GSB Women in Business Conference - a 'resilient and resourceful' line-up for 2016

The UCT GSB's Women in Business Conference is returning for the 17th time, and this year's edition will offer both a major networking opportunity and a unique perspective on rising above challenging circumstances.

The 17th Women in Business Conference (WIB) at the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) will feature a stellar line-up this year, including Gabi Lowe, ongoing crusader for the Jenna Lowe trust, Dermalogica’s Cherie Keating, and keynote speaker Zukie Siyotula, former Divisional CEO in a leading investment company.

Most importantly, say organisers of the school’s WIB Committee, the conference will also help raise funds for a bursary for a deserving female business student in 2017.

Siyotula, one of only 12 individuals across Africa recently recognised by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a Young Global Leader, is the former Divisional CEO in a leading investment company and has served on a number of non-profit, public and listed boards including, but not limited to Shell SA, Altech Netstar, Vodacom SA, SAfripol, STISA and Sekelo Oil Trading. She previously held senior positions at Barclays, Old Mutual and South African Breweries.

Lowe, mother of the late Jenna Lowe, is an ongoing custodian of the Jenna Lowe Trust, which is perhaps best known for spearheading Jenna’s “Get me to 21” organ donation awareness campaign. Jenna suffered from an extremely rare lung disease known as Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, and the Trust continues to fight for patients in a similar plight.

Cherie Keating, MD of Dermalogica SA, started at Dermalogica at the age of 19 and rose through the ranks, from sales to education and general management, eventually becoming the director of Dermalogica South Africa.

A panel discussion will be moderated by respected academic and consultant Dr Linda Ronnie. Panellists include Joy-Marie Lawrence admitted attorney and Executive Masters in Business Administration (EMBA) graduate of the GSB along with Lelemba Phiri, Chief Marketing Officer of fintech startup, Zoona. Phiri has been identified as one of Africa's most influential women by CEO magazine, and in 2015 was awarded the Rising Star Award at Zambian Women of the Year Awards.

The 2016 Conference theme is “Resilient and Resourceful” and is run by students on various post-graduate programmes at the GSB and who are part of the Women in Business (WIB) committee. The event aims to celebrate the achievements of businesswomen in South Africa who have made – and continue to make – a distinguished contribution to society.

“In line with this goal, funds raised through the conference go towards supporting deserving, but financially disadvantaged, women to enrol in the GSB’s Academic Programmes, namely the MBA and PGDip,” says Heloise Janse van Rensburg, WIB committee member.

“The conference offers an array of experiences and tools to inspire female leaders to be fully involved in making a positive difference in business and our communities. It offers an enriching platform to motivate, inspire and connect women of all industries and experience.”

Delegates will have the opportunity to network with over 350 members of the business community, as well as receiving exposure to a number of high profile sponsor companies. These will include representatives from telecoms, FMCG, retail, and consulting.

The WIB Conference has run annually since 1999 during Women’s Month. Other, concurrent initiatives running in August at the GSB include the GSB Women’s MBA Info Session Breakfast on 26 August, and a Distinguished Speaker’s Programme with Professor Shirley Zinn.

Professor Zinn holds an M.Ed from the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and a D.Ed from Harvard, and was crowned Top Woman in Business and Government in 2008. Most recently, she received recognition as the author of Swimming Upstream: A story of grit and determination to succeed, the remarkable memoir of her fight to rise above the circumstances she was born into.

The 2016 Women in Business Conference will be held on Friday 12 August at the Belmont Square Conference Centre in Cape Town. Tickets are available at R750 for individuals or R675pp for corporate groups of 10 or more. More information about the Conference is available on the GSB’s Facebook page, under Events, as well as via email from Women in Business,

Companies can negotiate sponsorship in exchange for brand exposure, and are invited to donate raffle prizes, silent auction prizes, or goodie-bag items.

For more information about the event, please visit

28 Jul 2016 12:17