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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Sylvia Gruber

Sylvia Gruber - Founder of M4C

sylvia gruberI am the Founder of M4C, a company based in Cape Town providing outsourced marketing strategy and execution services and marketing resources with a focus on B2B clients. I also recently invested in SA’s largest online forum around pregnancy and parenting called moomie.co.za. Before starting M4C I founded rubybox.co.za in 2011 (I exited in July 2015), which has become SA's largest online beauty community focusing on providing beauty brands with targeted trial/sampling initiatives coupled with digital marketing support. I am originally from Austria, and was lucky to live in several other places before moving to Cape Town in 2009 which I fell in love with and am not planning to leave anytime soon.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

I grew up in a small town in Austria. I moved to Vienna (capital of Austria) to study International Business Administration and was lucky to study nearly half of my studies abroad (next to Austria I also studied in France, Hungary and Chile) with different study programs as well as internships. I ended my studies with a Masters and went to work for Procter & Gamble in Brand Management in Frankfurt, Germany. After doing my time in corporate and learning a lot (I can really recommend spending some years in Corporate before starting or working for a start-up) I moved to South Africa for personal reasons and got stuck as mentioned earlier J

Cape Town is a very different environment to Frankfurt where I was before and I felt, relatively quickly after moving here, to make a success (well, what I consider successful) I should start my own venture and create a business and job opportunities.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Nianell

Nianell - World Class Platinum-Selling Artist, Author & Motivational Speaker

10376721 876401709051857 5283392595717759441 nDiverse Creative Entrepreneur Nianell is a platinum-seller vocal gymnast, who dazzles with ease through four octaves. She includes elements of Folk, Pop, R&B, Country, Classic and Celtic music in her song-writing, and accompanies herself on piano and acoustic guitar. Vocally she creates her own musical language, where words are sometimes unnecessary, allowing every soul to interpret the message for themselves. She is a South African and international success story; with many of her songs playlisted on radio stations worldwide. She is a gifted singer, a talented musician and songwriter, as well as an author and now also sharing her message as an inspirational keynote speaker. “Awareness is the birth of new beginnings, the beginning of a life worth living, the beginning of actually being alive,” she explains.

Nianell – The Musician
Nianell has been a trailblazer for female singer-songwriters in South Africa ever since the release of her widely acclaimed debut-album, Who Painted the Moon? (2001.) The title track swept listeners across the country away and Nianell quickly became a household name. Nianell also achieved international success with this song when Hayley Westenra did a cover version of it and sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Back on home soil, Nianell has delivered consistently beautiful, inspirational and hugely successful albums, including the lustrous double SAMA-winning, Angel Tongue (2004), Life’s Gift (2006); I Know I’m Lucky (2008) the sprawling Sand & Water (2010); My Heart (2012). Add to this her compilation albums with the operatic quartet, Romanz (‘n Duisend Drome – A Thousand Dreams; 2011); the beloved South African artist, Dozi (It Takes Two (2009) and You’re the One that I Want – Take 2 (2012); and it soon becomes clear that Nianell is one of the busiest South African artists – managing effortlessly to remain critically relevant and commercially successful.

In 2011, seven of Nianell’s greatest hits were repackaged for American audiences on Who Painted the Moon – U.S. Compilation. This compilation was met with resounding critical success, much like Sand & Water – that also garnered critical acclaim. The publication, Billboard Discoveries sums it up best: “The collection’s beautiful melodies and inspiring instrumentation are surpassed only by the vocalist’s angelic cum saucy execution. Simply, every song is an emotional triumph: affecting, inspiring and blissful. No doubt, Nianell is a world-class performer, and Sand & Water is a consummate CD on all accounts. Connoisseurs of finely crafted pop melodies and a vocalist free of gimmicks—simply loaded with natural talent—are destined to discover their new favourite singer” In September 2014, Nianell releases her most introspective and soul-bearing album to date, Just Be – the album sees the artist coming full circle as she returns to the sound of her first two albums with a tempered wisdom and more than a decade of life experience poured into each track.

Nianell – The Author
Apart from her hugely successful music career, Nianell is also an accomplished author. Her debut book, Knowing Who I Am is published internationally by Hay House Publishing, and continues to fly of the shelves. The Afrikaans version Om Te Weet Wie Ek Is was a South African bestseller and similarly continues to sell like hotcakes. Nianell is currently putting the finishing touches on her follow-up to this message of inspiration and learning to love oneself. Nianell – The Motivational Speaker In line with the success of her books, Nianell has created an extraordinary keynote speech entitled Knowing Who I Am that combines the spirit of her wisdom with the beauty of her voice. This hour-long presentation includes an equal combination of inspirational messages with many of her well known songs such as Life’s Gift’, I Hold the Sun, Who Painted the Moon and her song Finally, which won first prize in the 16th annual USA Songwriting Competition for best inspirational song.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Melinda Ferguson

Melinda Ferguson: Author, Motivational Speaker, Recovery Coach and Book Publisher

Melinda Ferguson Xtraordinary Woman of the MonthAward-winning author and journo, Melinda Ferguson, burst onto the local literary scene with her chart busting, hard-hitting memoir, Smacked. A harrowing True Story of Addiction to Survival in 2010.

Her triumphant journey from being a homeless heroin and crack head to success, captured the nation. Subsequently, she became an award winning writer and Features Editor for True Love Magazine between 2005-2014, where her articles inspired and titillated a huge and diverse South African readership.

She has received numerous awards in her career including Best Features and Profile writer. Sought after on the corporate inspirational speaking scene her clients have included ABSA, NEDBANK and Discovery.

In 2010 in her trademark no-holds barred style, she penned bestseller, Hooked, and has recently launched the much awaited final part of her memoir trilogy, Crashed: How Trashing A Ferrari Saved my Life.

In 2012 she launched her publishing imprint MFBOOKS JOBURG, an imprint of Jacana and has published 14 titles to date including bestsellers Drug Muled, The Goddess Bootcamp, Rape: A South Africa Nightmare and Oscar: An Accident Waiting to Happen, which she also penned.

Today she freelances as a publisher and a motoring journalist for City Press and has her own radio show, The Joy Ride on Kaya FM. She is currently on a national media drive to launch her latest title, Crashed: How Trashing a Ferrari Saved my Life.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

I believe that we are constantly changing as human beings. Sometimes failing, sometimes conquering but always moving forward. Once I stopped my path of self-destruction and got clean and sober, I found I could really give myself a chance to start living. I had spent many years chasing a high or trying to change my feelings and emotions through substances. Once I gave myself a chance to actually wake up each day and face life, the Universe swooped in to help and guide me on my path, to discover the life I was meant to lead. So what I am really saying is that once I came clean with myself and got honest with what I had done and become, I made space for opportunity to come knocking. Addiction is like a huge dark hole that can never be filled in the quest for more, more, more. Abundance is a mind-set and through the practice of gratitude for even the smallest of things, untold rewards and blessings can be unleashed.

Please tell us a little more about your Book Series and how it came about. 

I wrote my first memoir Smacked in 2005 when I was 5 years clean and at a very low time in my life. Although I had managed to drag myself into recovery, much of my life was still in great disarray. The book on my harrowing journey into heroin and crack addiction and subsequent claw back to the land of living and sobriety, truly was a life line. It opened many doors for me and the thousands of addicts who have read the book and been inspired into recovery. My second book Hooked, came out in 2010. It was a book about all the other addictions we pick up while trying to stay clean and sober, mainly about addiction to the internet and relationships. My third book, Crashed, How Trashing a Ferrari Saved my Life, has just been released. It deals with a monumentally expensive car accident and how I am forced to deal with the fallout of an accident, the end of a 9 year relationship, after which I booked myself into a clinic. I walked out with a bipolar 2 diagnosis and a bag full of meds. In Crashed, I am forced to relook at everything in my world and life: the pharma whore industry, rampant materialism and the trials of broken heart and dreams. It really culminates in the steps I took to put together the broken pieces. It ends with a serendipitous event that leads me to discover love.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Desere Orrill

Deseré Orrill: Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer - Ole! Media Group

Desere OrrillDeseré Orrill is the Co-Founder and CMO of the Ole! Media Group, the largest and fastest growing independent digital media group in South Africa. She is also a wife, mother of three teenagers, and a daughter, sister, cousin and aunt to an extended family circle of nearly 300 people, most of whom she knows personally.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

I am South African to the core, but have also lived, worked and travelled abroad quite extensively. I left SA in 1991 with a suitcase and a guitar. I returned in 2003 with three children, a husband, a hotel and a mortgage, but luckily I still had my guitar! I did a Bachelor’s in languages and law followed by a postgrad marketing degree, which helped me start my career in international marketing. After working for a travel company for a few years in SA, I was offered a job in Frankfurt at an international hotel chain. I lived in Europe for 12 years, progressing both professionally and personally. I met my husband there, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Please tell us a little more about Ole! Media Group and how it came about. 

I co-founded a mobile marketing agency called MobiMedia in 2009. From this relatively small beginning, the Ole! Media Group was born. Within two years the agency had grown substantially and was serving clients in the brand and media world. It was one of our media clients, TEAMtalk media, which brought us the opportunity for quick expansion. The management of TEAMtalk media led a buy out from parent company BSkyB in 2011: within a relatively short period thereafter we bought the company and the seeds of the Ole! Media Group were sown. Today the group comprises four companies, and employees 120 people, with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Leeds and London, with an impressive client list. Right place, right time, the right attitude, and the right people – we feel proud of our team and what we have accomplished together, in building what is arguably South Africa’s largest and fastest growing independent digital media company today.

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that. 

We own and publish a network of online sporting sites which we manage under the Planet Publishing label. These sites have a global reach of about 6 million unique users per month, with a strong UK footprint. Our AddSuite division has recently been appointed a Google Certified Publishing Partner agency, one of only 29 in the world and 2 in Africa. Through our content hub, comprising TEAMtalk media and MobiMedia, we provide syndicated and custom content to a wide range of global and African publishers and mobile network operators, and collaborate with an independent publishers association to assist them in making their stories more accessible through digital channels. We have also established the Ole! Digital Media Academy, which works with the Western Cape government to provide hands-on training to people interested in making a career in the world of digital publishing. Our full-service digital agency, HoneyKome, offers brands and media clients a full range of digital services from design and development, through strategy, content, video production, advertising and social media campaigns with touchpoints in both the virtual and the real worlds.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Moira Mirtle

Moira Mirtle - Founder of Meaningful Minutes

Photo by Precision Photography BallitoMoira Mirtle is owner of Meaningful Minutes which is an events company with a difference. After 30 years of outreach, coupled with a career in a variety of fields, Moira says the 2 outstanding positions which left a lasting impact on her life were community work and Marketing. This was highlighted when she made the finals of Mrs South Africa in 2005 and was privileged enough to do further community work with the Hospice.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

I arrived in South Africa 12 years ago with a suitcase and a positive approach for a wonderful future for our family. I am a wife to an amazing husband …Heath and Mother of 2 daughters…Tyler and Storm. Family is extremely important to me and they are the apple of my eye and always strive for their goals and passions but enjoy the experience. We laugh, love and share our lives as a very close family. My husband is my rock and I do lean on him as he is a strong and moral man! My older daughter Tyler is studying Law and my younger one Storm is a multi-talented young lady in her last year of school, with a dream and a plan to be in the movie industry. They have both been successful in all their achievements throughout school years and into their Tertiary path. I have been honoured to have held their hand and walked that path by their side – and not miss out on any moments and all memories. They both help me with my business when they are available and I have shown them that an idea can become a reality. I love people and am definitely a community orientated person.

Please tell us a little more about Meaningful Minutes and how it came about. 

When my daughter was in matric I overheard some of her friends talking about the difficulties of completing their community service hours. There were many concerns and challenges like where, and how and there were safety issues surrounding it. Some of them had done hours and struggled to get their official documents. As my heart felt the need for this type of involvement as a life lesson, I could also see that both the charities and the students were unsure of the way forward. There are always so many variables involved so I found a satisfactory outcome to all the encounters and a win-win situation for everyone. I canvased firstly with all the surrounding schools and I was very well received.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Dawn Jorgensen

Dawn Jorgensen - Travel Writer and Earth Advocate

Dawn Jorgensen Xtraordinary Woman of the MonthWith a career in tourism, I sold my bespoke tour operator company and immersed myself into the world of travel writing with the establishment of my blog, The Incidental Tourist, in 2010. A self proclaimed Earth Advocate and conscious traveller with a deep love for Africa, it’s people and the environment, it is here that I share my stories and photographs, reviews and discoveries from international and local travels, as well as details of conservation campaigns that I support. From gorilla trekking in Uganda, tree planting in Zambia, turtle rescue in Kenya and crampon hiking in Patagonia, I like to believe I’m just getting started. My focus remains firmly on eco-tourism and the belief that we are all responsible for this beautiful world’s protection and owe our respect to the different cultures, people and places we visit.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

Born and raised in the Free State, I spend four years in Israel after travelling there on a student exchange program. Eventually making my way to the Cape, which has been my home since 1996. With a background in event management working for Anglo and Sun International, I moved into the wedding and hospitality arena before starting my own tour operating business in 2000. A ten year period had me planning dream holidays for high end clients from all over the world, offering me the opportunity to showcase the best of what Southern and East Africa has to offer.

Fuelling my love for travel as I got to explore many of the destinations myself. In 2010 I sold my company and took to blogging and writing full time, spending everything I could on travel experiences. By then my children had left home to pursue exciting young lives and I had the freedom and flexibility to do this. The journey into this new career has been rewarding and has kindled my personal evolution into conscious and eco-tourism, making conservation orientated work an essential part of my life.

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that. 

In the past years I have partnered with numerous conservation projects as a media partner. One of them being Greenpop.org who are committed to planting trees at numerous festivals, as well as on plant days in the Cape throughout the year. I travelled with them to Zambia and have joined them on numerous days working with children and communities creating food forests and educating in the significance of trees to our environment. There’s something very tangible about getting your hands dirty and planting a tree, it moved me. (http://www.greenpop.org).

Another is the Local Ocean Watch and Turtle Watch in Watamu on Kenya’ East Coast. An incredible project that is not only rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing endangered turtles on a daily basis, but are also involved in the preservation of the mangrove forest, anti-poaching missions, educating communities and offering guidance in the establishment of non-ocean related industry in this area. I worked with them in August and have come away completely humbled and encouraged by the people involved; also all that Kenya has on offer. Best part is that they take eco-visitors and anybody can spend a week or more there learning, supporting and helping out. (http://www.watamuturtles.com)

Linked to the ocean, I joined forces with the 2 Oceans Aquarium and the Penguin Promises campaign, walking 135km from Gansbaai to Simon's Town, creating awareness about the plight of the African Penguin. Also encouraging people to make promises to the environment along the way. Such as recycle, eat less meat, say no to bottled water and plastic bags, etc. A wonderful experience, even though my feet took a while to forgive me … (http://www.penguinpromises.com)


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Lorraine Steyn

Lorraine Steyn - Founder of Khanyisa Real Systems & Serial Entrepreneur

Lorraine Steyn Xtraordinary Woman of the Month OctoberLorraine Steyn founded Khanyisa Real Systems (KRS) in 1987, at the age of 24. She has continued to grow KRS since then, and now has over 50 technical staff in Cape Town and Gauteng. Lorraine was the first woman outside of America to be a Delphi Certified Developer, and has continued to stay abreast of new technology even as the business grew.

She completed a Bachelors of Business Administration from Unisa just before her 50th birthday, part of her belief that constant learning is an important aspect of life. KRS runs a self-funded internship for 12 developers each year. Lorraine believes that software companies need to help to build the skills pool in the Western Cape, and actively support our youth in bridging university or college education and the needs of the business world.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

I started KRS when I was 24, and we’re still going strong! KRS has approximately 60 developers, with offices in Cape Town and Pretoria. It’s been an interesting journey in terms of technology and people. The technology shifts have been huge, but also very stimulating. We have a new mobile App in the consumer space, promoting activities for children, that’s a completely new direction for us. Our people are the core of the business, and I’ve seen many changes in expectations over the last 28 years, as the effect of a very young, generation Y workforce keeps us on our toes.  I’m also a mother to a very strong willed 12-year old. Life is fun!

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that. 

We work on a wide range of projects. We have a well-established gym club system, in use at over 80 clubs in Africa, plus an extensive hospitality solution, particularly aimed at Game Parks. Then there’s our new mobile and web application “I’m Bored” aimed at families with kids. “I’m Bored” has grown rapidly since inception, and we have around 60,000 registered users between the 3 main cities that we cover: Joburg, Cape Town and Durban.

I love the digital opportunities of mobile and web. KRS specializes in Single-Page web applications, which give a great user experience. We’ve also integrated all our “Im Bored” content with Facebook, Twitter and Wordpress, so we’ve accumulated a pretty full set of social media experience.

What is it that you are passionate about?

I’m passionate about utilizing technology to make life better. I love the way social media is transforming our lives, bringing content to your mobile device when and where you want it.

I’m also passionate about seeing more women in tech, particularly software development. We run an annual internship for new graduates to enter the world of software development, and we’re always looking for women graduates alongside the male graduates. We get over 400 applications for the 12 internship places on offer, and it’s our contribution to growing the pool of development resources in the Cape.


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Nicky Abdinor

Clinical Psychologist & Speaker 

Nicky Abdinor

I am a Clinical Psychologist and Inspirational Keynote Speaker. I founded a non-profit organisation (NPO) called Nicky’s Drive that funds car adaptations for people with disabilities to keep them mobile and independent. I was born without arms and shortened legs and I drive a specially adapted car – I take hands-free to a whole new level!  

Please tell us a little more about your dream and Nicky's Drive.

I was fortunate to have a modified vehicle in the UK donated to me 13 years ago. The freedom and independence as a result of being able to drive was exhilarating! The modifications for me to drive are still not available in South Africa (although they have been available in the UK for over 25 years). My mobility and independence is not something I am willing to give up! I was inspired to start an organisation to plan for my future and help other people with disabilities afford the costly adaptations.

What was your inspiration behind this dream?

I was fortunate to have a modified vehicle in the UK donated to me 10 years ago. The freedom and independence as a result of being able to drive was exhilarating! The modifications for me to drive are still not available in South Africa (although they have been available in the UK for over 20 years). My mobility and independence is not something I am willing to give up! I was inspired to start an organisation to plan for my future and help people with disabilities afford the costly adaptations.

Who is your inspiration and why?

I admire my parents who believed in my abilities, rather than my disability! While they were not prepared for my physical limitations (there were no scans in those days!) they endeavored to treat me just the same as my able-bodied siblings. I was included in everything and was given the opportunity to lead a “normal” life. 

What is/was the biggest adversity you have faced and how did you overcome it?

One of the biggest challenges was attending my first year at Stellenbosch University. I lived in a girl’s residence and had to work out ways to be independent when no family would be around to assist me. Being independent was all about being creative and having a problem-solving perspective on activities of daily living. I struggled with the walking distances on campus and had to rely on friends and fellow students to take me to classes. What was supposed to be my most exciting year turned out to be very frustrating! In my second year, I managed to raise funds for a motorised wheelchair. The freedom and independence was incredible!  

What has been your obstacles?

Having a physical disability means that you need to be outspoken, to let people know that you are capable – that it’s only a physical limitation, not a mental limitation! 


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - PJ Powers

PJ Powers - Singer, Songwriter & Author

PJ Powers Xtraordinary Woman of The MonthVoted one of the top ten people brands in South Africa in 2011, PJ Powers is an icon of the people of South Africa. Famous since the eighties when she fronted the band “Hotline”, the largest selling band in South Africa at that time, this success continued into her solo career. What has enabled her to sustain success in this pressurized industry? Her music has a style and a universal appeal and authenticity. She is a leader not a follower in all that she does.

Her courageous stance against the apartheid Government led to her being banned in the late 80’s, entrenching her status even more throughout Africa. In the newly free and democratic South Africa, it was Nelson Mandela himself who asked PJ to perform at the historically important event of the 1995 Rugby World Cup where she sang the “World in Union” with Grammy award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 2009, PJ’s rendition of this song, was featured in the Academy Award nominated film, “Invictus”.

PJ has recently released her new album, “Destiny”, an album she feels is reflective of her life. Authentic, strong, with beautifully written songs, she tells her story in an honest and compelling way, once again, flouting the rules. When asked recently in an interview who was her target market, her reply was “anyone who has a story to tell, and who can relate to mine” But, perhaps the greatest highlight of her life was receiving a letter thanking her for her contribution to the country from Nelson Mandela when he was in prison, still one of her most treasured possessions.

List of exceptional milestones: 1. 1987 received a letter from Nelson Mandela in prison thanking her for what she was doing for the country 2. 2000 Nelson Mandela presented PJ Powers with a commemorative limited edition gold coin 3. Appointed a South African Tourism Ambassador 4. June 2003 the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation honoured her and singer Sibongile Khumalo with their prestigious annual award, promoting reconciliation by "singing people together" 5. September 2003 food chain Pick 'n Pay nominated her as one of their "Stars of Charity" for having "made a difference in uplifting the youth of South Africa" 6. In 2004 she was voted as one of the Top 100 Great South Africans. 7. Won the Sarie Awards’ for best female artist 7 times consecutively 8. Nominated for a Pick n Pay Children’s Choice award 9. In 1995, her recording of the Rugby World Cup official song featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo, "World in Union", reached no. 47 on the UK Singles Chart, She performed the song live at the opening of the 1995 Rugby World Cup in Cape Town for a worldwide television audience. 10. PJ has shared the stage with Eric Clapton, Joan Armatrading, Hugh Masekela, Divine Divas, Lord Richard Attenborough, Richard E. Grant, Sibongile Khumalo, Janet Suzman and other prestigious names. 11. PJ has sung for Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom, King Juan Carlos of Spain and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. 12. She sang at the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela 13. She collaborated with Vicky Sampson, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and M'du Masilela for the music video flighted at the United Nations Assembly in Washington, D.C. and in Greece. 14. PJ also wrote an 85th birthday song for Mandela, which she sang for him and guests including Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey at his party in 2003. 15. PJ Powers has been extensively involved with the Reach For a Dream Foundation, as well as the Hamlet Foundation. 16. She was commissioned by the Presidency to write and perform a song for the Children's Rights Commission – “Right to Learn” 17. 10 gold discs 18. 7 platinum discs 19. Top 10 People brands in SA 20. Most outstanding South African Award 21. 2013 Living Legend Award 22. Her Memoir, “Here I Am” published by Penguin books, released in August 2014. 23. Nominated for Best Female Performance in a Musical – Naledi Awards 2015

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that. 

I am re-recording some of my old favourites with a contemporary spin, creating amazing collaborations with top SA and African artists. I am touring internationally in the US and Australia and New Zealand. I have started an entire new career as a speaker telling the story behind my best selling book…. I am writing new songs, inspired every day by my life and my country. I have developed another theatre show called “Driving a Pantechnicon Through the Revolution” - a musical story of the vibrant 80’s in South Africa, written with Marianne Thamm.  


Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Koo Govender

Koo Govender - CEO of VWV Group

Koo Govender Xtraordinary Woman of The MonthKoo Govender is the first female CEO of global brand experience agency, VWV Group. VWV is a global brand experience agency, which specialises in creating and igniting experiences that change perceptions and inspire action. They were the company behind the 2010 Fifa World Cup opening and closing ceremonies and the MTV Africa Video Music Awards. Koo is set to shake up brand experience on the continent and has been actively involved in the broadcasting and media industry for 22 years. Her passion for Women Empowerment and Mentorship has been fulfilled by developing and launching the VWV Group CSI initiative, Phakama Women’s Academy.

Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far. 

After graduating from Business management in Durban, I moved to Johannesburg for better career opportunities. I have always aspired to be a successful woman in business. I started by career journey with MNet in 1991 until 2013. My last job title was Corporate and Communications Director. My highlights at the Multichoice Group, was a career acceleration to a Director position and learning to be an inspirational leader. Also developing, implementing and marketing various brand channels at the Multichoice Group.

I won various awards with my team for excellent marketing campaigns, which included the Loeries and Promax awards. I was finalist in 2012 for Most Influential Women in Media by the CEO magazine. I was the first Chairwomen for Promax SA. I have various speaker engagements for Marketing , Leadership and Women in Leadership related topics.

I sit on business and NGO boards. I am extremely passionate about Women Empowerment and mentor young women. I am now currently the Group CEO for VWV Group.

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us a little more about that. 

When I joined VWV Group, I wanted to start a CSI project that has never been done before which will leave a legacy. I developed and implemented the Phakama Women’s Academy. 

Please tell us a little more about Phakama Women’s Academy. 

The Phakama Women’s academy is a VWV Group’s CSI project. We equip university students with corporate readiness skills. Every year we go to 3 higher learning institutions, we select on average 30 students to take part in the academy. We select young women with an academic average of 60% and who are passionate about women empowerment and paying it forward. Phakama is in its second year of implementation and we graduating 32 young women on the 02 July. http://www.phakama.org

What is it that you are passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about women, and unveiling the talent that lies within them as well as the youth. They are the future, our future and I believe that investing time in the youth will not just benefit the individual but the country too, because we plant the seeds of tomorrow and the will water and maintain it. If we want a better country tomorrow, we need to start investing in our youth today. Empower our youth and build them to be the future leaders of South Africa.


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