Motivating and inspiring your mentee may seem like the obvious first step, but it’s your time and attention that will most benefit your mentee. Pledging your time to listen and provide honest feedback is the real game changer. Meeting you and learning from you is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity for your mentee, so please do treat it as such. Mutual respect is a sound basis for your mentorship journey. If you are willing to be present, and to share your experiences and the lessons you’ve learned, then you have what it takes to guide your mentee on the path to success.
Behind every great mentor is a great story waiting to be told. We’ve shared some of them here. For the fast facts and essential elements that led to the leadership successes of these supernovas, be sure to check in frequently on our featured mentors.
From medical doctor to MBA graduate, from healer to human capital developer, Dr Roze Phillips has been making waves wherever she goes. Prior to taking up her post as ABSA Group Executive for People and Culture, she served Accenture for over 20 years in various critical management positions. Along the way, she’s found time to serve as executive sponsor of Born to Succeed Women, an organisation which empowers and upskills unemployed women, and as non-executive director for property investment company Spear. She’s a lifelong learner and, since obtaining a diploma in future studies, she’s squarely focused on helping SA navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Her message? “Embrace learning, because that’s how you’re going to be change-strong.”
Greg Solomon is CEO of McDonald’s SA, but he cut his teeth in construction as a project manager in the ‘90s, using his civil engineering degree to literally build the brand across SA. This, however, was just a ‘drive-thru’ on his journey to MD, where sales, customer service and guest count for the Golden Arches grew dramatically on his watch. Greg believes that to lead you must first be followed, and he’s visionary, charismatic and determined enough to inspire a multitude of followers. He’s helped move the brand from ‘fast food to good food served fast’, and McDonald’s SA has repeatedly won the Deloitte Best Company To Work For award. When he’s not winning leadership awards, you’ll find him kicking back in the Kruger Park with his family.
From Umlazi township to Houston, Texas, where he served as senior auditor for Deliotte, Andile Khumalo’s life reads like movie script. He’s squeezed more into his 40-odd years than most people have in a lifetime: He’s a CA, serial entrepreneur, and CEO of The Brodkast Group, an investor in tech, media and telecoms. He’s tried his hand as MD of POWER 98.7, was former COO of MSG Afrika, and launched I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR in 2013, an online summit that supports and skills up local entrepreneurs. Despite his many achievements, this father of two is astoundingly humble. He ascribes his success to his work teams, his beautiful wife Mandisa, whom he’s besotted with – and his powerhouse of a mom, Pinky, whom he admits he’s terrified to disappoint.
You don’t get a bigger personality than Miles Kubheka – unless it’s his alter ego, ‘Vuyo’. Miles built his brand on the fictional rags-to-riches character in a TV ad, and from there, this trailblazer in traditional SA food has become a foodie force. Like all visionaries, he’s travelled an interesting road: from WITS graduate in IT to a global role at Microsoft, to going back to his roots – through his brand of community-based, comfort food. With Vuyo’s opening on Vilikazi Street, the brand has become truly iconic. But he’s not just a purveyor of good food; this gastronomist and guest speaker believes that doing good is simply good business. In his book, Vuyo’s: From a big big dreamer to living the dream, he shares his recipes for success.
They don’t come stronger than Wayne Price. The former police detective discovered a love for lifting while still on the beat. From there, the one-time MTN Gladiators referee turned his passion into a profession, and became a local strongman and bodybuilding legend, representing SA abroad. Wayne is the man who brought the Arnold Classic Africa, rated the greatest sporting event on the continent, to our shores. And, as president of the SA chapter of the IFBB, he recently received the Spirit of Courage Award for his dedication to the discipline. While he no longer lifts the big weights, he’s thrown his weight behind sports development in SA. He’s on a fitness crusade to develop future champions – and to get people off the couch and active!
If guts and glory had a name it would be boxing legend Brian Mitchell: 45 wins, one loss and three draws, and he’s the only SA boxer ever to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. But there’s more to the man than an unexpected upper cut. Brian was the world’s No 2 boxer when the local media decided he had bitten off more than he could chew. But true legends always punch above their weight, and he went on to win one world title after another. And he’s had his share of misfortune. At the age of 24, Brian had to deal with the death of Jacob Morake, following a knockout in the ring. It was a mother’s forgiveness that helped him win the world title in Jacob’s name. The former pugilist is now a passionate trainer of young contenders.
Hugh Bladen needs no introduction – his voice is woven into our collective sporting memory. He’s taken us on a tour through the highs and lows of SA rugby for almost four decades, from international isolation to World Cup victory. And while he always commentates from the side lines, his dramatic reports take us right onto the field and into the fray. Hugh was always sport mad – over the years, he’s played rugby, league squash, tennis, cricket, baseball and hockey, but he found his voice in 1976 and, since then, has built the tension from the commentary box on big match days. He’s earned multiple honours and an induction into the SA Hall of Fame along the way, and his 2006 memoir chronicles our country’s greatest sporting travails and triumphs.
Queen of continental couture, Anisa Mpungwe has celebrities and style sophisticates – from Luanda and Joburg to Stockholm and New York – banging at her door for more of her coveted neo-African clothing line, Loin Cloth & Ashes (LCA). Since launching her brand in 2008, she’s won numerous awards, served as the first ambassador for the MRP Foundation’s Ambassador & Mentorship Programme, and was chosen to gift one of her designs to former US first lady, Michelle Obama. She has collaborated with blue-chip brands like Samsung, Maserati and Converse. Her fusion of traditional and post-modern textiles lends a signature look to all her designs. Her mantra? The place where you are the happiest is the same place you’ll find your passion and purpose.
Valentine Nti is big on building a network of financially-qualified business leaders. He’s all for lighting a fire under all things financial, and, as founding chief executive of the CharterQuest Professional Education Institute and its affiliated sub-brands, he’s encouraging CFOs to set aside self-interest and adopt a deeply collaborative competitive strategy. He’s committed to nothing less than ushering in a new ‘world order’, where mutually shared objectives define financial decision-making. With over 16 years’ experience in the private and public sectors, as a lecturer at Wits and GIBS, and through serving blue-chip multinationals such as Anglo American and Standard Chartered Bank, he’s charting new territory in the world of finance.
Vusi Thembekwayo is a veritable virtuoso and tour de force – and something of a child prodigy. By the age of 17 he was already ranked first in Africa for public speaking, and was placed third in the world at the English-Speaking Union International Competition. At 25 he made enough noise to land a role as head of a R400 million division in a R17 billion multi-national. He’s put that gift of the gab to good use and is now a global speaker, venture capitalist and author. Today he drags companies kicking and screaming towards self-realisation. He’s been called a maverick, and owns this appellation with pride. When he’s not globe-trotting, in the Dragon’s Den or parenting, this petrolhead is making his mark – skid marks! – on the F1 tracks.