Advice from fierce female business executives

by - August 09, 2016

There are many examples of South African women who are leading the way in the financial industry. Many are highly qualified. Today as we celebrate Women’s Day, I would like to salute the hardworking, strong and successful women who continue to make their mark in the business world and who bring their own unique entrepreneurial flair while keeping it real. 

The following women prove time and time again that if you want something badly enough, with hard work and drive, almost anything and everything is achievable.

Nicola Newton-King manages one of the most powerful stock exchanges in the world. She is responsible for negotiating and implementing the JSE’s major corporate transactions in addition to the development of corporate strategy. She was named South Africa's Businesswoman of the Year (2003). Before joining the JSE, Miss Newton-King was a partner in the Financial Services Unit of one of South Africa's largest legal firms, Webber Wentzel Bowens, where she advised clients in the securities and financial services industry. She was responsible for developing one of the first derivatives law practices in South Africa. While at Webber Wentzel Bowens, Miss Newton-King was closely involved in advising the JSE on all aspects of its business. 

Nonkululeko Gobodo is SA’s first black female chartered accountant and pioneering entrepreneur who went on to establish an auditing and advisory practice during the height of apartheid, when opportunities were closed to black people in South Africa. She grew the firm into a medium sized, national practice with offices in all the provinces in South Africa. In 2011 Nonkululeko played a key role, as one of the leaders in the successful merger of Gobodo Inc and SizweNtsaluba VSP, to form SizweNtsalubaGobodo. This was a move that has changed the landscape of the accounting profession in South Africa, ushering in a new era of economic transformation. Today Gobodo, a highly appraised trailblazer and a renowned leader of our generation runs Nkululeko Leadership Consulting (NLC) and she is breaking new ground in the progressive leadership space as a boutique black owned and managed firm.

Phuti Mahanyele is the Executive Chairperson of Sigma Capital, a privately held, majority-black owned investment group based in SA. She is also the former CEO of Shanduka Group, a multi-billion rand diversified African investment holding company, which she joined in 2004 as the Managing Director of Shanduka Energy.  In her tenure as CEO of Shanduka Group, she held directorships with a number of companies, including inter alia Lonmin Plc, Mondi, McDonalds SA, Coca Cola Shanduka Beverages, Macsteel and Helios Towers (Nigeria). Notable transactions during Mahanyele’s tenure include the first direct investment in South Africa by the Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC), when it acquired 25 percent equity in Shanduka. 

Fatima Vawda is the founder and Managing Director of 27 four Investment Managers, a pioneering South African multi-manager focused on the provision of innovative product solutions for retirement funds and individual investors. Fatima started her career as a lecturer at The University of Witwatersrand in 1995. She also previously worked at Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank, Peregrine Securities and Legae Capital. Some of Fatima’s accolades include the 2009 ABSIP Award for Entrepreneur of the Year, the 2011 Africa Fund Manager Award for Outstanding Achievements, as well as the 2012 ABSIP Award for Emerging Women Owned Company in Financial Services, to name only a few. Although 27four is a success by any measure, for Vawda, her business is just as much a driver of change in SA as it is a fund management company. For example, it created the Black Asset Manager Incubation Programme as a way to bring more black people into the asset management industry.

A medical doctor by profession, Dr Anna Mokgokong kick-started her career after establishing a private practice in 1992, which she grew from scratch to a patient base of more than 40 000 people as a community doctor, serving eight villages.  The entrepreneurial bug bit while she was still in school where she sold sandwiches for pocket money. She used her medical training as a springboard into business, however, her scope of influence spans different industries. She sits on numerous boards of listed and unlisted companies locally and internationally. She is one of the founder members and Group Executive Chairperson of Community Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a leading black empowerment company. Dr Mokgokong is chairperson of Community Investment Holdings and AfroCentric Health Group, leaders in sustainable healthcare.

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