The Rising Star Programme, operated by BlackBark Productions, has been established for the purposes of recognising, celebrating and connecting young talented people who have a capacity for achievement and success and who contribute in an inspirational manner to the future of our nation. The qualities that elevate Rising Stars to the top go beyond performance and technical excellence. Rising Stars are polished, brilliant individuals with tremendous promise and great talent who excel for reasons that go far beyond their technical abilities alone.

Talented people make things happen, are highly committed to achieving goals, innovate very rapidly, and create a great deal of value (for companies and/or themselves) when their talent is spotted and harnessed.

The Programme aims to be 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.

Laura Barker

Managing Director and Founder

Laura has over 10 years experience working in business media, both in the UK and South Africa. She has developed initiatives for clients including the British Retail Consortium and the Commonwealth Secretariat as well as having launched numerous awards ceremonies with great success – the most recent being the Enviropaedia Eco-Logic Awards. Her previous employers include the Stationery Office (formerly Her Majesty’s Stationery Office) and Caspian Media in the UK, and Topco Media and Eco-Logic Publishing on South African shores.

Charmaine Docherty

Project Manager Rising Star Awards

Charmaine has been in the event and media industry since 2004.

Titles and events that she has worked on includes, Top Women in Business Publication and Awards, ESG South Africa the official publication at COP17 and RIO+20 and COP18 in Qatar and beyond, and Impumelelo Publication and Awards to name but a few.

She is passionate about uplifting and recognising talent and youth development and believes that the programmes that she is involved with currently, Rising Star Awards, Gradstar Awards uplifts and supports our countries future leaders

Tanya Smalberger

Events Manager: Rising Star Awards

Tanya is the event manager for the Rising Star Awards. Tanya comes from a strong FMCG and logistics background having previously worked for Olive Tree Farm and MC Bros Fruit and Veg  in the Eastern Cape. Tanya is passionate about maintaining strong client relationships and thrives in the fast paced world of event management through her process driven mindset.