Dexter has been working with Capitalflow since 2018. He joined Capitalflow as Business Support Executive and has recently taken up the position of Lending Executive in the Property Team. Originally hailing from Zimbabwe, Dexter chats to us about his fascinating journey across the continents!
Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born on a farm in Zimbabwe and spent the majority of my childhood there up until around 2002/3 when most white farmers where evicted from their farms. The school I went to lost 10-15 children out of every grade around that time and they all left for South Africa or Australia, so we left our school and our home and emigrated to South Africa. My dad had two farms and literally we got a knock at the door one night and were told we had 24 hours to leave and it was a knock on the door that you do not ignore. We basically packed up our belongings and moved to South Africa.
Not long after the move, my parents split up, my dad left and went to Capetown where he set up a business and in the meantime, my mom met an Irish man, fell in love, and they opened up an agri-processing business in Port Alfred exporting to Europe on the manufacturing side.
When did you arrive in Ireland?
My step-father was keen to return to Ireland where he felt there was real opportunity at that time, 2005, when the economy was booming. So, the family emigrated to Ireland in 2005. Honestly, it was a real shock to the system. Even though we had previously made the move to South Africa, it was a very similar culture to Zimbabwe. Whereas when we arrived in Ireland, I knew absolutely nothing about Ireland, other than Brian O’Driscoll from the Lions Tour and that it was green. We arrived so ill-prepared. Coming from Africa, we had no winter clothes and the climate was a completed shock to the system. I had never seen it rain all day. I remember my mom taking us to Dunnes to buy jeans and shoes, things we never wore or needed in Zimbabwe! After a short stay in Dublin with my step-grandparents, my parents bought a house in Nenagh.
I was about 12 at this stage, and we started in Burgess National School in Nenagh. The school was so small that 4th, 5th and 6th class were all in one room. Coming from a large boarding school, this was bizarre for myself and my siblings. I had never attended day school before. In fairness, the rural area meant that once the town recovered from the novelty of the new African family, we did integrate relatively quickly. As an avid rugby and cricket player, I had to become accustomed to the hurling posts and my cricket playing days were numbered.
I graduated from school in 2012 and my stepfather got a job in Canada so we moved there but missed college in Canada so worked in a gym called Good Life for a year. I saw my future in Canada, but the contract ended and we moved back to Dublin.
Tell us about your early career
I started working in a small office doing accounts, revenue returns and general administration for a small business in Dublin. Looking back, it gave me great perspective on the constant struggle for cashflow in small businesses, and that insight has stood to me in my role today.
At this stage, I also started to study a degree in Finance at night,
My next role was in one of the Pillar Banks in the area of restructuring, overall it was a good learning experience but morale internally was quite low and the role was prescriptive with little room for manoeuvre. I saw the job advertisement for Capitaflow and was quick to apply.
Tell us about your role in Capitalflow
I started off as a support for the Sales Directors and Relationship Managers who are out on the road, and I help them get their credit approvals and deals over the line. As the team has grown and gotten busier and busier, I was keen to expand my experience, and when a role became available within the Property Finance Team I jumped at the opportunity. I am now working as a Lending Executive on the Property Finance team which I am thoroughly enjoying. I assist the Sales Directors in getting their deals finalised and over the line quickly. We communicate a lot with the customers, and we manage every deal until it closes; This ensures there are no time delays and everyone knows where the deal is at, so no surprises. This communication part is the part of the role I really enjoy and think it’s key to our success.
What’s next for you?
Life is busy – I am now in the final year of my degree and thankfully Capitalflow is very accommodating around my studies. On the work side, I’m keen to learn as much as I can and there’s certainly plenty to learn here. Capitalflow is going from strength to strength which means there is ample opportunity to upskill and to be part of the growth.
I am still big into the gym, although I’m not getting there quite as much as I’d like with the studying. But it’s a good destresser and when I do go it’s always time well-spent.
It saddens me greatly to say it, but I am the only South African rugby supporter in my family here, my mother and siblings are all now Irish supporters The World Cup should be interesting.