Business Lessons from Successful Business Leaders in SA (The Female Edition)

by Claire Minnaar


With this article, I hope to impart some inspirational stories with you, from successful female leaders who have shown us all how it’s done. I hope that this will inspire all the independent women out there, as to how all of us as sisters can be doing it for ourselves.

From newly retired to the recently graduated, more and more people are taking the step to start up their own businesses.

But it’s always best to practice some caution, and one of the business lessons that you don’t want to learn the hard way is going without business insurance. So many people underestimate the importance of securing the assets that are pivotal to the furtherance of their business operations and business goals. When you have your business much like owning your own home or vehicle, you require that additional security.  It’s one of those things, whereby the inherent requirements of the services that you offer entail certain valuables; be it technological devices or software services… should anything happen to these, through theft or damage that was out of your hands – you’ll be running at a loss, before you manage to breakeven.

Besides the big lessons, which involve being frugal with your finances and conceptualising the different methods which could go about increasing your return on investment (ROI). Today we discuss a few of SA’s successful business women and their stories of success not to mention their business lessons.

Maria Ramos

A super power unto herself, former Director General of the Treasury and CEO of Transnet has proved herself over and over again, long before she married the countries Minister of Finance (Trevor Manuel). Now the CEO of Absa Bank, her story is another which demonstrates that if you really want something and set your mind to it, impossible is nothing. Having to start her career earlier to support her family, she started out as a clerk at Barclays.0. At the time, there was a scholarship programme that she had wanted to apply for, however they only accepted applications from men. Despite the barrier, she was not put off by the bend in the road and applied all the same and managed to get her scholarship and that was the start to her successful career.

#Business Lesson: Perseverance and persistence is key to career growth and success

Pam Golding

We’ve all heard her name before and not just locally. Pam Golding bears true testament to the possibilities in building something out of nothing.  Having founded the Pam Golding Property Group in 1976 with time, professional client communication and excellent service delivery she built the Pam Golding Group into the force to be reckoned with that it is today.

#Business Lesson: Professional service delivery is everything.

Theresa Cupido

Recently an article was showcased on ‘How we made it in Africa’ and the CEO Theresa shared her thoughts about the challenges that are faced to women working in a male dominated industry. From what she mentioned, it seems like you need volumes of courage, and as with most career choices you need to be ready to make your fair share of sacrifices.

#Business Lesson: Read the fine print carefully and there will be times when success will require sacrifice.

Connie Ferguson

Also previously known as Karabo Moroka, from the ‘Generations’ soap, Connie Ferguson seems to have always had a passion for film at the root of her heart. Together with her husband Shona she has now recently started up Ferguson Films, and has decided to remain off air, while they get their production company off foot and she continues managing her skin care range, though there are rumours that she might be back on the old soap soon (if you were a regular follower – keep your eyes peeled)

#Business Lesson: Sometimes ‘production work is just about juggling everything and doing everything to the best of your abilities’ as referenced in the Namibian sun.

Claire Minnaar

While I may not be considered a serious leader in South Africa, I’m a business woman and I thought I would throw my two cents worth in this blog post. Having been a programmer since I was 19 and having worked in various industry developing companies business systems and having run my own business for 10 years, my #Business Lesson is: Preparation, planning, consistency and good service can separate you from the rest!

But these are just a few of Africa’s successful women, there are many more i.e.  Helen Zille, Patricia de Lille, woman that are all trying to make an active difference in our country, leaving their mark in this world. I hope that this has gotten some your attention and given you that extra bit of chutzpah to embrace your goals and follow your dreams.



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