2016 Businesswoman of the Year Award winners announced

28 August 2016

Johannesburg, South Africa – The Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) of South Africa has announced the winners of the 2016 Businesswoman of the Year Award (BWOYA) in the categories of corporate, government, social entrepreneurship, education, and science and technology.

Sponsored by Sasol, the awards boast a long proud history of recognising and celebrating the role and contribution of women in business, the economy and the greater community.

This year, for the first time, the awards also recognise women in the fields of education, social entrepreneurship and science and technology. This year’s ceremony also includes a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“The BWA congratulates all the finalists and winners of this year’s awards. These are all outstanding leaders both in terms of their respective business achievements as well as who they are as people,” said Farzanah Mall, President of BWA.

“The finalists and winners do, to a much greater degree than most, instil hope in those they lead and interact with, and practice being relevant and authentic, which is why they stand out among their peers.  We are proud of our continued association with BWA and the ongoing advocacy work it undertakes to promote the role of women in leadership,” said Wrenelle Stander, Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Real Estate Services at Sasol.

The winners in each of the categories are:

  • Corporate: Funeka Montjane, Chief Executive: Personal and Business Banking, South Africa at Standard Bank.

Before joining Standard Bank, Montjane worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers where she became a partner at the age of 27. She’s the winner of several awards including the Top Woman Executive and Top Woman of the Year in Business at the 2012 Top Women Awards.

  • Government: Dr Rolene Wagner, CEO of Frere Hospital in the Eastern Cape.  

Turning around a large and poorly performing a public hospital is not an easy task. However, it is one in which Wagner has made significant progress. Under her leadership, Frere Hospital is pursuing its vision to become a people-focused centre of medical excellence. Achievements since joining the hospital in 2012 include launching a training programme for specialist doctors from around the world.

  • Social entrepreneurship: Mary Raletooane, Director at Itekeng Disable Centre for disabled, orphaned and vulnerable children.

A born community leader, Raletooane has initiated a number of community engagement projects. These include Setsoto Women Empowerment, Adopt-a-River, and a sewing group for unemployed women. She was a matron at Itekeng Centre before being appointed Director.

  • Education: Prof Mamokgethi Phakeng: Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Internationalisation at the University of Cape Town.

Phakeng is the founder of the Adopt-a-learner Foundation, which provides financial and educational support to students from township and rural areas to acquire higher education qualifications.

In 2008, she became the first South African woman to be appointed to co-chair a study commissioned by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction. Phakeng holds a PhD in Mathematics Education from the University of the Witwatersrand, and has won several awards for her research and community work, the latest being the Order of the Baobab, Silver. .

  • Science and Technology: Prof Leslie Petrik, lecturer at University of the Western Cape.

As a scientist, Petrik has worked closely with the water, power, mining and hydrocarbon processing industry to better manage waste and effluents to find feasible routes for its reuse or water recovery. Since 2003, she has graduated 18 PhD, 42 MSc students and mentored 20 Post-doctoral fellows who have entered the marketplace with sought after skills. She has also published 116 peer reviewed journal articles and presented 251 conference papers or posters at local and international conferences, written 13 book chapters, 56 technical reports to industry and holds several patents.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Graça Machel, politician, businesswoman and humanitarian.

Best known for her work in the areas of education and human rights, Machel is also a global advocate for the development and empowerment of women and children in Africa.  She’s the founder of the Graça Machel Trust, which works across the continent to advocate for the protection of women and children’s rights and dignity. The objective of the Trust is to inspire a young generation to create societies that value and uphold social justice. In addition to her humanitarian efforts, she is also an astute businesswoman.

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