Inspiring Fifty SA has recognised 50 of SA’s tech industry females.
To kick-start women’s month, Inspiring Fifty has announced this year’s 50 most inspiring South African women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
A Dutch-born non-profit organisation, Inspiring Fifty showcases inspiring female role models in the STEM industry. This is the second year it has been in SA, but the organisation itself was established in 2013 in the Netherlands by two founders, Janneke Niessen and Joelle Frijters.
In a statement, Inspiring Fifty says the second edition of the global initiative welcomed 276 nominees at the closing of the nomination period on 9 July.
Netherlands consul general Bonnie Horbach says: “The judges had a hard time selecting the final fifty based on the high calibre of the nominees. These ground breaking women will not only be recognised in South Africa, but will form part of a global network of women. Imagine the possibilities when connecting women through this platform to be recognised in their respective fields, share their stories and make a difference by inspiring tomorrow’s female leaders.”
To meet the criteria, each nominee had to be a founder of a technology company; or hold a position in a C-Level position in a technology company; or be an influencer, academic or politician in the technology or innovation space.
“As we honour the winners of Inspiring Fifty for 2018, I think it would be opportune also to honour the woman who upon learning of this campaign, not only brought it to us but also championed it in South Africa. Bonnie Horbach leaves a country filled with gratitude, she leaves a sisterhood of women who are not only affirmed but are able to affirm one another, secure in their excellence and secure that recognising others does not dim their own light,” states Carol Bouwer, businesswoman and UNICEF SA advocate for women and children, and Inspiring Fifty 2018 judge.
“I hope in 50 years to come we celebrate this campaign as a relic of the past because women will have attained the kind of equality and respect that makes recognition organic,” she continues.
Call for inspiring women in tech
Horbach concludes by saying: “These fifty women will go on to inspire and encourage both young girls and boys in this country and showcase the opportunities that they may not have realised were available to them. It is an exciting time for women in STEM in South Africa.”
This year’s winners are:
Alysia Silberg, founder at Global FiresideChat and general partner at Street Global Venture Capital
Anita Nel, senior director at Innovation of Stellenbosch University and CEO of Innovus
Annu Augustine, founder at NedRock and product management consultant
Anri van der Spuy, manager at Africa Digital Policy Project
Anujah Bosman, CEO at Chillisoft Solution Services
Benedicta Mahlangu-Durcan, executive at Ease of Doing Business and co-founder and CEO of Afrobodies
Dr Denisha Jairam-Owthar, ICT manager at Projects, Governance & Assets
Dr Fanelwa Ngece Ajayi, founder at AmaQawe Ngemfundo
Dr Imogen Wright, chief scientific officer at Hyrax Biosciences
Dr Rethabile Mashale Sonibare, director and founder at Molo Mhlaba School for girls & Thope Foundation
Genevieve Mannel, head of BI and EKM at The Foschini Group
Heloise Greeff, co-inventor and machine learning engineer at Oxford Smart Handpump
Kholeka Tsotsotso, CIO at Development Bank of South Africa
Kiara Nirghin, student at Stanford University
Laura Ilunga, helicopter and airplane pilot at Starlite Aviation Operations and Crew Resources International
Leah Molatseli, founder and MD at Lenoma Legal
Lebo Mokgabudi, MD at EagleQuest Africa
Lehlogonolo Moseri, founding director at Mosa Environmental Consulting and Educate-A-Girl Foundation
Lerato Motsamai, founder & CEO at Petrolink and Girlignite Africa Academy
Lesley Donna Williams, CEO at Tshimologong Precinct
Lianne du Toit, business director at YPO, CareDirect, Future Females
Lorraine Steyn, director at Khanyisa Real Systems
Lungile Maile , founder and MD at Nubian Smarts
Mamokgethi Phakeng, vice-chancellor at University of Cape Town
Marilyn Radebe, CEO at Soma Solutions
Maureen Ann Grosvenor, director and head of custom applications at Appsolve
Mmabatho Mokiti, founder and CEO at Mathemaniacs
Nadia Karrim, ENT/Head and Neck Surgical Registrar; South African National Point of Contact at Department of Health; Space Generation Advisory Council
Nandi Zama, commander pilot at South African Air Force
Noletu Moti, chief inspector: Nuclear Power Plant at National Nuclear Regulator
Nomsa Nteleko, MD at OS Holdings
Palesa Sibeko, commercialisation young professional and MSc astrophysics student at South African Radio Astronomy Observatory, University of the Western Cape
Pam Mkhize, head of Sub-Saharan Africa Digital Satellite at Enel
Phuti Ragophala, Microsoft innovative educator trainer at Phuti Training and Motivational Speaking
Professor Keolebogile Shirley Motaung, assistant dean: Research and Entrepreneur at Tshwane University of Technology / Global Health Biotech
Professor Glenda Gray, president and CEO at South African Medical Research Council
Refilwe Ledwaba, founder and executive director at Women and Aviation/Girls fly programme in Africa
Ridhwana Khan, co-founder of Zero One Bespoke Software Development at Zero One Bespoke Software Development, Kasi Maths, Women in Tech JHB, Ladies that UX JHB
Rivonia Pillay, water engineer at Department of Water and Sanitation
Samantha N. Ngcolomba, founder and manager at Lady Liberty SA
Sandiso Sibisi, Open Innovation Africa Africa Manager at Accenture
Shana Derman, CEO and co-founder at IntelliCred
Sonya Kuhnel, MD at Blockchain Academy
Sorene Assefa, founder and MD at Cyber Czar
Veronica Motloutsi, chief executive and founder at SmartDigital Solution