Banking & Financial ServicesMbali Makhathini, Head: ESG, Standard Bank

“There were many memorable moments through the Accenture Rising Star Awards journey, but the reflective nature of the judging process is what stood out for me,” says Makhathini. “It gave me an opportunity to look back and reassess. Doing this gave me an opportunity to celebrate where I had done well and also identify occasions where I could’ve done things better. It also gave me a renewed sense of where I want to go and the type of leader I want to be in the future.”

Energy & EnvironmentGontse Madumo, Head Of Talent Acquisition, Standard Bank

“My highlight might be a strange one, when Adv. Thandi Orleyn announced my name as part of the Top 10 finalists. That moment mattered so much because to get there I had completed grueling questions on who I am and what leadership means to me. Knowing that my authenticity through that process had led me to Top 10 was confirmatory of what I had always lingered at the back of my mind. That was also the moment that I decided I was going to win (hence the two-minute video that took 8 hours to record!).”

EntrepreneurSiyanda Mthethwa, Founder & Ceo: Kuloola App

“It was a great recognition to be nominated for the Accenture Rising Star Awards,” says Mthethwa. “As founders and entrepreneurs, we are often in a lonely and difficult place,” he says. “This type of recognition, especially from such reputable awards, give us the encouragement we need to keep moving forward.”

ICT (Telecoms & Technology)Lusani Nemalili, Senior Specialist: Public Affairs, Vodacom

“Being nominated for the Accenture Rising Star Awards in the ICT category made me feel recognised and was a nod to the fact that my work indeed has impact to the business and to society,” she says. “This affirmed the purpose-led work I have always wanted to do, and this was one of the stops in the journey affirming it.”

Manufacturing, Retail & FMCGMiguel Caetano, National Sales Operations Manager: Hpcb, Tiger Brands

“I am very grateful to have been a part of it and to be selected as a winner. I encourage young leaders to actively take part if they are nominated and to also be on the lookout for young leadership talent in their organisations so that they may also utilise this platform to nominate and recognise outstanding leadership.”

Media & AdvertisingTravis Bernard, Hr Manager,

“If there is one thing the Rising Star programme has done for me, it is that I understand I am a future leader and I do have something to contribute. My focus for myself is to continue my business/operations specific development (classroom and on the job) and hopefully move completely into a commercial role in the coming years.”

Mining & MineralsMohloana Magwai, Growth Manager, Strategy & Business Development, Exxaro Resources

“Being nominated for the Accenture Rising Star Awards in the Mining and Minerals category was a humbling experience that I was very honoured by,” he says. “It was also an honour and privilege to be chosen as a top 5 finalist. I was deliberate in being authentic in sharing my life and leadership experiences in the previous rounds and those after. So being chosen in the top 5 on that basis felt good and in various ways validated my approach to be true to myself and authentic. I am certainly very happy to have won!”

Professional ServicesAndile Nkosi, Associate Director, Pwc

“I learned that even in darkness there is always light, and one needs to strive to move towards the light, so that you are not overwhelmed by everything else that is happening around you. It showed me how, as a nation, people can come together and try to put resources in place to help our people. It also showed me that we can still do more, and need to do more, to give our country and its people a chance at life, and validate their dreams and aspirations.”

Service: Public & PrivateKeri-leigh Paschal, Executive Head Of Nation Builder And Ziwani, Mergon

“I was impressed by how comprehensive the judging process was, with multiple steps in the process, from video clips to writing motivational essays to a case study and interview with a panel of judges. Making it through to the next round of each phase felt like a real accomplishment as there were so many incredible people who were a part of the process, and the bar was high in terms of the selection process. I most enjoyed doing the case study where you were given an hour to formulate your solution and present it to an esteemed panel of judges. The judges were engaged, interested and had a wealth of knowledge and experience.”

Tourism, Leisure & HospitalityDevandré Derrin Lawrence, General Manager: People Operations And Employment Equity Senior Manager, Nando’s South Africa

“Together with the phenomenal support and interaction with the judges and leaders across industries, I took the opportunity to be inspired, absorb as much as I could, and just have fun and take in the many moments! For me, it was never truly about the award, but more about being part of something purposeful. I had a spirit of light that I wanted to share with the people of our nation and Rising Star brought that vision to life.”

Transport, Logistics & SecurityGiovanni Larigan Abrahams, General Manager, Imperial

“During the nomination period of the awards the reality of the moment had not struck me as yet, however, reaching the semi-finals was the awakening moment where I realised that I could potentially win the award,” explains Abrahams. “Completing the questionnaire in the nomination period assisted me to reflect on my career achievements and contributions to industry, many of which I had overlooked or did not even realise.”