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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Adelaide Potgieter

Adelaide Potgieter - Founder of Mad Group of Companies

Adelaide Potgieter Xtraordinary Woman Of the MonthAdelaide is an entrepreneur and founder of Mad World, a diverse group of companies consisting of a creative communications agency, recording studio, chat room, set-construction, restaurants, and property development. A law school dropout and Miss SA finalist, Adelaide refers to her tertiary education as obtaining a’ Doctorate through the University of Life.’ With the gift of the gab, Adelaide tried her hand at a few ventures such as selling luxury cars, before the single mother of two launched Mad World in 1998 with R1500 in her pocket and a rickety car.

Adelaide found herself fixated on landing the Shoprite Checkers account but knew a unique strategy would be necessary to capture the attention of CEO Whitey Basson. In a neat cardboard box, Adelaide packed the arm and leg of a mannequin and addressed it to the company’s big boss in the hopes that the symbol of giving and ‘arm and leg’ to work with his brand would strike a chord with Basson. A few weeks later a box was delivered to the Mad World office: “Thank you for the arm and the leg, but you have forgotten the most important part of the body, the heart!”

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Woman of the Month - Uga Carlini

Xtraordinary Woman of the Month Uga Carilini


Uga Carlini - President of Towerkop Creations 

With extensive international film experience, in front and behind the cameras, award-winning filmmaker Uga Carlini, President of Towerkop Creations, specializes in female driven heroine stories. She recently scooped a double deal when she acquired the fiction rights to immortalize two of South Africa’s most well-known women and their books, Elizabeth Klarer’s “Beyond the light Barrier” – to be produced my Michael Murphey (District 9) and Alison Botha’s “I have Life”. Carlini will write and direct.

She has also been assigned to write and direct the captivating conservation drama of real life white lion conservationist Linda Tucker, and her perilous struggle to protect the sacred white lion from the merciless trophy hunting industry. Produced by Ileen Maisel (Golden Compass).

Carlini has been voted Woman of the Month for the prestigous Xtraordinary Women of South Africa; was the first South African Filmmaker and Company to be sworn in as a member of the South African / American Business Chamber; and was voted a member of the International EMMYS. Currently, she is in preproduction with her feature documentary “Alison” - A story of monster’s magic and hope.

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

Since I can remember, since those around me can remember, I wanted to make, tell and be MOVIES. I was four when I use to turn the sound of the television down, so I instead, could read the news and foresee the weather. Born producer, director, writer, actor... It didn’t last long, as very quickly, the ‘in bed by 8 – ASLEEP!’ rule was implemented when it became apparent my parents will never be able to watch the news or weather again, in peace, if I could help it. By the time I was 10, I have read every single fiction book during my school holidays that my mom could get from the library. After every book, the movie version followed, in my head for the moment. I would force Marlien, my best friend then and still today (the ‘best friend’ bit and ‘force’ bit) to listen to my pitches.

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Roxanne Reid

Roxanne Reid - Author, Editor, Writer and Blogger at ReidWrite

Roxanne ReidRoxanne Reid is an independent writer, author, editor and blogger. She did her BA Hons in English Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand, her Honours in History through Unisa and short courses in journalism and creative writing at Stellenbosch and Cape Town universities. She was editor of a food industry journal for a decade and won more than a dozen Pica Awards for journalism and editing. Then her real life began 16 years ago when she started ReidWrite, through which she works as a book editor, proof reader, blogger, health and travel writer. She writes about places like Namibia, the Kalahari and the Karoo heartland, as well as issues as diverse as nutrition, wildlife, Fair Trade, stress therapy, lifestyle diseases, malaria and waterborne diseases in Africa. She is author of three published books.

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

Although I learnt a lot about publishing from working for a trade journal publisher for a decade, the best decision I ever made was to branch out on my own. My world view instantly became broader and I’ve been able to choose which projects to work on. That gives me enormous freedom and makes me much happier than I was in the corporate environment. My work has taught me a lot about a variety of subjects, such as photography, conservation, psychology, geology, palaeontology, nutrition, current affairs – and fiction writing. Being able to work with a wide range of book, magazine and online publishers over the past 16 years has allowed me to continue to learn about the changing face of publishing and social media. Expanding my horizons has been an ongoing source of joy.

That’s not to say that having your own business is always easy. I’ve certainly found myself at times working till late at night and over weekends. But I’ve also learnt to take time off when I can – even in the middle of the working week – to read a book, see a movie or take a short road trip while the corporate slaves are still at work!

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Rethabile Mashale

Rethabile Mashale - Program Director of Thope Foundation

Rethabile MashaleI am a devoted mother to a spirited toddler. I’ve spent the last decade working in the non-profit sector and academia. My professional training is in Social Work and I hold a Masters Degree specializing in development studies and social transformation from the University of Cape Town. I’m currently a PhD candidate at the University of Stellenbosch and Program Director of Thope Foundation. Thope is a non-profit organization supporting primary schools girls with tutoring, leadership skills, mentoring and life skills in an effort to intercept vulnerability and support girls to achieve their dreams. My most recent job was as a Programme Officer for The Learning Trust; a philanthropic organization providing capacity support and grants to 45 non-profit organisations across three provinces. I am an avid writer having published a number of journal articles, high level reports and growing freelance publication for a number of online publications such as Women24, Voices24, Girls Globe, Bokamoso Africa and Feminists SA to name a few.

In my professional life, I have headed up a number of large-scale projects and consultancies, which include the role of sports for development in public health education, gender and vulnerability, HIV/AIDS prevention, basic education amongst other topics. I have worked with transnational organisations some of which include Comic Relief/UK Sport International; the John Hopkins Health Education South Africa funded projects like Health Promoters Project, Brother for Life, Intersex ions and many more. I am currently running a small boutique consultancy firm, Rethabile Mashale Consulting, offering bespoke non-profit organisation management, organisational development, monitoring and evaluation, fundraising to corporate social responsibility departments, non-profit organisations and philanthropic foundations. I am passionate about coaching and mentorship, women and girls’ rights, leadership development and governance in civil society organisations. My dream is to see every woman and girl child living her full potential.

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Liezl Hesketh

Liezl Hesketh - Founder of TheRoomLink

Liezl HeskethFounder of TheRoomLink in South Africa after living abroad for 15 years and returning last year. I have a very diverse skills set: my career started in accounting before finally moving into project and management consulting, but adding performance and life coaching, change management, and digital skills en route. I am energetic, driven and a hard worker – always giving 100%. But life is not all about work, I am a social person who loves travelling to far-flung places. My current favourite is Albania, which I hope I can visit again soon!

Please tell us a little more about your business. 

TheRoomLink.co.za is an online portal which matches renters and properties. It works on the same principle as online dating, except instead of matching people with people, it matches people and rooms. It is also based on the principle of collaborative consumption or sharing economy: what one person has in excess, they share with another in need. Our target market is split into 2 primary types:
Properties: Casual and formal landlords, developers, rental agents, universities & private student accommodation providers - although there is an increase in the number of ordinary people who are choosing to rent out a room to earn an extra income.
Renters: At this time of the year the biggest demand is predominantly students and international interns, however for the remainder of the year, the target market includes young professionals, contractors, seniors and people in need of medium term or flexible accommodation.

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Carol Tshabalala

Carol Tshabalala - The First Lady of Sport

Carol Tshabalala Xtraordinary Woman of the MonthCarol has been a leading sportscaster for 14 years, from a time when there were very few female sport anchors she has stayed the course and is a pioneer in her field.

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

Being a sport anchor has been an exciting journey; I have met, interviewed and associated with so many global sporting icons such as- Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Luol Deng, Usain Bolt, Dikembe Mutombo, Lionel Messi etc. Through my work I have traversed the globe, working on global events like:

* The Olympic Games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012)
* Paralympic Games
* FIFA World Cups (Germany 2006, SA 2010, Brazil 2014)
* FIFA Confederation Cups
* FIFA Woman's World Cup
* Commonwealth Games etc.

My work is not just on television, I have worked in radio for 7 years, I host various international events, am a VoiceOver artist and scriptwriter. 

You are busy with some very interesting projects. Please tell us more about them. 

* I am in the process of setting up my sport foundation which will amongst other things, aid in identifying and nurturing sport talent, awarding sporting excellence in the youth and serve to inspire the youth
* I also continue to work with FIFA on a range of initiatives in development, media and communications.


What is your personal motto?

Carpe Diem!! You have to be ready to seize the day, seize the moment and make the most of any opportunity that comes your way.

What is it that you are passionate about? 

I am very passionate about being a trailblazer, walking the path that many never thought possible before, being a trendsetter in sport broadcasting excellence and being an inspiration.

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Joani Johnson

Joani Johnson: CEO & National Director - Mrs South Africa (Pty) Ltd

Joani Johnston XW of the MonthFormer Mrs South Africa, Joani Johnson, is the CEO and Pageant Director since 2011 and the company has reached new heights under her expert guidance. She has been recognized as a successful entrepreneur and business woman by various publications such as Forbes Magazine, Woman and Home and Finesse as well as been nominated for various awards. She is also the National Director and Founder of Ace Models and the Author of @MominHeelsBlog.

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

I have always been very ambitious, hard working and driven. I completed my degree in Media Studies at the University of Johannesburg in 2006 whilst doing part-time modeling. I founded Ace Models at the age of 24 and the company has grown to over 10 franchises nationwide as well as Namibia. Ace Models is known today as one of the best modeling academies in South Africa.

I won the title of Mrs South Africa in 2009 and went on to compete at Mrs World where I placed in the top 10 finalists. As the title holder, I wanted to put the Mrs South Africa pageant on the map and succeeded in doing so. I bought over the company in 2011 and the pageant has reached new heights since then. This is my fourth consecutive year as the CEO of Mrs South Africa (Pty) Ltd and 2014 has seen the biggest and most successful year to date.

We also launched the “She is Bona Fide” Campaign to showcase that Mrs South Africa is real women – moms, wives and successful career women, and re-launched the Mrs SA brand as a Lifestyle Brand.

I became a Mom in 2011 and recently started the “Mom in Heels Blog” which is a witty and realistic blog about the life of a working mom. 

What is your personal motto?

I have had many mottos and quotes that have inspired me over the years. What it comes down to is that success comes with hard work and dedication and that magic only happens when you are out of your comfort zone.

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Sarah Collins

Sarah Collins - Founder of The Wonderbag

Sarah Collins XWSarah Collins is a South African adventurer, entrepreneur and lifelong social activist. She thrives on challenges and has worked tirelessly over the past two decades to initiate change in the realms of gender-equality and environmental sustainability.

The small home business, Wonderbag, has expanded into a global social impact business. It is a dual model company with The Wonderbag Foundation focused on the poorest of the poor and a commercial retail business called Natural Balance. The busy Wonderbag factories produce hundreds of Wonderbags each day to meet local and international demand, especially through the Buy One, Give One partnership with exclusive retail partner, Amazon.com.

For each Wonderbag bought online, one is donated to a rural family in need in Africa. Since the bag has launched in 2008, over 700,000 bags have been distributed throughout Africa to families in need. Sarah has also taken the Wonderbag to the Middle East where it has been a gracious welcome in vast Syrian refugee camps. Sarah has been recognized as one of Oprah’s ‘heroines’ in the South African edition of O Magazine, spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos and voted one of the most powerful women entrepreneurs of the year by Fortune Magazine for 2013.  
 

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

I grew up in rural, apartheid-era South Africa in the 1970s. My childhood inspired my lifework focusing on empowering women living below the poverty line through grassroots efforts. Educated in both the UK and South Africa, I spent much of my school years challenging Apartheid. I returned to Africa to launch and run a horseback riding safari business in Botswana, and have since devoted my life to community projects. Among others, my career has seen me run for political office, set-up my own NGO and help local communities create thriving business to support their livelihood. But my true passion and drive is inspired by my love and belief in the Wonderbag and growing the business. 

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Maria Phalime

Maria Phalime, Doctor Turned Award-Winning Author

Maria PhalimeMaria Phalime is one of South Africa’s newest award-winning authors. Born and raised in the Johannesburg township of Soweto, Maria moved to Cape Town in 1991 to pursue her studies at the University of Cape Town, from where she graduated with degrees in Science and Medicine. She practiced for a brief period as a general practitioner in South Africa and the United Kingdom, before leaving medical practice to pursue non-clinical interests. In 2010 Maria found her voice as a writer.

She studied under the acclaimed South African author, Mike Nicol, on the Get Smarter/Random House Struik Nonfiction Story Course. In 2012 Maria was the recipient of the inaugural City Press Nonfiction Award for her memoir, Postmortem – The Doctor Who Walked Away. In 2013 her novel for teens, Second Chances, was the English language category winner of the Maskew Miller Longman Literature Awards.  
 

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

I qualified as a medical doctor in 1999, and after a short period of medical practice I chose to walk away from medicine. I have written extensively about the factors that pushed me out of medicine in my award-winning memoir, Postmortem – The Doctor Who Walked Away. Just as important, if not more so, was the pull I felt towards a more authentic and purposeful life. It hasn’t been easy and the journey continues, but I believe we can all contribute best to the world when we do what we love. 

Are you busy with any projects at the moment?

I continue to write – I have an active blog, and I am also researching my next non-fiction book. I also share my story through speaking engagements.

What is your personal motto?

Dream BIG. Follow your heart.

What are you passionate about? 

Purpose. I believe we are all here for a reason; it is our responsibility to find that reason and to fulfill our purpose, in our own unique ways.

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Xtraordinary Woman of the Month - Suzanne Styles

Suzanne Styles, Co-Founder of Makes You Think

Suzanne Styles Xtraordinary WomenI am an entrepreneurial activist who loves to grow businesses and help others to grow successful businesses too. I am a professional speaker, an award winning author and contributing author to the double best-selling youth leadership book spearheaded by DJ Sbu (Sbusiso Leope) published in 2013. My books include The Little Book of Declarations for African Entrepreneurs (completed this month!), African Entrepreneur Rising, Put The I Back In Team (an award winning teamwork leadership book published in 2013) and towards the end of 2014 I will release my new book for women leaders, Six Inch Heals.

Born in the United Kingdom, since age 11 I have been finding ways to make money, from selling second hand clothes, to chocolates, to Tupperware, to make up and jewellery. At age 15 we moved from the UK to South Africa. I did not finish matric. Instead I found myself in a number of low paying jobs in various small businesses in and around Pretoria. I eventually found my niche in the Out-of-Home Media industry and was appointed as South Africa’s first ever female director of an Out-of-Home Media corporate company. Ever the entrepreneur, I started my own airport advertising business in 2002 selling it at its high point a few years later to a listed company. In 2012, together with my husband Chris, I started Makes You Think. Chris and I are the presenters of The Success Show, Africa’s only weekly business coaching talk radio show, on Mix FM (93.8FM).

Many young start-up entrepreneurs desire to enlist the skills of a professional business coach yet truth be told, few have the financial means to do so. That’s why we started this show – to provide young South Africans with top quality mind and money success lessons. Now all they have to do is to listen, learn and then apply the knowledge gained. Each radio show is podcast, sent out via social media and weekly downloads of the show are now running at close to 1,500. I have spoken at many local and international events. My favourite talk is ‘How to create something from nothing – the way of the enlightened entrepreneur’. In 2013 Chris and I made a guest appearance in Episode 6 of CNBC Africa’s reality TV programme, Top Trader, teaching the finalists about the psychology of successful stock trading. My most recent brainchild, We Publish You Africa, teaches you how to write and publish a quality book and to then build on that momentum by branding yourself as an expert entrepreneur and industry leader.

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