When Rui Lopes first met Matome Modiba he was struck by Modiba’s ambition, commitment, reliability and dedication to his work, and quickly recognised his potential. "His dedication, both as an employee and friend, has manifested through his willingness to learn and acquire much needed knowledge to help better himself," said Lopes. He decided to give Modiba a chance and provide him with the legal training he needed to join the team at Lopes Attorneys, first as a document controller and then as a legal secretary.
Lopes’ commitment to enhancing the livelihoods of those around him stems from a deep-rooted belief in equal opportunity and mutual respect for people, regardless of their position. "I would like to give everyone an equal opportunity to grow themselves and make their dreams become a reality," he explained. “When I was younger I wished that someone would’ve given me the working opportunity that I desired and an environment that allows unabated growth, so now I do for others what I would have wanted myself.”
Modiba, who hails from a small rural area in Limpopo, was both surprised and grateful for the opportunity Lopes gave him. "I felt as though I was dreaming in view of the fact that I had never seen myself in this position," he admitted. However, with Lopes’ guidance and support, Modiba found the training to be educational and inspiring. "Rui was the person that gave me the courage; he guided me, and I am here today because of him," Modiba said. “It was tough at first, with me suffering a lot from imposter syndrome, but Rui motivated and guided me and illustrated what the positions required of me and how to complete the tasks for this role.”
Over time, Modiba grew more comfortable and confident in his new position. He learned how to use various software programmes, manage documents, proofread and transcribe, and handle invoicing. "I can now do it confidently and passionately," he shared.
Modiba's journey is a testament to the transformative power of opportunity and mentorship. "From a dusty road in a rural area, I moved to Johannesburg working as a security guard... I hoped I could work at a law firm one day and then Rui called me," he said. "I am forever grateful for the opportunity that I have received."
Looking ahead, Modiba has set his sights on even bigger dreams: "I would like to one day study to become a lawyer... I believe that there is a possibility to achieve this goal of mine. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
As for Lopes, his philosophy remains unchanged: "Always equip a person so that they can leave, but create an environment that would make them stay." Through his commitment to providing opportunities and investing in the potential of his employees, Rui Lopes has not only changed one life but has also set an example for others to follow. In a world where equal opportunities can be scarce, it is stories like this that remind us of the power of mentorship, compassion, and belief in the potential of others.
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