We pay homage to the leading ladies in corporate SA.
Each of these women are at the top of their industry and are proof that females can and are doing it for themselves. They have been identified as Africa and South Africa's richest women by Forbes year after year.
So who are these powerful ladies?
Net Worth R332 million
She graduated with a BSc from the former University of the Orange Free State and then completed an MSc from London University. In the early 60s she worked as a research chemist in America for 12 months. When she returned to South Africa shortly afterwards, she got involved in Toyota SA.
Ms Bradley joined Wesco Investments as Managing Director in 1986 - a company that had a large stake in Toyota SA - and was eventually appointed its chair in 1991. Eleven years later, she became the non-executive chair. Her CV is quite impressive and includes top positions at Standard Bank Group, Tongaat Hulett and Sasol.
With ties to Wits Business School and being the recipient of a Manex Award for excellence in leadership, Ms Bradley is one hard working and inspirational woman.
Net Worth R433 million
She’s the chair (and largest shareholder) of Premium Properties and Octodec Investments. Her advice to other women that seek a future in the corporate world:
“As a generalization men seem to be better at self-promotion than women. Make yourself heard and have the confidence, self-belief and determination to push through to higher levels. Don't think that just because objectively you deserve the promotion it will spontaneously happen. You have to make it happen.... Create a support system that enables you to pursue your dreams. Set goals and do not let detractors or difficult situations along the way deter you. Be prepared to work hard and to have to sometimes tough it out.”
Net Worth R1 billion
She graduated with a BA degree in Political Science and Sociology. The 55 year old started her career as a mere miner in the 80s. But her journey did not end there.
She founded her own Mining Company, Mmakau Mining and is listed as the 8th richest woman in Africa. As the President of South Africa’s largest mining chamber, the South African Mining Development Association and Founder Member of the New African Fund’s Board of Trustees, this is a woman that’s not afraid of power.
Net Worth R1.5 billion
She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Smile Telecoms Holdings Limited based in Mauritius. She first made her mark when she was a negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers - co-ordinating various divisions of union operations for 13 years.
She later worked her way up the ranks in Johnnic Holdings and joined MTN as an Executive, being instrumental in connecting the telecom service to several African countries. Her negotiation skills are thought to be the key for her success. She is passionate about ICT's involvement in an inclusive economy and believes:
“ICT and social cohesion seemed absurd 15 years ago, but time has proven they are not. It has brought people who were not in the mainstream to the centre of society. Farmers and miners were exposed to market opportunities not available to them previously."
Net Worth R1.9 billion
Ms Ackerman studied at the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand and UNISA. She taught in Soweto at the English Academy in the mid 60s and was involved in teaching English to the black community at night school during her student years.
After joining the Pick ‘n Pay Group, she was heavily involved in their development of employee benefits and their welfare, allowing her to exercise her compassion and spread welfare to the wider community. She was appointed a Director in 1981.
Net Worth R2.6 billion.
This South African is the 5th richest woman in Africa, and the richest woman in South Africa. She currently co-owns a wine farm in Stellenbosch called De Morgenzen Wine Estate.
Earlier in her career after leaving her directorship at Liberty Investors, she sold those shares and and co-founded Wiphold, an investment company completely controlled by women. As a member of many charitable organisations including the Global Philantropists' Circle and the Donald Gordon Foundation, Ms Appelbaum is most notably known as a serial philanthropist. She consistently strives to help others enrich their lives and is quoted as saying, "the more you have the more responsibility you have to share it with those who don't."
As professionals, we too should strive to emulate their work ethic and grow within our own industries. These South Africans are the great examples of how women can survive and excel in what was previously thought of as a man’s world.
You can continue your journey to billionaire status by looking for a company that has your interests and future at heart too.