Top Women Business Unusual Podcast

TOPCO MEDIA  |  Podcast , ±1 hour episodes every 2 weeks  | 
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.

Subscribe to this channel

You can subscribe to new audio episodes published on this channel. You can follow updates using the channel's RSS feed, or via other audio platforms you may already be using.

RSS Feed

You can use any RSS feed reader to follow updates, even your browser. We recommend using an application dedicated to listening podcasts for the best experience. iOS users can look at Overcast or Castro. Pocket Casts is also very popular and has both iOS and Android versions. Add the above link to the application to follow this podcast channel.


This channel is available on Spotify. Follow the link above to view episodes on Spotify.

Signup to

Sign up for a free user account to start building your playlist of podcast channels. You'll be able to build a personalised RSS feed you can follow or listen with our web player.

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).

Leanne Manas on the secrets of being a successful journalist and the importance of being heard

Originally shy and introverted, Leanne Manas found a voice and a dream. As one of South Africa’s most prominent journalists and news anchors, she certainly found her way. What sets Leanne apart from many others who do what she does is her steadfast belief in what she’s there to do. Leanne wholeheartedly maintains that she’s not there to teach anyone a lesson or change their mind − she’s there to listen and give people a voice. “I’m not a court of law and never will be,” she says. From Leanne’s perspective, her role is to inform people and let them decide for themselves.

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Head of Marketing, Karla Fletcher, sits down with Leanne to discuss a host of topics, from the importance of having a safe space to what keeps her grounded in South Africa. Leanne shares some of the vital lessons she’s learned throughout her career and dives into what it really means to make a change.

Leanne Manas is a South African TV presenter at the SABC especially known as the anchor of the flagship show, Morning Live. Manas has a BA (Hons) in English and Communications and a diploma in Speech and Drama teaching from Trinity College London. Her interest in finance journalism led her to completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Economics Journalism from Rhodes University.
Manas's broadcasting career started in 2001, with the anchoring role at the Essential Business Channel Summit TV. This lasted until 2003. While working in Essential Business Channel Summit TV, she started hosting the SABC 3 programmes, Business Update and Business Focus. In 2004 Manas became the presenter on South Africa’s longest-running breakfast programme, SABC 2’s Morning Live.
Manas has worked for radio stations such as Radio Algoa, Jacaranda FM, SAfm and East Coast Radio.
She was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador by UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency in January 2019.

The importance of staying in your lane with Becky Motumo

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media Director, Karla Fletcher, sits down with Becky Motumo − Sports Talent & Brand Manager for Caster Semenya and Carol Tshabalala. Becky is also a radio personality and fitness model who believes whole-heartedly in empowering young South African girls and pointing them in directions which they may not originally have considered. She believes in recognising what you’re good at and knowing how to use it.

Becky, Caster and Carol are a formidable trio. The three of them are committed to empowering young girls and familiarising them with the idea that sport-related jobs are not only for men. Becky discusses the importance of staying in your lane, not taking no for an answer, and how she navigates managing high-profile brands as well as her own.

Becky Polane Motumo is a sports talent and brand manager for Carol Tshabalala and Caster Semenya. She is also a radio personality, fitness model and mother. Becky worked for South African Tourism until 2014 when she met and partnered with Carol Tshabalala.

The benefits of being audacious and taking risks with Tara Fela-Durotoye

Tara Fela-Durotoye is an entrepreneurial powerhouse. But more than that, she is real. As a beauty entrepreneur, lawyer and founder of House of Tara, she has received multiple national and international awards for her contribution to the industry and active role in entrepreneurship and empowerment among women. Although Tara is undoubtedly an expert in the field of entrepreneurship, she remains open to learning new things and takes ownership of her mistakes. Tara’s philosophy for getting what you require? Have the audacity to ask for what you want and make no apologies for it.
In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with Tara to discuss entrepreneurship, the key to being able to sell your product and the hard truth that relationships (in all areas of life) take work and consistency.

Tara Fela-Durotoye is a Nigerian beauty entrepreneur and lawyer. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, she launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studios and established the first makeup school in Nigeria.
She is the founder and CEO of House of Tara International and creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range. She is considered a major force in the Nigerian female entrepreneurship community having created an impact business that has empowered tens of thousands of beauty entrepreneurs through the "Tara Beauty Entrepreneur" initiative.
In 2007, Tara was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa and in 2013, Forbes listed her as one 20 Young Power Women in Africa.
She is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme, Abu Dhabi, Yale University, The Stanford SEED Transformation Programme, and the Harvard Kennedy School having completed the Global Leadership and Public Policy in the 21st century, She is a member of the France/Nigeria Investment club which was incorporated in 2018 by the French President.

Youth Innovation Entrepreneurship Design Institute’s Jayshree Naidoo on entrepreneurship and choosing your own path

In this week’s Topco Business Unusual podcast, Karla Fletcher sits down with Jayshree Naidoo − CEO of YiEDi.

According to Jayshree the output of entrepreneurship is innovation. In terms of entrepreneurship, Jayshree knows what she’s talking about. As a technical expert in helping entrepreneurs, Jayshree and her company focus on innovation and strategy consulting, incubation design and management, entrepreneurship and supplier development and digital and eLearning solutions.

Karla and Jayshree discuss the ins and outs of entrepreneurship − the good, the bad and the ugly. Jayshree shares her experience and knowledge on what it takes to make it as an entrepreneur in South Africa. She discusses the importance of believing in one’s self and one’s work, as well as how women can continue to uplift and support each other in a world where we are conditioned to sit down and listen.

Jayshree Naidoo is the CEO of YIEDI. She has developed several frameworks and models for Innovation and Incubation and has created several structured acceleration programmes for Start-ups and Growth Entrepreneurs as well as Leadership Programmes for Corporates.

She was the founder and Head of the Standard Bank Incubator programme that focused on growing and developing entrepreneurs and improving the innovation stack of the bank and its corporate clients. The seven pillar Incubator model that she created was also applied to launch the 1st Incubator outside of South Africa for the bank within Maputo in Mozambique.

She has held several leadership roles in SA that include positions at Development Bank of Southern Africa, Discovery, ABSA and Internet Solutions. She was previously the CEO of Feenix, a crowd funding platform for students launched by the bank, a board member of JASA (Junior Achievement South Africa), as well as the Chairperson of SAINe (The Southern African Innovation Network), and held a seat on NACI (The National Advisory Council on Innovation).

Janine Ahlers on looking inwards and addressing the misconceptions around coaching

When it comes to coaching − both personal and professional − there is often a massive misconception around how it’s done and what the goal is. What generally comes to mind is sitting down with someone and being given a set of instructions on how to do things. For this reason, coaching often gets a negative connotation, especially from those who struggle to take orders. =

There’s a science behind coaching and a strong link to neuroscience. In order to create change, we need to understand how the brain naturally functions. Coaching, which ultimately aims to transform the way people think, react and behave, takes into account how the brain reacts to change so that strategies can be aligned and implemented accordingly. Our brains have their own inherent way of doing things, but unfortunately, sometimes wires can get crossed and we need a little help.

Contrary to what many people think, professional and personal coaching is not about giving advice or being told what to do. It’s about being readily equipped with the tools needed in order to improve performance in various aspects. There has been a shift away from telling people what to do and towards making suggestions and collaborating as a team. Moving towards a coaching culture means adopting a specific style in which we interact with people both inside and outside the workplace.

As a professional Integral Coach and Academic Director of the Centre for Coaching , Janine Ahlers is a guru in the field of Integral Coaching − a form of coaching with a sound theoretical base. In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher sits down with Janine to discuss the ins and outs of coaching, why we should always look inwards and the secrets to successful leadership.

Reinventing business models during the pandemic with Kate Moodley

Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media speaks to Kate Moodley, author of I INC: Be the CEO of your Brand and Franchise Director for Discovery Consulting Services. Kate is a former Top Woman Business Woman of the Year and Top Women Executive winner at Topco Media’s 8th annual Top Women Awards.

Being a new mother and an entrepreneur has required all of Kate’s multitasking skills and support structure – and she is flying!

Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco, speaks to Kate about the role of women in a modern workspace and how it is suddenly clear to see the challenges women overcome that are different for men, and how women in business are making impact in society.

Kate is an accomplished business woman with a number of academic qualifications which include a Master’s in Law. She began her career in legal but quickly moved into the financial services industry - insurance in particular. Kate has gone from strength to strength starting as a Candidate Attorney with Deneys Reitz. She became a Legal Advisor with Old Mutual in 2003 and moved on to Momentum as a Business Development Manager for Momentum in 2005. Her career grew markedly in Momentum as she established herself first as a Regional Manager and then moved on to General Manager (Executive Management). In 2010, she took the courageous step of becoming a Franchise Director at Discovery - essentially running her own business under the Discovery umbrella. In 2012 Kate published I INC: Be the CEO of your Brand. She was voted one of the Top 200 South Africans by Mail & Guardian and won top Business Woman and Executive for South Africa. Kate was also awarded CEOs SA’s Most Influential Woman in Business and Government for Insurance.

Talking COVID-19, leadership and failing forward with Sygnia CEO, Magda Wierzycka

In this week’s Top Women podcast, Ralf Fletcher sits down with renowned businesswomen, billionaire and anti-corruption activist, Magda Wierzycka. Magda, who defines the notion of building yourself from the ground up, is a powerhouse and force to be reckoned with in the South African economy. She’s built seven companies, is currently preparing for her role as CEO of The Apprentice South Africa in 2021 and runs for two hours a day on the treadmill.

Magda and Ralf discuss COVID-19 and the way the South African economy and country as a whole has been impacted, the importance of having a steadfast mindset about what you want and how the market is changing during this time. Magda explains her outlook on a realm of topics, from stocks to #BlackLivesMatter and what separates leaders from followers. Talking to Magda Wierzycka about her incredible journey to success was an absolute honour and we hope you learn a thing or two from this insightful video podcast

Magda Wierzycka was born in Gliwice, Poland. She is a South African billionaire and businesswoman and is the co-founder and CEO of Sygnia Ltd. Magda’s career in the financial services industry began in 1993 when she became a product development and investment actuary at the Southern Life Association for Mutual Life and Accident. While at Southern Life, she paid back her bursary then spent two years building an asset consulting division as an investment consultant for the retirement fund clients of Alexander Forbes. She joined Coronation Fund Managers, a third-party fund management company based in Cape Town, in 1997 as a director and Head of Institutional Business. At Coronation, she played a pivotal role in making the company one of the largest asset management firms in South Africa.
After her stint at Coronation, Wierzycka became the CEO of the African Harvest Group. In 2006, she negotiated the sale of Metallon Corporation’s African Harvest Fund Managers, a R18 billion asset management company, to Cadiz Asset Manag


“The job of leadership is to create more leaders” – Funeka Montjane

This week we are joined by Standard Bank SA’s Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking, Funeka Montjane, and Chief Information Officer, Khomotso Molabe. In conversation with Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media, Funeka and Khomotso share their insights on the significance of one’s heritage, their tips on how to keep up with change and why entrepreneurship is so vital right now. They discuss the importance of giving the South African youth a chance to move forward in their own ways, while simultaneously taking on the responsibility of becoming role models.

Prior to her current role as Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking, Funeka Montjane held positions as the Head of Credit PBB SA, Head of Home Loans PBB SA and Chief Financial Officer PBB SA. As a qualified Chartered Accountant with a Master of Commerce degree from the University of Johannesburg, Funeka brings with her a wealth of knowledge both inside and outside the workplace. Amongst many of her achievements, Funeka was voted Top Woman Executive and Top Woman of the Year in Business at the 2012 Top Women Awards.

Chief Information Officer, Khomotso Molabe is a well-known industry thought leader in digital client experience transformation. Having trained as a chemical engineer, he started his career in component manufacturing and eventually became the production manager for the largest Johnson Matthey plant in the world. Khomotso went on to complete an MBL degree and this resulted in a 360° career change. He joined Standard Bank in Group Operations in 2008. Khomotso is a recipient of the DOW Sentrachem Award for outstanding Academic Achievement at Undergraduate Level and Quality Improvement Award as well as the Standard Bank 2010 True Blue Top 100 Award.

5 principles of success from a car retailer to tech entrepreneurs

In this week’s Business Unusual Podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down to chat to Essa Suleman, Director of Woodford. Essa places “customer excellence” at the heart of what he does. This differs from customer service in that he shifts focus away from simply providing customers with service, rather focusing on providing them with the excellence he believes all customers deserve. Having worked at Woodford for over ten years, Essa has a wealth of knowledge in the field of car rentals.

Ralf and Essa dive into an exciting conversation, touching on everything from how to provide customers with the personal service they deserve, to religion and the way it helps many people navigate work success. Among other topics, Essa talks us through his top five principles of success − service excellence, the importance of technology, the team you surround yourself with, relationships, and respect and humility.

Essa Suleman joined Woodford Car Hire in January 2010 as Operations Director and became Director in 2017. Before joining Woodford, he was a flight instructor at Loutzavia Flight Schools, training upcoming pilots. Essa operates out of the Durban area and is passionate about customer care and service excellence.

Woodford Car Hire is South Africa’s largest independent car rental company, with a national footprint at all major airports and centres and a fleet of over 1600 vehicles across three core divisions. After 25 years, Woodford Car Hire and the Woodford Group remain a family-owned company, ensuring that there’s a personal touch to their service and a commitment to growing Woodford's loyal base of clientele.

The Woodford Group is a homegrown company that has never been afraid to venture abroad and explore the use of innovative practices, tools and technologies. That means that as a local independent, Woodford combines the best of understanding the local market while still being on the leading edge of innovation in the industry.

Dr Glenda Gray - Freedom of Expression and Equal Opportunity


Born and raised in Boksburg, South Africa, Glenda Gray knew from the age of six that she would become a doctor. In this week’s Top Women podcast, Topco Media CEO, Ralf Fletcher, sits down with the leading physician, scientist and activist. As the first ever woman president and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council, Glenda has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She is a strong activist for the equal rights of women and girls, and was listed as one of Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women" by Forbes Africa in 2020. With a strong view that as a society, we need to provide young disadvantaged individuals with opportunities in science and technology, Glenda shares her hope for the future in terms of education and how equal opportunity will play out in the coming years.

Glenda and Ralf dive into all things education, medicine and science. They discuss the current challenges of COVID-19 − considering a wide range of factors that need to be taken into account during this time. They talk about the lesser-discussed factors of the virus as well as how it presents itself in the bigger picture.

Glenda Elisabeth Gray MB BCh, FC Paeds, DSc (hc), OMS is a South African physician, scientist and activist specialising in the care of children and in HIV medicine. In 2012 she was awarded South Africa's highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver). She became the first female president of the South African Medical Research Council in 2014, was recognised as one of the "100 Most Influential People" by TIME in 2017 and was listed amongst "Africa's 50 Most Powerful Women" by Forbes Africa in 2020. Her research expertise involves developing microbicides for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV vaccines

36 episodes

« Back 13—24 More »