Corporate Durban filled out the ICC on the 12th August to hear four influential South Africans share their wisdom at the FNB Business Women’s Breakfast in association with East Coast Radio. East Coast Breakfast’s Darren Maule hosted hundreds of women from all spheres of business who enjoyed a morning of networking and key strategic insights and learnings at one of the most anticipated events on the KwaZulu-Natal corporate calendar.
East Coast Radio’s General Manager, Boni Mchunu, welcomed the more than 800 guests and introduced the #Wonderwomen theme. “Women’s month is not simply a month to recognise the achievements of individual phenomenal women – it is a time when we in the media hold the mirror up to the everyday women who have been, through circumstances, forced to rise up well beyond capacity.”
IT guru, Stafford Masie kicked off the power presentations, drawing attention to the fact that the notion of driving businesses in a masculine way is a thing of the past and that technology is playing a leading role in driving this. “Women are not equal. Women are better!” The former Google Africa boss and self-confessed serial entrepreneur tapped into his knowledge as a technology futurist to highlight that as much as the world today is about technology, it is about humanity. Masie has been involved in several leading-edge technology start-ups. He has played a significant role in the open software arena and is responsible for global partnerships and corporate tech strategy in Latin America, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe.
Head of FNB Innovations, Yolande Steyn, dished up honesty with a dash of pragmatism, in her account of the challenges, trials and tribulations as a woman in business. The industrial engineer has extensive experience in product development and strategic project management and has played an integral role in consulting, mobile telecommunications, software development, mobile money and innovations. Yolande’s advice to all Wonderwomen of KZN: “We should never underestimate our own resilience and our ability to overcome pretty much anything. Every time you think your problems are bad, just take a look around and you’ll find people who are dealing with much worse.”
“Wonderwoman exists in each and every one of us!” Ndalo Media CEO and award-winning media personality, Khanyi Dhlomo, packed a powerful punch with her inspiring story of her journey to get in touch with her inner Wonderwoman and shared how she brings these superhero qualities in everything she does. “The challenge is breaking down the boundary between who we are, what we believe and what we do. The work we do needs to be aligned with our purpose. At the end of the day, we are all Wonderwomen!”
Humour, a magnetic personality and strategic food for thought make for a formidable combination and that’s exactly what entrepreneur, Vusi Thembekwyo, delivered when he wrapped up the morning. Using humour and personal anecdotes, he encouraged women to boldly charter new waters. “Men have had it easy for a really long time. Women have far greater odds to go up against when they want to build lives, build businesses, build careers so I stand before you with a sense of humility knowing that I’m speaking to an audience of powerful people who face odd who, I as a man, would never understand.” Vusi highlighted the changes evident in business today, why those changes are happening and what we need to do, as professionals and business people, to be able to compete in the new world.
The day wrapped up with invaluable take-home lessons, loads of inspiration and the establishment of new contacts and networks.