative within the construction and built environment industry encouraged young women to learn trade skills so they can be financially stable and provide for their families.

“My message to other younger women would be to always believe in your abilities and never allow anyone to determine your life with their perspective. Also, surround yourself with positive people and those that you admire. If you want to see where your life will be in five years from now, listen to your words that you speak. Are you choosing to speak positivity or are you allowing a current circum- stance to speak negatively? Do not let anyone stop you from speaking your truth.”

Ms Le Roux’s hard work ethic comes from her mom, Mary Hendricks, who was a strong, independent woman.

“She was beautiful inside and out. Her life was by no means easy, but she was determined and hard-work- ing. Unfortunately, she lost her battle to cancer 19 years ago, but she fought courageously till the very end.”

Another woman Ms Le Roux admires, is Professor Shirley Zinn.

“Here was someone that looked like me and came from where I came from and showed me what a successful woman of colour looks like. “

Ms Le Roux was born and bred in Retreat.

“The Hendricks family comes from 10th Avenue, Retreat, and their property was called Yester. My family was always very involved in the community and the local Brethren church,” she said.

She is the only surviving member of her immediate family.

“I had a younger brother who tragically passed away seven years ago at the age of 30 due to a stroke. We were extremely close, and he was my confidante.”

Ms Le Roux grew up listening to family stories of her grandfather who was a proud, hard-working man who supported nine children.

“He was the first person in the entire street who had a motor vehicle. Although I was very young, I remember (the area) as being safe and it was a treat to walk to the corner café.

“My family was always laughing and cracking jokes. Every Friday we would get together at some aunt or uncle’s home for the adults to play dominoes – which was a serious sport. Looking back, a challenge would be no hot running water, but back then, that was just life.”

She said she still loves spending time with family and close friends, especially over a meal.

“My secret vice is still building Legos,” said Ms Le Roux.

Nothing stopped Ms Le Roux from following her dream. Her father headed up a home for street children in Lavender Hill while she was completing high school, at Muizenberg High.

“I had to work straight after high school to assist my family, so I never got the opportunity to study after school. Only now at age 42 I’m blessed to be doing a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Practice at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business – fulfilling a lifelong dream of attending UCT.”