“In the coming years” has become a catch phrase that is often used humorously in the organisation and more importantly, is the opening phrase of our Foundation’s vision. The time has come, the future is here; the Association of Allan Gray Fellows is emerging.
The Association of Allan Gray Fellows was launched at the December 2011 Imbizo, which was held at the Irene Country Lodge in Pretoria. “Imbizo”- a Zulu word that refers to a gathering of leaders that meet with the aim of discussing their community’s future- was attended by 54 Fellows in total, spanning over three generations (2008-2011). This engaged Association of high impact entrepreneurial leaders aims to develop a well-functioning, world-class community through the achievement of long-term economic and societal wealth for the country.
The event, led by Executive Committee members Suzie Nkambule (President), Gerard Govender (Vice-President) and Maurice Mandebvu (Secretary), set the tone for the future. This Committee grew to become The Cabinet, as the Association leadership was broadened to ensure greater impact. The new leaders of the Association are:
Portfolio Summary of role
2009 President Overall leadership of the community.
Patrick Mann 2009 Treasurer Financial planning, budgets and managing the expenditure of the community.
Blaise Dobson 2010 Secretary General Communication with Fellows. Oversight of the communications tools and infrastructure used within the community.
Gerard Govender 2008 Vice-President: A* Connect Paying it Backwards- involvement of Association Members in Fellowship and Scholarship in both Selection and Programmes. Input into monitoring and evaluating processes. Vehicle for the Association’s “in giving” to partner organisations.
Maurice Madiba 2009 Vice-President: Startership Fellows that are at various stages of starting entities – social innovation, economic, political.
Zayne Imam 2010 Vice-President: New Graduates Responsible for the induction of new graduates into the Association as well as assisting them with settling into their various places of employment. Provides mentoring and support.
Uhuru Malebo 2010 Vice-President: Leadership Ensures continued growth in entrepreneurial leadership, fostering a culture of life learning and development. Coaching and career planning.
The event opened with a Leadership panel of three speakers, Stafford Masie, Tshepo Phakathi and Israel Noko, who discussed “Entrepreneurial Leadership for the Future”. The Startership session, which was held the following day, was a study on social business topics such as the Condom Case, the recent winners of an SAB grant and the newly elected Endeavour Entrepreneurs on the Excelerator programme. The entrepreneur elaborated on the history of his business and posed a distribution challenge, which the Fellows had three hours to resolve and present solutions. Prior to his brief, the speaker had remarked: “Having presented to several MBA classes, I am familiar with the type of ideas that are typically presented.” However, he was very impressed with some of the radical ideas proposed, and his parting shot was an underhanded compliment; “Ok, this bunch is bright!”
In order to better equip the community, we hosted an exhibition at which our partners were invited to present the various tools available that could add significant value to the Fellows’ future. Allan Gray Limited presented the Fellows Investment Platform, Samsung showcased their various tablets and OD (represented by Margie) presented iSHIFT.
The Imbizo closed with a mini TEDx AAGF, held by our three “The Only” speakers. “The Only Doctor”, Cameron Meyer ’10 who is studying towards his medical degree at Wits, discussed his plans for creating a low-cost medical solution for the mass market. Batandwa Alperstein ’08– “The Only Artpreneur”– works as a Strategist at the Jupiter Drawing Room. Batandwa recently hosted an entrepreneur development and business plan competition for the creative field, which was held at the Foundation’s offices. He is passionate about seeing the creative industry grow and developing artpreneurs. “The Only Civil Servant”, Bulukani Ndlovu ’10, is completing his articles with the National Treasury in Durban. Bulukani explained his decision to work for government, focusing on the need for more high-impact, skilled individuals to join government. He also spoke about the value of creating change from within government and being part of that change.
All the discussions that weekend had a similar theme: We all have big dreams that can be accomplished over time, but what will you do next? What is your next action?
Our next step is to take small, creative steps with the aim of actualising our mission and bringing the Foundation’s vision to life.