Staff Spotlight: John Smale, Operations and Special Projects Manager

Meet our Operations and Special Projects Manager, John Smale, born and based in South Africa, and raised in Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland). John’s skills and interests are incredibly varied, and he places great value on his search for meaning and impact in all he does – including the way in which he approaches his role at Partner Africa.

Fueled by the determination to make a meaningful contribution to Africa and the world, John uses his love for data, as well as his mediation, optimisation, finance, and analytical skills, to help build the Partner Africa business and its impact.

John’s role at Partner Africa is unique. It requires a birds-eye view of the Partner Africa business, as well as constantly being able to zoom in on the finer details of each process and department. At the core, John’s role is about improving operational procedures within the company to make it more efficient and effective. He is also responsible for conducting internal reporting and the analysis of efficiencies and projects, as well as performing data analysis for Advisory work.

In addition to his day-to-day duties, John manages special projects that don’t fit into the main revenue streams of the business. These projects require him to have his due diligence hat on at all times, while working closely with our Executive Director to prepare important documents, reports, and minutes for key stakeholders.

John enjoys reporting, data analysis, and searching for information that isn’t immediately obvious. His role allows him to do all of that in many different ways, across various projects and clients – all while learning new things along the way. His role requires much grit and tenacity, and while there certainly are overwhelming moments, he loves that he gets to see the business from many different angles.

John finds his work at Partner Africa incredibly fulfilling because it suits his personality and preferred workstyle, and in a significant way, offers him the opportunity to work towards a greater cause. Even as a student, John always had the goal of working for an NGO once he had earned his qualification. Today, he’s proud to be part of a company that actively works to improve the lives of others.

John has a special personal interest in fintech, and in particular, its intersection with agriculture. African-born himself, John has massive confidence in the African continent and the potential that lies within its people – a key factor in his commitment to championing responsible business at Partner Africa.

Get in touch with John at or via Linkedin

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Championing responsible business in Africa