The MANCOSA Annual Women Leadership Award is an initiative of the MANCOSA Center for Women Leadership (CWL). The MANCOSA Centre for Women Leadership is the only such Centre amongst business schools in South Africa that is dedicated to advancing the position of women in business and leadership. Its mission is to create an enabling environment for the promotion of women leadership within the African continent. To echo the words of Dr Zaheer Hamid, Director of the Mancosa Graduate School of Business [GSB],
“The Centre for Women Leadership advocates for the advancement of women in leadership in a meaningful and sustainable manner with acute reflection on the highly patriarchal history of women in business.”
One of the main objectives of the Centre for Women Leadership is to recognise and award successful and dynamic female leaders who have made a significant contribution to business and society. As such, the MANCOSA Annual Women in Leadership Award was initiated to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of female MANCOSA alumni and students within South Africa and the SADC region that have (a) attained leadership positions in the work place, business or community, (b) demonstrated excellent leadership skills, and (c) actively paved the way to success for other women. This award initiative was launched alongside the official launch of the Centre on the 1st of December 2015. A call for nominations was later sent out to encourage MANCOSA alumni members, students and staff to nominate a female MANCOSA student or alumni within South Africa or the SADC region who meets the stated criteria. After much deliberation over the extremely inspiring and compelling nominees from various African countries, a tough decision was made. Ms Michelle Cronje, who is currently a MANCOSA MBA student and also the Human Resources Manager at Binder Dijker Otte (BDO) South Africa Services, emerged as the winner of the 2016 MANCOSA Annual Women in Leadership Award.
Ms Cronje is an experienced HR professional who has been in the HR industry for over 15 years. She is knowledgeable in HR best practices which include performance management, consulting and workplace counselling sessions. According to her colleagues, Ms Cronje creates a sense of transparency, trust and open communication amongst staff. Michelle is also a qualified results coach and aspired to her personal achievements in running the Comrades Marathon twice. She also prides herself on being a family oriented person.
Ms Cronje is passionate about instilling confidence and self-belief in people and through her positivity, encouragement and mentorship, she has empowered others in achieving their full potential. She has been a source of inspiration to other women and has helped them believe in themselves and achieve their goals in life. Michelle believes in leading by example and would like to use her award as a platform to encourage woman to aspire towards leadership positions.
The 2016 MANCOSA Annual Women in Leadership Award 2016 plaque was awarded to Ms Cronje at MANCOSA’s graduation on the 21st of May 2016 by the Head of the CWL, Dr Claudine Hingston.