Ellie Gordon and Mindy Goodfriend announce the Adrienne Hall trophy for Breaking Down Barriers at the International Women Presidents Organization (WPO) Conference – Charlotte, North Carolina 3 May 2019.


The Adrienne Hall trophy is awarded to a member, organization, sponsor or chair who has gone above and beyond to collaborate with WPO to forge alliances of extraordinary value for WPO. The award is named for Adrianne Hall who contributed to the successful growth of WPO by making connections that enabled the WPO to provide superior value to the program and continued expansion.


The 2019 award goes to an individual who has made an exceptional contribution to the WPO by reaching across economic, business, social, cultural and international barriers. She has built a high profile WPO contingent in her home country far away from North and South America. When she joined WPO as a chapter chair 10 years ago, she and her mother cut our articles from magazines to build a database of potential members for the first chapter.


Since then her power house members have contributed to $586 000 000 (R8 400 000 000.00) in combined revenues in South Africa. We are honoured to present to Anni Wilhelmi the 2019 Adrianne Hall award for breaking down barriers. Anni is chair of Cape Town Chapter 1, Cape Town Chapter 2, Johannesburg Chapter 1 and Platinum 7 SADC.


Speaking to Wilhelmi, she had this to say “This award speaks to the true entrepreneurial spirit of the women of South Africa. On a daily basis they manage not only common business challenges but also situations outside of their control such as a seesawing currency, politics which impacts business, receding education impacting the labour market and constricted entry to fair financing, to name but a few.


I cannot accept this award as mine alone. I would like it shared with all the entrepreneurial women in my country and each and every WPO member, who break down daily barriers to grow our economy whilst making a difference as employers. WPO celebrates 10 years in SA this year and in this time, members have contributed to the immense success of their fellow members businesses – resulting in growing the economy and a providing a strong peer support base for second stage entrepreneurs. I believe WPO has positively impacted the entrepreneurial sector significantly and am proud of this achievement .


I also share it with my mother Ireley who has been the greatest influence on my life, never allowing me to give up on my purpose of empowering women in business


Lastly and in my own way I hope this accolade speaks to a promise I made when my business crashed more than 5 years ago and I let people down. The promise was to ‘pay back and forward’ wherever possible to the business sector, using my negative experiences in a positive way so that business owners would have options when making seemingly impossible decisions. The award has reminded me to renew this promise.”

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