A group of 100 invited Grade 12 girls attending the seventh annual Port Elizabeth Businesswomen’s Association (BWA) Grade 12 Workshop, held at Linkside High School on Friday 17 April 2015, were inspired with to achieve their full potential with “Courage and leadership”.
This annual event is viewed as one of the city’s key initiatives in reaching out to young girls preparing for their future after school. This will put them in a better position to contribute to the mainstream economy.
The inspiring and informative workshop, presented to learners from 10 schools in the city, covered topics from entrepreneurial spirit, presented by Dr Sharon Munyaka (Sharon Munyaka Incorporated) to the pitfalls in the social media minefield by Liesl Fourie (JGS Attorneys), practical financial tips by Lesley Dilley (Standard Bank), as well as professional image consultant Solette Rhodes’ advice on dressing to make a good impression.
Dr Munyaka’s advice was, “Clear your mind in what you need to do. People are amazing and will make things work. Make sure that you stand out and that you are counted among the best. Love whatever you do – love it enough to fight for it and own it.”
Other top speakers included Nozibele Qamngana (external relations manager at Ubuntu Education Fund) sharing her life story from schooling at Ubuntu, assisted studies at NMMU, employment at Continental Tyres, a one year exchange experience in Germany to come back full circle to Ubuntu. This way she emphasised that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!
She said, “It is always a pleasure for me to speak to young girls, because I resonate with where they are currently. Having to chase a career for the rest of one’s life, is not easy. However, it becomes easier when one does introspection and defines who you are, what drives you and what your passion is. Most importantly, one’s birthplace should not determine your future.”
BWA chairperson Michelle Brown urged the girls to follow the organisation’s philosophy by passing on their newfound knowledge. “At BWA we strive to lead the way for younger generations of businesswomen to develop, be empowered and inspired so that they, in turn, can leave a legacy for others to follow,” she said.
This year, participating schools included Cillie, Linkside, Walmer, Booysens Park, Ethembeni Enrichment Centre, Alexander Road, Otto du Plessis, Andrew Rabie, David Livingstone and for the first time learners from the Ubuntu Education Fund.
Attendees at the generously sponsored workshop each received a goody bag of gifts, a comprehensive manual of the morning’s presentations as well as enjoying a light lunch.
Linkside High School learner, Chantel van Heerden said, “This is an awesome opportunity for us to learn and grow. It is amazing to see that there are more opportunities than one would have thought. Don’t doubt yourself – you can do it.”
Thembeka Jana, teacher from Walmer High School, said, “This programme empowers our young girls who are our future leaders. We appreciate the organisers and sponsors who made this possible. It would be great to transfer this knowledge to those who did not have the opportunity to be here today.”
Students from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s voluntary leadership programme, Beyond the Classroom (BTC), helped bridge the generations and facilitated networking and discussion amongst the girls from different schools and backgrounds.
“As they are young women too, and have walked in the same shoes, it is the ideal association,” Michelle said.
The key sponsors at the 2015 event were Global Load Control, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Dr Sharon Munyaka, GDL Photography, Spec Savers and Solette Rhodes Image Consulting.
NMMU student Ibanathi Nonkeneza shared her advice, “Whatever you do, don’t only do it for yourselves, but also inspire the person next to you.”
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