Women’s Property Network Awards set to inspire

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Genevieve Naidoo, the Women’s Property Network (WPN) Chairwoman, acknowledges that the times are certainly changing, as women continue to climb the corporate ladders across the real estate sector. Genevieve Naidoo, the Women’s Property Network (WPN) Chairwoman, acknowledges that the times are certainly changing, as women continue to climb the corporate ladders across the real estate sector.

INSPIRATIONAL women of the Women’s Property Network (WPN) are to be honored for outstanding leadership role as they make inroads into the traditionally male-dominated sector.

Women represent a minority share in South African property and construction industry workforce and 5% in Executive directorship, a balance still to be redressed.

In the last few years the sector has seen several women appointed as the CEO’s of property companies, as well as the key appointment of the third female president (since 1966) of the South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA).

On 29th October, WPN will celebrate women in the South African property sector at a gala dinner at the Palazzo Hotel, Montecasino.

This prestigious event has been proudly sponsored by Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), with the awards sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The awards are a collaborative platform dedicated to recognizing outstanding leadership, inspiration, vision and innovation in organizations that have stepped up and shaped women’s roles within the private and public sectors.

“The award categories reflect a wide spectrum of work these deserving women from the public and private sectors are involved in. This includes CEO’s, executives and leaders in corporate South Africa, SMME’s, government departments and agencies, as well as entrepreneurs,” says Sandi Mbutuma, WPN Executive, Marketing and Advocacy.

The following nominees have been recognized in their respective award categories:

YOUNG ACHIEVER AWARD (under 35 years old)

  1. Jacqueline Bisschoff, Operations Director, UAS
  2. Shevira Bissessor, Executive, AECOM
  3. Nina Dube, Chief Credit Officer, Commercial Property Finance, ABSA
  4. Nompumelelo Lukhele, Project Manager, Spar South Rand
  5. Nikiwe Mkhabela, Asset Manager, Stanlib


  1. Nkuli Bogopa, Group Property Manager, Rio Tinto
  2. Kim Faclier, Managing Director Property, GoIndustry DoveBId SA
  3. Sibongile Manganyi, Managing Director, Indigo Kulani Group
  4. Zola Ntwasa, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Jade Capital Partners


  1. Yondele Silimela, Executive Director, Development Planning City of Johannesburg
  2. Lebogang Shole, Head Facilities Management, Public Investment Corporation

Also at the gala dinner, two special recognition awards will be announced which will acknowledge significant contributions by dynamic, passionate women whose efforts have transformed and inspired the sector.

The awards will be adjudicated by a Panel of Judges, which is represented by a broad spectrum of disciplines from the industry which includes:

  1. TC Chetty – Country Manager: RICS South Africa
  2. Marius Muller – Chief Executive Officer, Pareto Ltd
  3. Genevieve Naidoo – Head of Real Estate Valuations & Project Management, SA & Rest of Africa, Standard Bank CIB
  4. Nomzamo Radebe – CEO JHI Properties

In addition to recognizing women making strides in the sector, the gala dinner is doubling up as a fundraiser, with the sale of tables raising funds for the WPN Educational Trust to ensure continuity in the bursary scheme into 2016 and beyond.

Ms Naidoo, also Head of Project Management and Valuations for Real Estate Finance at Standard Bank, a board member of RICS and a former WPN Rising Star Award Winner, maintains that educational and mentorship initiatives are key in WPN’s drive to bring about demographic change across the entire spectrum of the property sector.

Since 2008 the WPN has awarded over 43 bursaries to previously disadvantaged female students studying towards a property related degree or diploma, and with the increasing financial support of the WPN Educational Trust, in 2015 a total of eleven bursaries were awarded to students studying at various institutions across the country.

Whilst education is key, WPN is also recognizing the need for leadership in the industry and with the support of Standard Bank hosted a highly successful leadership conference earlier this year.

“The leadership conference is one of our most prestigious events, where key discussions take place around empowerment and transformation, regulatory and governance frameworks, as well as practical change in the workplace and maintaining a work-life balance”, said Ms Naidoo.

“Combined with networking events and various other initiatives hosted across the country ever year, WPN are focused on supporting women in the real estate sector to help drive change”.

For those companies not yet ready to make the change, it is worth noting that gender diversity is critical to their bottom lines. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), companies that include women at top levels of leadership tend to outperform those that don’t. It also ranked South Africa 18th in the 2014 Gender Gap Index, with Iceland in first place, the USA 20th and the UK 26th.

Ms Naidoo, says: “We continue to be overwhelmed by the generous support of companies in the industry and on behalf of the WPN Executive, I would like to thank contributors for their support, and specifically ACSA for partnering with us for what is going to be a spectacular event, and the RICS for sponsoring the awards and celebrating the successes of women in the property sector.

Through this gala dinner, WPN can support the financial needs of female students with an aim to sustain 10 bursaries a year through the program. The Educational Trust is a special initiative, and one which has been nurtured for many years so as to ensure that young female graduates take their place in the industry and are able to make a meaningful contribution.”


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