Womans Leadership Conference Johannesburg | WeLead
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Women’s Leadership Conference Johannesburg


Location: IDC Auditorium, Sandton, Johannesburg
Date: 8-9 March 2016
Time: 8:30am – 4:30pm

Register for the Event Here

“When Women connect, the World changes” Debby Edelstein

If you’re a women in leadership with ambitions to make an even greater impact, you need to make sure you’re at the most dynamic women’s event of the year. Learn from some of the most inspiring and successful women in the country, clarify your own leadership contribution and connect with a powerful community who accept the challenge that we are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.

Women’s Leadership Conference 8 – 9 March 2016

(Just a few) Benefits of attending
1. Create your own leadership goals in the company of peers and mentors who’ve been there too
2. Make connections with leaders and household names you’ve always wanted to meet (our facilitators make it easy for you to do so)
3. Learn leadership lessons from unsung heroes you might never have heard of but will certainly never forgot
4. Learn how to access your own mastermind of women leaders to support you on your leadership journey (or join a WeLead Circle)

Some of the presentations
1. Swimming upstream: Shirley Zinn’s story will show you that it is possible to achieve your goals, if you are prepared to swim upstream and be single-minded in getting where you want to be.
2. Leadership to make a difference: Businesswoman of the year 2015 Nosipho Siwisa-Damasane will reveal how she uses her positional power to make a difference to the lives of the people in her organisation.
3. Keynotes and Conversations: Debby Edelstein will share with you why women leaders should do what comes naturally and practise what doesn’t
4. Mastering Organisational Politics: When a group of people comes together there is a political dynamic – it’s unavoidable. If you understand power and organisational politics you stand a much better chance of forging a great career.
5. Leadership Lessons from the Arts: Yolisa Phahle, CEO of M-NET SA draws connections between honing her discipline as a musician and her leadership skills
6. Strategies for Tomorrow’s Leaders: An inter-generational conversation about what’s changed and what hasn’t when it comes to gender barriers
7. Rise, Fall, Rebirth: Alan Knott-Craig Jnr has had a fascinating career as an entrepreneur, with many highs, some lows and a whole lot of learning. He talks through his career so far and the many lessons he has taken from it.
8. Workshop: Getting what you want – Kim Meredith, negotiator extraordinaire, will share a few vital tips, and give you the opportunity to practice the associated techniques that enable you to get what you want.
Live performances: Tumi Masemola, Lionel Bastos and Wendy Oldfield

Speakers Confirmed thus far


Debby Edelstein is a proudly South African entrepreneur, who focuses her attention on the creation and support of developing leaders and women leadership initiatives. As the founder of The Annual Women’s Leadership Conference, WiredWomen and the Inspired Teachers Conference, Debby’s commitment to creating effective leadership programmes and enabling debates around leadership shines. A highly-regarded speaker and facilitator, she has a special interest in coaching and preparing women for the speakers circuit in an effort to make sure that conference line-ups around the country are more representative. Most recently she launched the WeLead Circle Project, a peer-to-peer network for women leaders. A serial conversation starter, Debby also runs #welead chats on Twitter to raise awareness about developing women leaders. Underlying all of her work is a passion for using conversation and collaboration to create community and bring about social change.


Nosipho Siwisa-Damasane is the CEO for the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, a world class global facility responsible for the export of coal for all the coal mining companies in South Africa. She was appointed to this position in July 2012 as the first woman CEO. Nosipho has a B.Com Accounting from the University of Transkei and completed articles with Ernst and Young in East London. She is currently studying for an MBA in Sustainability at Rhodes. Amongst many industry awards, Nosipho was IPM’s CEO of the Year in 2014, in 2015, she was announced as the winner of National Business Woman of the Year in the Corporate Category. She is passionate about logistics, talent management and the development of women in port operations and engineering.


Dr Melanie Van Rooy, Marketing Director Makro SA, joined Massmart in 2013 after working for Coca Cola for 10 years as head of strategy and research at ABI, the soft drink division of SAB Ltd. Melanie’s department at Makro is responsible for all above and below the line advertising, big data customer analytics and insights, customer strategy and recruitment, digital marketing and eCommerce as well as brand reputation management, CSI and sponsorship. Melanie has a PhD in Econometrics and an MBA and is an eternal scholar.


Yolisa Phahle, M-Net SA CEO, was born in the United Kingdom, with firm roots in South Africa. Yolisa cut her teeth in the industry as a musician, attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama majoring in classical piano and violin. She joined the BBC World Service in 1998, training as studio manager and later as a music producer. Her South African roots and love for African music saw her return to SA in 2004, where she joined M-Net as head of Channel O. In 2009, she became channel director for the local entertainment channels. In this role, she was instrumental in driving M-Net’s local content strategy by launching many successful local channels including Mzansi Magic.


Nicolette Lambrechts has been with Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) for 14 years, and currently holds a strategic position as Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. After completing her BCom Marketing degree and following it up with honours in Economics, Nicolette’s relationship with MBSA commenced when she joined the company in 2001 as a student in the sales department. Her current areas of responsibility within MBSA include the strategic management of all sales, marketing, product and after-sales as well as dealer management, key account customer management and financial management. Nicolette is an avid reader, loves wine and takes any chance she has to spend with her family and friends


Alan Knott-Craig Jr, CA(SA), Founder & CEO of Project Isizwe, a non-profit company managing the deployment of the largest public Free WiFi network in South Africa. Between 2003 and 2013 he co-founded and/or funded 17 companies in the TMT sector in Africa. In 2008 he published Don’t Panic, a best-selling book aimed at persuading South Africans to stay in the country. In 2009 he was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2012, co-authored Mobinomics, the story of Mxit, the biggest social network to come from Africa of which he is the former CEO. @alanknottcraig


Prof Shirley Zinn, former HR Director of Standard Bank SA and Deputy Global Head of HR for the Group. She has many degrees, including a Doctorate in Education (Harvard). She is also an Extraordinary Professor at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Human Resource Management. She received the Award for Top Woman in Business and Government and most Visionary Woman. She also received an award in Mumbai for Global HR Leadership. In 2012, she was listed in the Top 30 Wonder Women in SA by Wits Business Journal. She is currently the Chair of DHL, and serves on a number of boards. She completed her seventh Two Oceans Marathons in April 2015!


Lizelle Padayachi is the divisional manager of AECI Ltd’s Internal Audit Function. She is responsible for the management and delivery of AECI’s internal audits covering the explosives company’s AEL and Detnet as well as the property company Acacia and the AECI Group Functions. Lizelle has 17 years of experience in internal audit, 9 of which relate to financial services gained at Barclays and Postbank as audit manager. Lizelle’s qualifications include a B Com and an Honours Degree in Commerce (CTA). Lizelle recently completed a Masters in Internal Audit, graduating in the top 15% of the class.


Ruth Everson is a senior English teacher at St Stithians Girls’ College. As Leadership Director, Ruth is in charge of the whole school’s leadership programme and development of staff and girls. Ruth is also a published poet who has given poetry readings and workshops across the country, including the National Schools’ Festival of the Arts for over 16 years. Ruth’s poem, ‘Fatter than Life’ was used in a musical in Holland. In 2010, Ruth won the Woman and Home short story competition. Her passion is to use her poetry to inspire passion and purpose for all – even those who don’t like poetry. @RuthEleanorE


Amanda Nair, MD Pikitup, BA (Psychology & Industrial Sociology), Masters (Town and Regional Planning), joined Pikitup on 01 October 2012. Prior to Pikitup, Amanda was General Manager for consulting engineering firm GIBB’s Mobility Services Sector. Prior to that, she was the CEO of Blue IQ Holdings, the development arm of Gauteng. She has also been, among other positions, the Executive Director of the City of Johannesburg’s Development Planning, Transport and Environment Department. Amanda brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of policy and strategy development to Pikitup.


Kim Meredith, CEO The Dealmaker Company, is an international lecturer, sales strategist, negotiator and dealmaker. Kim’s last “real” job was on the main board of a listed IT company where she was Executive Director of Strategy. She was responsible for driving global mergers, acquisitions and disposals. Kim has also written four business books and is one of South Africa’s best-selling non-fiction authors. Kim holds a BA in Clinical Psychology and English, and is a faculty member of Henley Business School.


Tali Nates is the director of the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre and has lectured internationally about Holocaust education, genocide prevention, reconciliation and human rights. In 2010, she was chosen as one of the top 100 newsworthy and noteworthy women in South Africa, published in the Mail & Guardian Book of South African Women. Tali acts as a scholar and leader of many Holocaust education missions to Eastern Europe as well as educational missions in SA and Rwanda. Tali was born to a family of Holocaust survivors. Her father and uncle were both saved by Oskar Schindler but the rest of the family perished.


Prof. Rasoava Rijamampianina is the Director of the Management Advancement Programmes at Wits Business School. Previously, he was the Director of the Senior Executive Programme for Southern Africa – a joint initiative of WBS and Harvard Business School (USA) – and the Academic Director at WBS. He holds an MBA from Otaru University of Commerce (Japan), and a DBA degree from Hokkaido University (Japan). Rija, as he is affectionately known, is a Council member of the World Business University Association, an editorial board member of various international academic journals and a member of several international academic associations.


Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys, has spent her entire career in the IT field, starting as a programmer at NCR, moving into Business Analysis and then sales and marketing. She was selected as the Corporate winner of the BWA’s Gauteng Regional Business Woman of the Year in 2006. She is committed to mentoring other women and is actively involved in three external mentorship programs. Accsys has won a number of awards under her leadership.


Heidi Brauer, Chief Marketing Officer, Hollard, is a passionate South African, wife, daughter, sister, mother of 2 sons, voracious reader, collaborator, lover of challenge & change, fiercely loyal to the notion of the power of single actions enabling quantum changes, reluctant gym-goer, erstwhile boxer, speaker of some Greek, learner, teacher, mentor, mentee and deep believer in the power of brands and humans. Heidi believes in sprinkles and chocolate cake, and that it takes a village to raise a brand.


Elsie Christine Niwemfura survived genocide in Rwanda in 1994 where her parents and siblings were all wiped out. She currently uses her testimony in different places such as schools and conferences to educate communities on issues such as tolerance, human rights, Xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other social ills. Christine is a volunteer with the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre. She studied for 3 years at Adventist University of Centre Africa in Rwanda in Business Administration. She also just finished her Diploma in IT Network Management.


Carin Marcus graduated from Wits BA Social Work Honors, completed Psychology Honors at RAU and MA Clinical Social Work at RAU. Carin was involved with Hospice for 12 years as a therapist and psychosocial training manager. She currently runs a private practice specializing in the field of grief, loss, palliative care, oncology and transitional work. Carin has been involved in working with grieving children and adolescents, and has co-developed board games for affected children. Carin is also a ‘survivor’ of childhood loss having lost her father in the Helderberg air disaster.


Ursula Fear, Human Capital Director, Deloitte, specialises and assists organisations in making their people more effective in the workplace. Her specialities in talent strategies enable organisations to take their business to the next level. With a sound understanding of the employee value chain, Ursula is well positioned to assist organisations in attracting, managing, developing and retaining key and skilled talent.


Brynne Guthrie just completed her LLB at the University of Pretoria and is a champion debater. Discovering a true passion for critical approaches to the legal world, Brynne is also an accomplished tutor and traveller, and will be pursuing an LLM in Human Rights and Gender in the UK in 2016. Brynne’s story-telling and documentary skills have come to the fore recently, as she captures and showcases the gendered nature of protest movements, with specific reference to the recent student #FeesMustFall student protests.


Rosie Ebe-Arthur, Head of Human Resources for Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Ghana and West Africa, has over 25 years of business and HR experience in the global as well as Pan-African context. Prior to joining SCB, Rosie worked with Ecobank Transnational Inc. (ETI), where she was the HR Business Partner for the Domestic Bank business with oversight for over 30 countries. Prior to that she was Director for People Effectiveness at EY working out of the Africa Office in SA with a reach of 19 countries. Rosie’s favourite job is playing mother to her very creative son Nana.


Tumi Masemola is a celebrated actress, singer, TV producer and businesswoman, popularly known for playing Letisha in the television sitcom City Ses’la and Ses’top La. Born and raised in Diepkloof Soweto, Tumi is also known as Lady Naturelle, lead singer in the urban pop group GI (Gang of Instrumentals). She is a founding member and co-songwriter of GI and has released 3 albums with the group. Tumi is the founding member and new business director of Black Brain Pictures, a content production and communications company.


Wendy Oldfield and Lionel Bastos are both SA Music Award winners who have 12 SAMA nominations between them. Wendy has been a part of the SA music scene since the early eighties. Since then she has crafted a diverse career with an impressive array of musicians. Wendy most recently won a SAMA for best children’s album last year. Lionel is an award-winning singer, composer and music producer who has played and/or produced music on every continent and has written and/or produced for most of South Africa’s top artists.