Get to know our Non-Executive Director, international commercial lawyer, Stephanie McDonald
Here at ASBN, we want our members and wider network to get to know our board of advisors just as well as you know our core team. We recently interviewed our Non-Executive Director and lead advisor to ASBN, international commercial lawyer, Stephanie McDonald.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself Stephanie:
I am a Cape Town based commercial lawyer, mother of two young kids, and ASBN’s non-exec director. Born and educated in Glasgow (graduate of University of Glasgow), I built my career in London before moving to South Africa in 2015. I am a lover of swimming, sailing, golf and living one of the world’s best wine producing regions, I am a lover of the local wine too!
2. What is your skill set and what industries do you focus on?
I provide legal advice to developers, contractors, investors and funders involved in construction, infrastructure and technology projects across Africa and Europe. This means I spend a lot of time drafting and negotiating agreements, hammering out deals, and making sure that my clients enter into contracts they are comfortable with.
I also help with the implementation of projects, advising on claims, and problem solving to minimise disputes. In terms of sector focus, I have been particularly busy with solar, wind, hydro and LNG projects in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya and Zimbabwe over the last few years, but my wider experience spans various other industries including transport, ports, shipping, waste to energy, healthcare and technology outsourcing.
3. What’s your experience living and working in Africa?
There is never a dull day! There’s so much opportunity, but you need to have the stomach for unpredictability, and be ultra-creative if you want to be successful. Many of the rules I learnt in business in the UK do not apply in the same way here, or simply, do not apply at all. You need to re-learn things and keep an open mind, always. I am fortunate to be involved in delivering interesting and exciting projects in arguably the most challenging region of the world to achieve such things.
5. What value have you seen Africa Scotland Business Network bring to the world?
ASBN is an unlikely newcomer to the world of international business networks. Originally set up to target opportunities for trade and business growth between Scotland and African markets, it has become so much more than this in a very short period of time.
The network has attracted interest and support from virtually all corners of the globe, from large corporates, entrepreneurs, academic institutions and not for profits, looking for something different. I think the Scottish influence does play a key role in this. Scottish businesses have a world-renowned reputation for quality products and services and spotting and maximising opportunities beyond their own borders. Scots know how to nurture long term relationships based on openness, trust, mutual respect (and a bit of humour!) along the way. This is the type culture and approach which is thriving at ASBN, as demonstrated every day by its board, its operational team and its members. I am so proud to play a part in that.