Top Women Business Unusual Podcast

TOPCO MEDIA  |  Podcast , ±1 hour episodes every 2 weeks, 1 day  | 
Ever wondered what’s different about successful people? Business, policy and society are interwoven… and the future always allows us to see things differently. What sort of life do we really want? A disrupter is always looking at things from a different perspective. Let’s take a journey away from short termism and start looking at a better future. Meet the interesting people empowering women in Africa – and the way we work, think and live.

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Are you experiencing Tangible Value Impact through Tech? – meet Mushfiqoh Samodien, Director at Aspire Solutions

Business Director at Aspire Solutions, Mushfiqoh Samodien, is celebrated for her passion for South African businesses, out-the-box thinking, and her incredible keynote speaking capabilities. As the recipient of the 2020 Standard Bank Top Women Award, in the ‘Top Woman in Tech’ category, Mushfiqoh continues to aim higher in her field and hopes to educate others along the way. A mom who takes keeping healthy seriously and a true role model, she has shown exemplary leadership and a knack for juggling multiple roles on a daily basis.

In the latest Standard Bank Top Women podcast, Fiona Wakelin, Head of Editorial for Topco Media, engages in conversation with Mushfiqoh Samodien to discuss tangible value impact through technology, pivoting during the pandemic, and why networking is key. Mushfiqoh touches on finding work/life balance, female entrepreneurship, and why practicing gratitude leads to more success.

Is your content making an impact? Aisha Baker, “The Accidental Entrepreneur”

Founder and Owner of Baked Online, Aisha Baker-Parnell is an award-winning digital content creator and entrepreneur with a flair for all things beauty, fashion and lifestyle. One of South Africa’s most beloved style icons and businesswomen, Aisha is a remarkable example of the results that can come from utilising social media to its full potential. Today, as a mother of two and wife to cricketer Wayne Parnell, Aisha continues to be an iconic creative through her eclectic array of entrepreneurial endeavours.

In her latest podcast, Aisha Baker sits down with Topco Media’s Head of Marketing, Karla Fletcher, to discuss her successful transition from online blogging to making real-world change. Aisha goes into depth on how she juggles everything, finds inspiration for her next big business move, and how the term ‘influencer’ is set to evolve in coming years.

“The liberation of women needs to be a global movement!”– Sodfa Daaji, Campaign Coordinator Nala Feminist Collective

Having faced tradegy as a teenage girl, today Sodfa Daaji is a remarkable Women's Rights Advocate, who is passionate about Feminist Jurisprudence. Currently, Sodfa is the Campaign Coordinator for the Nala Feminist Collective – guided by the Africa Young Women Beijing+25 Manifesto targeting the political, digital and offline spaces - its areas of work focus on Advocacy, Research and Fellowships. She is also the Executive Director of the African Legal Think Tank on Women's Rights.

In her latest podcast, Sodfa sits down with the Head of Editorial for Topco Media, Fiona Wakelin, to discuss her 28 year journey within the Women’s Rights space. Sodfa provides insight into women-led research, mainstreaming gender amongst youth clusters, the current digital divide women are facing, and the on-going struggle across the globe for gaining access to justice. She also provides in-depth understandings of ‘The Feminine’, technologically-facilitated gender-based violence, and the liberation of women in disaster-struck regions.

Rolene Strauss inspires women in SA: “Self-confidence is key to personal growth”

Rolene Strauss’s life, since winning Miss SA and being crowned Miss World in 2014, has been one of total transformation. A leading woman in many spheres, Rolene’s initial passion was Medicine, which she studied before getting married and becoming a mother. For Rolene, family comes first, thus, she understands the many roles women have to juggle on a daily basis whilst trying to achieve all the goals they’ve set for themselves. She believes that if she opens up about her self-confidence journey and shares valuable insight, many women will be able to uplift themselves and find their true purpose in life, living unapologetically and being the best version of themselves.

In this week’s Standard Bank Top Women podcast, Karla Fletcher, the Head of Marketing at Topco Media, sits down with Rolene for a motivational discussion surrounding women rediscovering self-confidence, changing the narrative, and how women in South Africa can equip themselves to successfully climb the ladder towards positive leadership. Rolene provides key insight into maintaining a work/life balance, getting the most out of your personal growth journey, and overcoming stereotypes and domestic gaps.

Together we build it - Extremely Together Hajer Sharief

Together we build it - Extremely Together Hajer Sharief on democracy and youth empowerment

Hajer Sharief, co-founder of the Together We Build it NGO in Libya and an Extremely Together Young Leader of the Kofi Annan Foundation, is known for playing a key role in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. An initiative of the Kofi Annan Foundation's Extremely Together initiative, Hajer has also assisted in designing the first ever youth-led countering violent extremism toolkit. A former member of the UN Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security, Hajer is a recognised UN Women Champion on Women, Peace, Security and Human Rights, and has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this year.

In this week’s Business Unusual Podcast, Karla Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Topco Media, chats with Hajer on how she began her peacebuilding journey and what inspired her to take this path. Hajer goes in depth on topics surrounding democracy and gender norms, as she discusses sensitive womens’ issues and the importance of womens’ participation in debates geared towards societal change.

As a human rights advocate and the co-founder of “Together we build it”, Hajer Sharief promotes gender equality and the participation of women and youth in peacebuilding efforts in Libya. She was selected by the UN Secretary-General to serve as a member of the Advisory Group of Experts for the Progress Study on Youth, Peace and Security mandated by UNSCR 2250. Hajer is also one of the twelve UN Women Champions on Women, Peace, Security and Human Rights.

Women Need More Access! - Dr. Vera Songwe highlights economic harmony & gender peace goals

Born in Kenya, Dr. Vera Songwe is a highly regarded economist and banking executive, with a long history of providing policy advice on development and a wealth of experience in delivering development results for Africa, as well as a demonstrated strong and clear strategic vision for the continent. Vera took up the role as the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in August 2017 - at the level of Under Secretary-General. Dr. Songwe has, to date, published multiple resources and policy ideas on development and economic issues.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Karla Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Topco Media, engages in conversation with Dr. Songwe for an incredibly insightful discussion on Digitalisation in Africa, Gender Peace, and creating better access for all. Vera addresses the need to accelerate women in Africa, young girls having access to good mentors, Identity and registration issues, and formalising the African economy.

‘We are human after all’ - Prof Shirley Zinn discusses growth, generosity & how to live a purposeful life

Born and raised in the Cape Flats area, Professor Shirley faced many challenges, but defied all odds, obtaining an M.Ed from the University of the Western Cape, and eventually completing a PhD at Harvard University. She successfully transitioned into the HR space, working as the Group Executive for HR at Nedbank and HR Director at Standard Bank South Africa. In 2008, Shirely was awarded ‘Top Business Women of the Year’ at the annual Top Women Awards. Today, she is a Consultant, running her own business, and is the published Author of Swimming Up Stream (2015) – a must read which truly inspires human endeavour. Shirely is incredibly passionate about leadership, equality and empowerment - a passion which informs her strong work ethic.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Karla Fletcher, Head of Marketing at Topco Media, engages in conversation with Prof Shirley Zinn for an incredibly motivational talk on ‘purpose-driven, value-based leadership’, and making a lasting, positive impact on society - and Africa at large. Shirley addresses new leadership paradigms, the growing importance of developing ‘soft skills’, practicing gratitude in all spheres of life, and committing to constant self-improvement.

Visualising success and security: a talk on cybertech and youth empowerment with Anna Collard

Anna Collard, SVP Content Strategy and Evangelist at KnowBe4 Africa, stepped into the Cyber Security and Tech space merely by ‘coincidence’, as she puts it. If anything, she is the perfect example of the saying ‘If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead your right into your purpose’. Anna, who is of German roots, has spent 20 years in the field, and is extremely passionate about raising awareness around safe online practices, phishing tactics and empowering young women in tech. A mom, avid runner, and techpreneur, she was the recipient of the Women in Tech Award, during Africa Tech Week 2020, for her commitment to technological innovation and actionable transformation in the field of Risk and Security.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media engages in conversation with Anna Collard to unpack critical themes relating to being a techpreneur in SA, navigating through acquisitions, cyber crime and gender empowerment. Anna also goes in depth on security subjects, such as 4IR, targeted customized phishing tactics, nifty Google Tools, and online psychological behaviour that is detrimental to cyber security - with specific reference to Amygdala hijacking.

Andrea Böhmert Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital

Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital, Cape Town, Andrea Böhmert, is passionate about planning how to strategically and successfully scale businesses, and meeting the entrepreneurs responsible for building them. She is actively involved in numerous initiatives aiming to accelerate the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, and is a member of The Institute of Directors in South Africa NPC (IoDSA). Her mandate is simple: Make optimal use of knowledge, networks and funding.
In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media sits down with Andrea Böhmert to discuss a host of venture-capital-related themes, from addressing the COVID-19 induced disruptions and loss of workplace control, to long-term portfolios and making success stories heard. Andrea shines a light on important wisdom and learnings she’s obtained throughout her career as a venture capital enthusiast, and provides solutions on how start-ups and entrepreneurs can secure their place in the entrepreneurial space in South Africa, and globally.

Andrea Böhmert is currently Co-Managing Partner at Knife Capital, located in Cape Town, South Africa. She is a high growth venture investor with extensive experience in all aspects of the investment cycle, and thoroughly enjoys the energy surrounding entrepreneurs. Andrea specialises in many areas, namely Growth Strategy, Exit Readiness, Investment Due Diligence, and International Expansion, for example. Knife Capital is an independent growth equity investment firm focusing on innovation-driven ventures with proven traction. By leveraging knowledge, networks & funding, they accelerate the international expansion of entrepreneurial businesses that achieved a product/market fit in a beachhead market.

How organisations can better manage emerging cultural transitions - Jasmin Pillay

Jasmin Pillay talks on how organisations can better manage emerging cultural transitions alongside spontaneous digital disruption

HR Director of Microsoft South Africa, Jasmin Pillay, is a strong advocate for taking a programmatic approach to cultivating organisations that are seeking out and amplifying the potential of their individual employees. She believes that “the HOW is important”, as South Africa now faces massive transformation and workplace culture shifts, propelling the HR function to greater heights. Her broad portfolio over the years has provided her with direct experience, across a variety of international destinations and multi-nationals, including experience with people management and matrixed business environments.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media sits down with Jasmin Pillay to discuss a host of HR-related topics, from the importance of embracing diversity of thought in organisations to long term investment in upskilling and supporting employees. Jasmin shares insight and valuable lessons that she’s obtained throughout her career at one of the world’s best employers, Microsoft, and sheds light on how to maximise the development of any organisation during Covid-19.

Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer at MTN unpacks her journey and her vision

Fasten your seat belts! This is a powerful conversation! Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer at MTN unpacks her journey and her vision

Last week Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher spoke to award-winning Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer at MTN, Yolanda Cuba. Since winning the Top Empowerment Business Woman of the Year Award in 2006, Yolanda has steadily climbed the ladder to success while staying true to herself, her upbringing and her core values. Success comes with hard hard work and in Yolanda’s case the application of a determined, enquiring mind which was honed in her childhood homes of Cape Town and Jo’burg. It was a tale of two cities, with two realities – both of which had a profound impact on her decision making and aptitude as evidenced in her career choices and where she is today. In Cape Town her mother’s family owned businesses and while other children played TV games she digitised her aunt’s inventory. In Jp’burg her gran lived in a shack and unequivocally taught her the value of education as the key to getting out of poverty. These childhood experiences combined to develop a latent form of enquiry, which over time developed into business interest and then more recently pivoted into a technology-based curiosity. Yolanda’s current driving goals are: To ensure there isn’t anyone who does not have financial access in Africa – and to make sure MTN is the leading digital content provider of relevant solutions for the continent.

Transforming Lives and Communities - Dr Snowy Khoza

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, speaks to multiple award winner Dr Snowy Khoza, Group CEO of Bigen Africa and renowned for driving business growth in the infrastructure development sector. Born into a family which suffered extreme hardship, Dr Khoza has become one of the most influential women on the continent, and is passionate about transforming the lives of disadvantaged communities. Watch this inspiring podcast.

Dr Khoza is a seasoned executive, acknowledged strategist and development activist in the infrastructure development space. She is the Group CEO and previous Executive Chairperson of the Bigen Group. In 2018, she received a Lifetime Achievement in Engineering Award from SA Professional Services, sponsored by Sanlam and she has been nominated to the G20 Business Women Leaders Taskforce. In 2017 she was recognised by the Standard Bank Top Women Awards for her leadership in Bigen Africa - receiving the Top Gender Empowered Infrastructure Development Award.

During her tenure 2011-2016 and now since 2019 July]as CEO of Bigen Group, the company won over 30 business awards. She is respected for her passion in 'doing good while doing business' thus improving the quality of life of people.

Currently Dr Khoza sits at the Water Institute Advisory Board of University of Pretoria. She is an independent non-executive director at UBANK and non-executive chairperson at ETION. She is also the president of Agape Christian Women's Network (ACWN).

34 episodes

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