Inspiring Forbes Women in Leadership Summit 2018

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending an inspiring one-day women’s summit, Forbes Women in Leadership Summit 2018 in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Under the theme, The Trillion Dollar Female Economy, the summit is an incredible opportunity to rally with other women in a format tailored to educate and exchange ideas.

The theme was inspired by the McKinsey Global Institute report which states that "$12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by advancing women’s equality." And the only way to achieve this is when the public, private, and social sectors are willing to close the gender gaps in work and society.

Despite the cold weather, the ladies dressed up and showed up. The women's participation in this year’s summit was proof that they desired to achieve their full potential in their own personal spaces and careers.

The summit brought together an ensemble of powerful voices and opinions from women and men leaders in the financial sector, the corporate world, and education. These are talented people who have made substantive contributions to the world in which we live, along the way breaking barriers and paving the way for those yet to come. The speakers were former Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, Mapula Bodibe, the executive for consumer Business at MTN SA, social entrepreneur & humanitarian, Vivian Onano, Busi Radebe an economist with Nedbank, Kayli Vee Levitan, co- founder of the the Street Store and many great women.

There is something about networking with a group of dynamic women that really elevates your hopes and dreams that you had from the earliest time you can remember.

I also enjoyed listening to mom Thuli a lot. She opened up and shared the challenges she faced while she was PP. And not only that but how she responded when she was faced with the challenges. She admitted that sometimes she missed the mark. But the important thing for her was to stay on purpose, seek truth and justice, and trust that things will turn out right.

Here are some of my favourite quotes from the panelists: 

"When women lead things begin to shift in favour of human progress and social justice." - Thuli Madonsela

"Because we stand on the shoulders of giants we are more visible. From the higher ground where we stand, we can see clearer and further." - Thuli Madonsela

‘When women lead authentically, they often face a backlash’ Prof Thuli Madonsela

"We can not change gender parity unless we agree to do so ourselves." Methil Renuka, editor of Forbes Woman Africa

"As women we have to step up, stand out and fly in the face of the ordinary. " Caroline Ravenall - author and change catalyst

"Success is not to be pursued, it is to be attracted by the person you become." - Rolene Strauss, former Miss SA

"Women should not be apologetic when it comes to your career." - Tumisho Grater, economist, Novare

"Success is achieved through a culmination of daily behaviors. " - Mapula Bodibe

I later spoke to Mapula Bodibe, the Executive for Consumer Business at MTN SA and asked her why MTN was supporting this event. Mapula said, "Women are a key in our business. And MTN gets involved in a number of initiatives to support women, particularly in the ICT space. So when we were approached by Forbes to partner with them on this event, we were very excited. And we think, through our technology, we can influence women's personal and ICT needs. So women's development is a priority for our business."

The discussions were interesting however, the topic "The Economic Outlook" was not on topic. It was the line of questioning by the moderator that messed it up. So instead of asking about the economic outlook as we all expected, the moderator focused on entrepreneurs and gender gaps. The panelists, who are economists, had to answer her questions. And I thought the moderator had a plan to tie it all together at the end but nope that didn't happen. 

Overall, it was an inspiring and encouraging event to attend, and may I add that it was well organised. And YES we started on time. Hopefully, by next year, most of us who have attended would have made a few strides in our lives. Because that is the only way we are going to get a slice of this trillion dollar economy. And if you didn't, I highly recommend the event. I left feeling incredibly joyful and highly motivated.