The Sandton Hilton set the scene for an awards evening to top all others last night – after a long and rigorous process, the winners of the 8thAnnual Accenture Rising Star Awards were announced.

The awards are for young, talented employees (our future CEOs) in the 28-40 year age category and the winners are:

  • Banking & Financial Services

Sponsored by Bryte Insurance

                  Trevelene Sewnundan, Standard Bank

  • Construction & Engineering

                  Elizabeth Foli, Gibela Rail Transport Consortium

  • Energy & Environment

                  Grace Olukune, Eskom

  • Entrepreneur

                  Sheila Afari, Sheila Afari PR

  • ICT

                  Zimkhita Buwa, Britehouse a Division of Dimension Data

  • Manufacturing, Retail & FMCG

Sponsored by BAT

                  Roxanne Renecke, Diageo

  • Media & Advertising

Thomas Mofolo, Mofolo Media Marketing                

  • Mining & Minerals

                  Sindi Nyirenda, Glencore

  • Professional Services

Sponsored by Accenture

                  AshfordNyatsumba, Webber Wentzel

  • Service: Public & Private

                  Koketso                  Marishane, Marishane Authority

  • Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality

Sponsored by Hilton

Brendon Hart, Hyatt

  • Transport, Logistics & Security

                  JacquesGreeff, Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions

As headline sponsor, Accenture is committed to identifying and celebrating talent across South Africa. “Every year we are impressed with the calibre of entries from our country’s talented young workforce, and this year is no different,” says Samantha Weinreich from Accenture Human Resources – Talent Acquisition. “We had another excellent group of finalists going through to the last round, and the judges had their work cut out for them!”

The awards were well-attended, with representatives from every industry excited to see which winner would represent their industry this year. Hosted by MC Tumi Morake and entertainment by Lira, the Accenture Rising Star Awards were a star-studded affair.

The event was opened by the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Mrs Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and the Keynote Speaker was Lillian Barnard, MD of Microsoft SA.

The past seven years have seen these awards grow from strength to strength, each year identifying, recognising and celebrating the young talent that South Africa has to offer. “We are delighted to have had so many entries from across the country identifying such a broad range of corporate and public sector talent,” says Laura Barker, Managing Director of BlackBark Productions, organisers of the Rising Star Programme. “It is encouraging to see these awards grow year-on-year – it means our goal of recognising and developing talent is real.”

The evening was a night to remember, for none more so than this year’s winners. “I’d like to congratulate each and every winner here tonight, you are all an inspiration to young, talented individuals all around the country,” said Barker. “I look forward to working with you in the Rising Star network and programme, and seeing you grow into even bigger successes!”

ACCENTURE RISING STAR AWARDS SPONSORS

Sponsors for the 8thAnnual Accenture Rising Star Awards include Accenture, Bryte Insurance, British American Tobacco, Hilton, Rand Refinery and Mulderbosch Wines. 

Comments from the Winners of the 8thAnnual Accenture Rising Star Awards

Note to journalists: to be used in conjunction with the winners press release. These comments are general comments from the winner in each category, about their experience of the judging process and awards, and may be used in your articles. For an interview with one or more winners, kindly contact us at the details provided below.

WINNERS

Banking & Financial ServicesTrevelene Sewnundan Standard Bank
Construction & IndustrialsElizabeth FoliGibela Rail Transport Consortium
Energy & EnvironmentGrace OlukuneEskom
EntrepreneurSheila AfariSheila Afari PR
ICT (Telecoms & Technology)Zimkhita BuwaBritehouse a Division of Dimension Data
Manufacturing, Retail & FMCGRoxanne ReneckeDiageo
Media & AdvertisingThomas MofoloMofolo Media Marketing
Mining & MineralsSindi NyirendaGlencore
Professional ServicesAshford NyatsumbaWebber Wentzel
Service: Public & PrivateKoketso MarishaneMarishane Authority
Tourism, Leisure & HospitalityBrendon HartHyatt
Transport, Logistics & SecurityJacques GreeffUnitrans Supply Chain Solutions

WINNERS’ COMMENTS 

Banking & Financial Services

Trevelene Sewnundan – Manager, Debt Review Ops Standard Bank 

“The application and judging process allowed me to reflect on my career, to assess those milestones I considered successes and to question whether I am indeed, future fit. Whilst it created the platform for me to showcase my skills and experiences, it allowed me to refocus my lens and to identify with the opportunities that exist for me to reshape myself. The final interview was an empowering experience for me and a great opportunity to display the leader who stands behind the words.

I have learnt a great deal about myself through this process and that is invaluable. I was reminded of my resilient nature, the passion I have for developing others and my purpose. If I do not win, at least I won’t walk away as the person who lost. I gained perspective and I am certainly a better version of myself than when I started the journey.

Construction & Industrials

Elizabeth Foli – Test Engineering Manager, Gibela Rail Transport 

The application and judging process was very intensive. It required me to deeply reflect on my work experiences and identify all the “defining moments” that demonstrate my potential and ability to lead holistically. It opened my eyes to how I have matured and grown over the years, and to identify areas I still need to improve. Interacting with the judging panel afforded me the opportunity to draw wisdom and direction from key leaders of industry. It was a rare opportunity and an honour.

Two main points I will take from the process are:

  • As a leader I have to lead by example; my team will only follow me where I go. 
  • The organizational goals are only achieved if we all consciously work towards them 

So as a leader I have to ensure that my team knows our objectives, how they fit into the organizational objectives, and strive to ensure that I lay a good example for them to follow, both in word and in deed. To be a leader you have to stand out, and to stand out is a conscious decision not to go with the flow.

Energy & Environment

Grace Olukune – Chief Engineer, Eskom 

The application and judging process has been such an honour but also very challenging (in a good way).  I was honoured just to be nominated!  To make it through to the shortlist and making it to the finals has been affirming; yet at the same time I’ve been challenged to communicate my dreams and aspirations in a concise manner. It has set off a spark in me again.

This process made me re-assess where i am in my journey and has also re-ignited my passion for what i am doing. It has reminded me that I AM living out my purpose. Whether i win or not, It has been an absolute honour! This process has confirmed that am doing what needs to be done to make this world a different place because i lived… one day and one step of excellence at a time.

Entrepreneur

Sheila Afari – Managing Director, Sheila Afari PR 

The process to being selected as a finalist was quite a rigorous one and required a lot of reflection into my business operations over the past seven years, my leadership/management style and where I’m taking the business to. I’m highly impressed by the attention to detail that went into the application and judging process. I found all aspects of this experience extremely valuable. 

It’s been quite a while since I really unpacked my journey from an assessment point of view. Win or not, I’ve left this award process clearer about the journey I’m on and more invigorated to keep pushing boundaries and take my business further. During my interview with the judges, there were some good take home points that they raised that I’m definitely going to implement in my business.

ICT (Telecoms & Technology)

Zimkhitha Buwa – COO, Britehouse, a Division of Dimension Data 

I really appreciated how the process challenged us to think differently about areas such as leadership, disruptive technologies and their impact. The initial questions that we had to respond to really made one reflect, think about leadership qualities and be honest about development areas. 

I truly appreciated the part of the selection process where we had to shoot a video. It ended up being a team building session with my team as they helped me put the video together and also featured in it. I will cherish that exercise and the memories created regardless of whether I win or not. The interview panel provided incredible insights as we were given a case study on the future of retail and how one can use technology to enhance the shopper’s experience! Incredible learning experience regardless of what happens tonight, thank you for the opportunity!

Manufacturing, Retail & FMCG

Roxanne Renecke Commercial Planning and Activations Manager, Diageo 

The Rising Star Awards process has been thorough and intense, however this has taken me on a journey of introspection allowing me to take a closer look at my, strengths, weaknesses and my own individual leadership style. From this I have realised the areas I need to apply myself to in order to be the best team mate, leader and industry specialist. 

Out of the process I will take with me a new-found confidence in my capabilities and aspirations with the assurance that anything is possible through hard work and commitment.

The process has encouraged me to constantly keep improving in all aspects professional and personal and at the same time it has showed me the power in empowering individuals, which I hope to carry with me long after this process and throughout my career.

Media & Advertising

Thomas Mofolo – Chief Brand Communications Consultant, Mofolo Media Marketing Communications 

I think the first two areas of assessment (written assignment and video presentation) in the application were pretty straightforward and standard however that being said the last stage of the process was absolutely incredible. The case study provided in the final stage of the assessment was very stimulating and the panel of judges reviewing the candidates was phenomenal. I was really inspired and energized by the environment at Accenture’s head office and found the panel of judges to be very welcoming and progressive thinkers. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to the entire judging process.

My biggest takeout from the entire process will be the insight into how forward-thinking some South Africans organizations have become. We live in a fairly conservative country which is usually very slow in adapting to the latest trends and is very risk-averse to investing in new ideas but based on my experience at the end of the rising star awards process I have much more hope in our country to be at the forefront of innovation.

Mining & Minerals

Sindi Nyirenda – Technical Services Manager, Glencore 

I was nominated by my previous line manager. It was such an honour for me. Going through the different assessments was manageable, it was not demanding. The system was running efficiently when submitting. I think the content was very relevant to young upcoming leaders.

This process encouraged me to demand more from myself and aggressively chase my goals. It also gave me a view of the calibre of a leader in the future. I will focus more on the 5 characteristics of a leader and apply it my work environment. It was humbling to see that senior people in the organisation recognise my abilities and believe in me.

Professional Services

Ashford Nyatsumba – Partner, Webber Wentzel 

I found the application and judging process to be rigorous and intense. In many respects it required one to stretch themselves to think about a number of aspects to one’s approach to leadership and navigating the workplace that I had probably taken for granted. The process required me to dig deep and truly apply my mind to what sets me apart in the workplace and what my contribution is to a successful future. Both the application and judging processes although time consuming and challenging in many respects, were also rewarding in that rigour of both processes tested me in ways I had not yet been tested in my professional career to date.

The final judging round and my engagement with the panel of judges will stay with me forever, it was a genuinely fantastic experience. The level of discussion and the insights received from each of the panellists all of who are industry leaders and/or experts at human resource management, are invaluable. In addition, the opportunity to meet other finalists and interact with them has been an eye opener and from that I have broadened my horizons and made useful contacts that I otherwise would not have made.

Service: Public & Private

Koketso Marishane – Youth Envoy, Marishane Authority 

The whole Rising Star Awards process was competitive, rigorous and personally inspiring as it required deep retrospection. From the initial stage of being informed of the nomination, the long essay questions and the troublesome video contest made every step a thrilling challenge. I most particularly enjoyed the final stage of the interview, with the panel of the most friendly judges, as I felt the case study was futuristic in the real life aspect. 

Throughout the process, it reminded me of my great leadership responsibility towards people and my country, and that I still have space for growth and development in pursuit of my professional aspirations towards becoming the kind of leader I need to be. I’m thus privileged as a finalist as it unlocks yet another professional network of associates and, I can safely say that the whole process was professionally handled, and I loved it. Thanks to the nominator, my references and the Rising Star Awards initiators.  

Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality

Brendon Hart – Director, Hyatt Sales Force, Hyatt 

It was an incredibly exciting process going through the various stages of the Accenture Rising Star awards for 2019. The application and judging process was engaging, and I learnt a lot about myself through it. The essay and final stage judging were very interesting; the warmth and intellect of the panel was very impressive; and the case study made me have the think critically and out of the box. I thoroughly enjoyed the process, it was a privilege to have been able to participate. 

Being a part of the Accenture Rising Star awards for 2019 reminded me why I love what I do. I revisited the fundamental structures of my profession which once more reinforced that I am in the correct industry. It also reminded me of the responsibility of management and how paying it forward is an essential measure of leadership. I am blown away by the connections and networks I’ve been lucky enough to meet along this journey and look forward to growing these relationships going forward.

Transport, Logistics & Security

Jacques Greeff – Executive Operational Excellence, Unitrans Supply Chain Solutions 

The prestigious nature of the Accenture Rising Star Awards is not only evident in the sheer magnitude and splendour of the final event evening, it reveals itself during all phases of the process. From the very first round in the application process it was evident that the amount of consideration that goes into selecting the top candidates was a sure sign of the high calibre finalist that would celebrate together on the final evening. The application process was detailed, required a lot of focus and self-reflection, and most importantly pushed you outside of your comfort bubble. The finals were my personal favourite – having the incredible opportunity to rub shoulders with the rising stars across various industries was a phenomenal experience – the judges were highly energised and excited about the process and this only added to the dynamic way in which the final round interviews were conducted. I fully endorse and support any opportunity for young bright minds to come together, apply their skills and hone their respective talents in order to promote and enhance the development of our future business leaders.   

The true victory that must be celebrated in the Accenture Rising Star Awards is the collective recognition given to all young leaders across various industries in South Africa. Motivating and inspiring young leaders to keep pursuing their dreams and goals is what elevates the personal achievement of talented individuals to the collective celebration of leadership growth in our country. The Accenture Rising Star awards allowed me the wonderful opportunity to truly reflect on my own ability to contribute to the greater benefit of all young leaders – Young Leadership Development is the true winner in this process, and this is definitely worth celebrating!

ABOUT THE RISING STAR PROGRAMME

The Rising Star Programme is operated by BlackBark Productions and is now in its eighth year. It recognises, celebrates and connects young talented individuals who have the capacity to excel in their chosen fields, and who contribute to the future of our nature in an inspirational manner. 

Rising Stars are more than just top performers with technical expertise – they are polished, brilliant, and show tremendous promise as future leaders. 

The Programme is a significant and sustainable vehicle through which organisations, our country and our continent can identify and nurture these “organisational and national assets” who are set to play a key role in shaping the future of our country and our continent.

The Rising Star Programme is establishing a living community of young African talent that will be developed, mentored and provided with platforms for development and communication, therefore enabling them to become role models, opinion leaders and the inspiration for other future African Talent.

Rising Star has successfully recognised over 500 talented young individuals over the past seven years in its programme in both South Africa and Kenya. 

Visitwww.risingstarawards.co.za

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