Cindy Sampson, Finance & Marketing Director
BA (Wits), LLB (Wits), MBA (UCT)
After practicing for some years as an attorney, Cindybegan her experience of the energy sector as a corporate lawyer for Shell South Africa. The years in this role gave her a detailed knowledge of the oil industry both nationally and internationally, and allowed her to develop specializations in structured financing, property, franchising and environmental law.
Cindy desired to work in a more direct business role, and, after obtaining a further qualification in financial management, moved to Shell’s New Business Development department. Here her role was to look for business opportunities amongst new customers and in new markets where alternative energies such as solar, biomass and LPG could be used. Cindy’s introduction to rural electrification came through the Shell/ Eskom Solar project in rural Eastern Cape in South Africa. Another main focus during this time was the development of a new initiative for the mini-bus taxi industry. This included exploring smart card technologies for the mass of so-called “unbankable” South Africans, and other appropriate solutions for on the ground needs. A common theme in much of her work was the opportunity that corporate initiative gives to develop small business.
After completing an MBA at the University of Cape Town in 2000, Cindy went on exchange to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, USA. Here she was able to expand her interest in small business development. She worked with the Thomas C. Page Center for Entrepreneurship providing consulting services to small businesses, including working with a business incubator in the Cincinnati empowerment zone, and reviewing business plans for a Chicago based venture capital company. On returning to South Africa, Cindy put into practice the entrepreneurial imperative, and established her own business in gas and electricity consulting. The opportunity that arose shortly after this to form Parallax was an ideal way of combining her variety of experience with her interest in energy and environment.
Cindy has always been passionate about making things happen. Her work as a trustee of Shell’s Provident Fund, her membership of the paraffin safety association, PASASA, and her initiation of the UCT/GSB Annual Women in Business Conference, have all involved putting an idea into practice. This is what she continues to do at Parallax. Cindy’s role as Finance & Marketing Director combines her experience in finance and law, and enables her to implement the commercial techniques with which she has worked for many years. Her strengths are initiating ideas, designing the way forward, keeping an eye on the detail, and pursuing everything with passion.
Some of the projects that Cindy managed prior to joining Parallax include:
- South Africa: P N Energy Services / EDF – investigating the commercial viability of introducing new energy alternatives, including LPG and solar energy, into rural areas that are not part of the national electricity grid.
- UK/ South Africa: P N Energy Services – investigating financing for rural development by international funds available for supporting energy/environmental/development activities in Southern Africa.
- South Africa: P N Energy Services – developing a blueprint for an electricity distribution business in low income & rural areas that may be replicated so as to maximize empowerment & small business development opportunities.
- South Africa: Shell SA – implementing solar energy project for Shell/ESKOM joint venture as part of national non-grid electrification programme.
- South Africa: Shell SA (Pty) Ltd – investigating opportunities provided by the Department of Forestry’s “Working for Water” programme to transform alien vegetation into commercially viable biomass.
- South Africa: Shell SA – assisted with formation of PASASA &The Rose Foundation.
- Research Reports: “The effect of carbon emission reduction & carbon emission trading on the South African oil industry” & “Options for eco-tourism business in Southern Africa”