Dina Soukop of Soukop Property Group was recently named the Business Person of the Year at the 16th annual FNB Business Awards. The initiative, run by FNB and the Italian-South Africa Chamber of Trade and Industries, recognises and rewards those who have contributed to economic growth through their individual commercial achievements.

Soukop has been involved in the real estate industry for the past 38 years, starting as a conveyancer before becoming an agent. “My husband and I launched the Soukop Property Group in 2007. With hindsight, it wasn’t the best time to open a new agency – the subsequent recession hit us hard. We had also bought a building in Florida Road, which burnt down in 2009, and we had to start all over again. My staff were incredibly loyal and stayed with me, something for which I will be forever grateful because no one can achieve success without a good team.”

The secret to Soukop’s success? “I believe hard work and perseverance are what pay off. I’ve taken all the knocks and am still here today, stronger than ever. There were many times I nearly gave up because in the real estate business you are literally unemployed every day and it is up to you to make sure that you give the best – and honest – service to your clients to ensure they want to employ you.”