WINNING WOMEN – The winners of this year’s BWA RBAA are, from left, Joanne Anthony (Professional category), Professor Heather Nel (Government), Sarisa Ferreira (Emerging Entrepreneur), LiepolloPheko, National President of BWA South Africa, Kobie Potgieter (Entrepreneur), Chantal du Pisani (Corporate) and Thina Maqubela (Social Entrepreneur).
Six of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and surrounds’ leading women in government and private business stepped up to receive top honours for their successes at the Port Elizabeth Businesswomen’s Association’s (BWA) glamorous annual Regional Business Achievers Awards, held at the Boardwalk Hotel last night (Thursday, 19 June 2014).
Selected for their inspiring successes from a pool of 18 impressive finalists (three in each category), the 2014 winners are:
• Corporate – Chantal du Pisani, Chief Executive Officer at Access Management, operators of the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
• Government – Professor Heather Nel, Senior Director of Institutional Planning at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
• Entrepreneur – Kobie Potgieter, owner of Remax Independent Property
• Emerging Entrepreneur – Sarisa Ferreira, owner of Areli Veg,(Patensie)
• Social Entrepreneur – Thina Maqubela, of Ubuntu Education Fund (Grahamstown), and
• Professional – Joanne Anthony, owner of Joanne Anthony Incorporated
More than 90 businesswomen, not necessarily BWA members, were nominated this year from a wide range of industries, with the 18 finalists and ultimately six winners assessed and selected through audited judging processes. The final Panel of independent Judges represented a broad cross-section of leaders in business, government and civil society. Guest Speaker at the glittering evening affair was Dr Felicia Mabuza-Suttle, herself one of South Africa’s most influential and inspiring businesswomen, while recently crowned Mr PE, André Fourie, along with this year’s other dashing Finalists added a touch of macho magic to the event by ceremoniously escorting the 18 finalists in to the evening’s festivities.
Michelle Brown, chairman of BWA’s local branch and Vice-President of BWA South Africa, said the Association’s flagship event marked 35 years of celebrating “the courage, achievement and leadership of South African women in business”. “The calibre of our 2014 RBAA winners and finalists is exceptional and we at the PE BWA Branch are so very proud of what these women have achieved, and will continue to achieve, beyond this initiative,” she said.
Highly acclaimed entrepreneur Mabuza-Suttle, who now lives and works in the United States, said she was particularly proud that BWA made education of girl children its primary focus. The PE BWA runs a number of outreach programmes aimed at supporting and uplifting school going girls in the region, including an informative annual Grade 12 Workshop.