Tower Group Unveils South Africa’s Top 8 SHEROES That Never Took No for An Answer

It’s no secret that women have been winning for years and making major moves in the corporate world; not just climbing the ladder of success but pulling each other up the rungs! There’s a lot to celebrate – in fact, a lot of the things we use and rely on regularly today would not be possible without the hand of a woman involved. Did you know that it was women who invented the windshield wiper, car heater and ‘call waiting’? Hold the phone! This month, we turn our gaze towards South African women, the true power tribe of the country. They’ve accomplished so much in such a short amount of time, become inspirational role models to young women all around the border and are the real Sheroes of our economy.

What is a ‘Shero’?

We have all read about one. We all know one. We all love one. A Shero is a woman admired for her bravery, notable accomplishments and tenacity in the face of formidable challenges. It’s more than a hero… A Shero takes things to a new level, has to fight for her place in life and excels against all odds!

The past, the present and the future – what’s different?

In South Africa, women were only considered equal citizens to men in 1996; that is less than thirty years ago and they have come tremendously far since then. The concept of a “man’s job” is slowly dissolving as more and more women become empowered, motivated by each other’s ambition and determination. However, South African women are still facing gender discrimination in the workplace, a considerable wage gap and many other unfortunate obstacles. But against all odds, our powerful women persevere and continue to do so. As time goes on, we will see that wage gap close, we will see our women flourish in the glow of the South African sun and we will revel in their glory.

Here are Tower’s top 8 Sheroes who never took no for an answer, the highest earners in the workplace who battled to triumph over every hurdle and cast a victorious glow over our country – we’ve never been prouder!

  1. Nneile Nkholise Our first Shero made a lot of progress and cemented South Africa’s reputation in the fields of biotechnology, mechanical engineering and animal husbandry! She increased livestock traceability as 3DIMO’s Founder, thanks to her earlier expertise in cow breeding. She also established iMED Tech, where she has worked relentlessly to make medical prostheses and bio-implants. She was even voted the top female innovator in Africa by the World Economic Forum in 2016 and 2018! Our women are making moves.
  2. Wendy Ackerman – A household name! She’s known for being one of the founders of our beloved Pick n Pay stores and a patron of the 1000 Women Trust, assisting in the accessibility of skill and leadership learning. She also provides financial aid to organizations led by women and supports the less fortunate.
  3. Santie Botha – She’s ruthless in the boardroom and an inspiration to women in every province! One of South Africa’s top ten wealthiest women, Santie takes business thinking to a whole new level and has an endless list of accomplishments, such as the 2010 World Cup success, winner of the 2010 Businesswoman of the Year and so much more.
  4. Wendy Appelbaum – The Wendy’s are really taking over! One of the most influential women in South Africa and a well-known philanthropist, Wendy does it all. She’s the Chairperson of the DeMorgenzon Wine Estate, and she even has her own foundation. The Wendy Appelbaum Foundation centres around programmes offering education and health assistance to South African women.
  5. Arlene Mulder – This affluent tech-whiz received the Forbes Woman Africa Technology and Innovation Award in 2019 and is all about making sure education is for everything. She is an icon in the coding industry and co-founded a non-profit aimed at developing the potential of South African youth.
  6. Bridgette Radebe – Another South African woman with a strong business mind. Bridgette is widely known as the first black female mining entrepreneur and the president of the South African Mining Development Association. She has made a major impact internationally and nationally and certainly became a role model when she entered a mainly male-dominated field and rose to the top!
  7. Sarah Collins – CEO and founder of Wonderbag, Sarah has been taking major leaps in social activism for many years. Since 2008, she has hit colossal milestones in reducing carbon emissions and making the preparation of meals safer and cheaper for women. She’s got a massive heart and our people are empowered by her cause!
  8. Irene Charnley – Irene’s resume goes on for miles! From trade unionist, executive director of the MTN Group, to the woman behind the creation of the National Empowerment Consortium and president of the IWFSA, she can do it all. She is still redefining the telecommunications environment in the continent and making great change!

It’s Women’s Day in South Africa this month and Tower Group is celebrating all our Sheroes with pride. Let’s learn from their successes and apply their philosophies to our own lives. Tower Group recongnises this kind of top tier talent and performance – connect with us for your people solutions and talent acquisition strategy.