Perece Kirgiti, Human Resource Director - Airtel Tanzania

Ms. Perece Kirigiti is seasoned Human Resources professional with 20 years’ experience in Human Resources Operations and Strategy in Multinational and Cross-Border Organisations. Perece has worked across finance and telecommunication industries and was Human Resources Director of Vodacom Tanzania PLC from 2015 until 2019.  

Before this role, Ms. Kirigiti worked as  the Human Resources Director at Airtel Tanzania before being promoted to the Head of Talent Management and Acquisition at Airtel Africa. In her time at Airtel. She was responsible for guiding the leadership team in making informed strategic decisions on all aspects of human resources policies, procedures and provide innovative approaches. She was later responsible for implementing Airtel’s Africa’s lent management infrastructure and framework and supporting the leadership teams with phases of talent management such as success management.

Perece is passionate about implementing health and wellbeing initiatives to create a more productive workforce and was responsible for interesting initiatives while at Vodafone.

Finally, Perece holds a Master of Business Administration from Franklin University. She also holds a Certification in Consulting and Coaching for Change from HEC/Oxford University.

Roze Phillips, Chief People Officer - Absa Group

Roze is the Group Chief People Officer for Absa Group Limited and is one of the key enablers of Absa’s new Group Strategy. 

Prior to joining Absa, Roze held the position of Management Consulting lead and Geographic Council member for Accenture Africa and Board member of Accenture South Africa. During her time there, she served as the Middle East, Africa, Russia and Turkey Innovation lead, creating the enablers for Accenture to lead Innovation in the region. Working at the intersection of business and technology, Roze is passionate about working with leaders to unleash the business and societal value that can be unlocked when digital technologies, including intelligent machines (AI) work collaboratively with empowered human beings to create the Future of Work on the continent.

 Roze is Executive Sponsor for BornToSucceedWomen, an organisation dedicated to helping young South African women with the necessary skills and mentorship to prepare for the workplace and Roze proudly mentors young black African men and women to unleash their full potential.

 Roze holds both a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) (1995) and Master of Business Administration (MBA) (1999) degrees from the University of Cape Town and a Post graduate diploma in Future Studies (2016) from the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

Queen Mokonoto, Human Resources Director, South Africa and SADC - Oracle South Africa

Queen Mokonoto is the Human Resources Director – South Africa and SADC, at Oracle Corporation (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd.

 With nearly two decades of professional experience in fast paced multinational organizations, Queen is responsible for collaborating across Oracle’s multiple lines of businesses to help the business achieve strategic objectives including the creation of a diverse and collaborative talent pool,

 Queen has more than 18 years Human Resources and Business experience across diverse industries including IT, Water, Hygiene, Energy Technologies, Services, Telecommunications and Manufacturing.

 Deft in initiating complex projects across the EMEA and South Africa region, Queen leads the implementation of Oracle’s various talent management and executive leadership programs in South Africa and SADC countries also with the focus on woman development (Oracle Women In Leadership).

 Prior to joining Oracle, Queen has held leadership roles in Human Resources with SAP, Vodacom, Ecolab and BMW in South Africa.

 Queen has completed a Masters in Business Leadership (MBL) (Unisa); BA Psychology (Honours) (Unisa) and BA in Social Work (Honours) (Wits University).

Temi Dalley, Chief Human Resource Officer - Sterling Bank Plc.

Temi Dalley is an adept HR leader with nearly two decades of experience – locally and internationally. She is a seasoned professional with an exceptional reputation in strategic leadership, people management, business acumen, among others.

 As the Chief Human Resources Officer at Sterling Bank Plc., she is responsible for building a competent, dynamic and agile workforce, to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s workplace. She leads a team of Human Capital experts whose mission is to create a truly humane and enabling work environment in the digital age, fueling Sterling Bank’s differentiation in the market.

 Temi has a first degree in Political Science from ABU Zaria, an M.A in Human Resource Management from the Middlesex Business School, UK and she is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK, Chartered Institute of Personal Management, Nigeria among other professional bodies.

Saif Malik, Regional Co-Head of Global Banking, Africa and Middle East - Standard Chartered Bank

Saif Malik currently holds the position of Regional Co-Head of Global Banking, Africa & Middle East [Corporate & Institutional Banking Coverage] at Standard Chartered Bank (Johannesburg

Branch) since his appointment on 1 January 2018. Prior to this he was the Managing Director & Head of Global Banking, Africa from 1 December 2016.

Saif joined Standard Charted Bank (“SCB”) in 2006 as Executive Director, Client Relationships & Co-Head Wholesale Banking, Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania Limited. Prior to his African regional roles (based in Johannesburg) he held the position of Managing Direction, Head of Corporate & Institutional Clients of SCB Malaysia for 5 years as well as Managing Director, Head of Origination & Client Coverage and Co-

Head of Wholesale Banking with SCB Nigeria. Before joining Standard Chartered, Saif worked with various multinational organizations such as Barclays Bank Tanzania, Barclays Bank Zambia as well as the Central Bank of Zambia.

Saif possesses a wealth Banking and Finance experience in the areas of economics, risk assessment, marketing, corporate credit and business development. Saif holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Economics and a Master of Arts (MA) in International Business (Honours), both from the University of Kentucky, USA.

Maya Govind, HR Director - Nielsen

Maya is HR Director of Sub Saharan Africa from Nielsen.  Starting out as a Talent  Practitioner in Edcon, Maya career’s has spun across 14 years and she has worked in several multinationals including Edcon,BMW, Barclays and  most recently Nielsen.

Maya has always found herself between a generalist and specialist function within the HR discipline. She believes this has made her more empathetic and mindful to the challenges / opportunities within the value chain across various iterations of the operating model.

Born in Port Elizabeth, Durban; having studied in Cape Town and now living and working in Johannesburg, she is insatiably curious about human potential. She believes that harnessing strength from a variety of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives allows her the privilege to explore human engagement – challenge mind-sets, motives and methods to get people to show up in the right way for what matters. Maya is truly passionate about making a difference to people's lives and being a steward in all she does.

Finally, Maya holds a Bachelor’s of Art in Clinical and  Industrial Psychology and a Master of Business Administration in Business Administration and Management  from the Henley Business School.

Euan Dixon-Smith, Head of Health and Benefits - Willis Tower Watson

Euan is the Head of Health and Benefits of Willis Towers Watson South Africa. Euan has over 18 years of experience working with large multi-national and local organisations across a broad spectrum of industries.

Euan  returned to South Africa in 2013 after a decade in the UK to set up Mercer Health and Benefits and help with the expansion of Mercer in the region. Euan joined Willis Towers Watson in April 2017.

Throughout his career Euan has worked mainly in the field of employee benefits both working with insurance organisations and intermediaries.

His main focus has been in insured employee benefits (healthcare, risk benefits and retirement) working with multinationals on helping them arrange local benefits insurance cover. Euan is currently responsible for many of Willis Tower Watson’s key and strategic partnerships throughout Africa and coordinating Willis Towers Watson’s global network for our clients in South and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Over the past 4 years Euan has been heavily focused on companies within the High-Tech, Financial Services, Legal, Pharmaceutical, Tobacco and Telecommunications sectors.

He has been involved in developing strategy, designing and implementing bespoke solutions and on-going oversight for subsidiaries of multinationals across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Euan holds a bachelor’s degree in Social Science (Political Science, International Relations and Industrial Sociology).

Jonathan Muthige, Group Head: Human Capital - Atlas Mara

Mr. Muthige is a seasoned and experienced Human Resources executive with over 6 years’ experience in Banking and more than 15 years senior executive experience in industries covering oil, retail, FMCG and has worked and lived in the UK, Turkey and now Dubai with Atlas Mara. Mr Muthige brings wealth of experience in Human Capital Leadership and business management having done line management roles in the past.

Mr. Jonathan Muthige joined Atlas Mara from the Pick n Pay Group in January 2016, where he was the Group Human Resource s Director with responsibilities across all their operations both in South Africa and Southern Africa. In that role he was responsible for all aspects of the human resources. Most relevant is the fact that to Pick n Pay Mr. Muthige was Head of Operations for rest of Africa in Standard Bank looking all market outside south Africa. Prior to that he was global head of HR looking after operations, IT, Procurement globally for Standard Bank entities.

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong, HR Director - Vodacom

Hannah Ashiokai Akrong is an accomplished Human Resource professional with over 18 years global HR experience in Africa, Europe and the United States. 

She has a Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Ghana,and a Masters in Human Resources and Industrial Relations from the University of Minnesota, USA and the Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium. 

Ashiokai is currently the HR Director for Vodafone, Ghana where she sets the overall HR strategy for the organization and  has direct oversight of Fleet, Property, Health Safety and Wellbeing. She is also a trained Professional Coach and among a few selected by Vodafone to coach senior leadership top talent globally across the Vodafone landscape.

Prior to her current role, she was a Senior Global HR Manager, with Honeywell, USA, where she had global HR management responsibility for teams in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.

Prior to joining Honeywell, she worked with Medtronic, for close to 10 years in various HR Centres of Excellence and HR Business Partner roles across several divisions of the company in the United States. Ashiokai was recognized severally as top talent and was part of the exclusive Leadership Program and other talent recognition development programs.

Ashiokai started her career with Multimedia Broadcasting Company in Ghana and went on to Ernst & Young, where she worked in a consulting capacity with their HR Advisory team.

Vivien Chaplin, Attorney - Hogan Lovells

Vivien Chaplin focuses on corporate and commercial law with specific emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, employee share schemes, and black economic empowerment (BEE) transactions. She has advised on several BEE and unbundling transactions in the mining sector. In addition, private and state-owned companies consult her on compliance with the Companies Act and corporate governance issues.    

Vivien also assists multinational companies in setting up and operating businesses in South Africa.Recently she has also worked with a number of NGOs and entities in the education, health and finance sectors, assisting them with operational and other issues.

Hedda Schensema, Attorney - Hogan Lovells

Hedda Schensema focuses on employment and labour law. She regularly deals with issues affecting employers on employment equity and unfair discrimination and collective bargaining.

Advising on a wide range of various forms of unfair dismissals, strike management, interdicting strikes and on orderly pickets during strikes, lockouts, changes to conditions of employment, retrenchments and business restructuring also form part of her day-to-day activities. Hedda effectively strategises on all employment related matters, training, reviews of employment contracts and employee policies within various workplaces. She has also acted as a judge of the Labour Court.

James Shepherd, Chief Executive Officer - Altaaqa Global

James Shepherd has more than 27 years of experience in the power generation industry. He started his career with Genko BV, a subsidiary of Aggreko in Holland, in 1991 as an apprentice. He then went on to become a site engineer and, then, a Commissioning Engineer. After a few years, he was promoted to Central Operations Manager, where he took responsibility of vital functions, including service and maintenance, fleet and logistics, commissioning and project management. In 2005, he became the Area Director for the Middle East Aggreko, which paved the way for his succeeding promotions to Managing Director for Southern and Western Asia, and Managing Director for Southern and Eastern Africa. In 2014, he became the Managing Director for the whole of Africa, managing the company’s operations in all 54 countries with four managing directors as direct report.

With an excellent track record in leading energy services companies and operations in both developed and emerging regions around the world, Shepherd in 2019 joined leading integrated energy services provider Altaaqa Global Energy Services. He will lead the company in the development and execution of its corporate strategy as its transitions from a purely temporary power provider to a total energy services partner.

Amina Oyagbola, Business and Management Consulant - AKMS Consulting Ltd

Amina Oyagbola, a former Top Executive of MTN Nigeria Communications, founder of WISCAR and Managing Consultant of AKMS Consulting Limited with over 30 years business and management experience covering legal and regulatory, human resources, corporate services and consulting in banking and finance, oil and gas and telecommunications. She is a Chartered Fellow, CIPD UK, a member, CIPM, a Fellow of the Institute of Directors, a fellow of the Institute of Management Consultants, a Certified Ethics Officer, and is passionate about diversity and inclusiveness. She is an alumnus of Ahmadu Bello University (LLB), Cambridge University (LLM), Lancaster University (MBA), INSEAD, London Business School, IMD and Harvard Business School (Executive Education.)  Under her leadership MTN became the first company in Nigeria to be accredited with the Investor in People Gold Standard. She was nominated HR Person of the Year by HR People Magazine

AKMS Consulting and partners deliver bespoke, cost effective and fit for purpose strategic end-to-end HR and solutions to the satisfaction of clients.

Pai Gamde, Chief Human Resource Officer - Nigerian Stock Exchange

Pai Gamde is a Business Manager and Leader who has over 20 years’ experience spanning various industries in Nigeria and in the United Kingdom. She has led Human Resource Functions across various organisations, which cover Insurance, Electronic Media, Conglomerate comprising Agro allied, Telecommunications and Trading as well as in the Capital Markets. She has also served in the banking industry and has made contributions to the public space on a part time basis. Pai epitomizes various competencies in business and has been identified as a Human Resources Transformation Expert, Business Leader, and Public Speaker. She has set up and led HR Functions at Transnational Corporation of Nigeria PLC, a leading diversified conglomerate; Metropolitan Life Insurance, a leading Life Insurance Underwriter; and Hi-Media Ltd, a leading Media Group.

She is the current Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), at The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) where she built a multi–disciplinary HR Function that has partnered the business and capably executed the Transformation of a 50 year old organisation into a high performing, forward thinking entity, promoting diversity, productivity and a merit driven culture.

She has been recognized by reputable organizations and institutions such as; The HR People Magazine Awards 2016 Employer of Choice (Under 1000 employees) Award category; and mentions in The Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) as the Most documented HR Function amongst companies surveyed in their 2016 report.

Pai was recognized and awarded one of the 100 most Influential HR Professionals 2017 by World HRD Congress. She has also been recognized and awarded as the HR Leader of the year 2018 by HR People Magazine. Pai has been nominated into various joint technical intergovernmental, and multi-sectorial committees as well as onto the advisory boards of several non-for-profits; where she is making valuable contributions to people empowerment and to the socio – economic and political infrastructure of the country.

Pai is a member of Several Professional Institutions and organisations, and has served in advisory capacity in a number of them. Her “Employability Series” and “iBrand development concept” teach the self- discovery journey, character and values orientation to thousands of diverse youths. She is a health and fitness enthusiast, who loves running, music and is an avid follower of art.


Austin Okere, Founder - CWG Plc and The Ausso Leadership Academy

Austin has an MBA from IESE Business School, and over 25 years entrepreneurial experience. Austin is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School, New York. He was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network in Washington DC in recognition of his major contribution to the development of business education and knowledge transfer in Africa.

Austin has been recognized with a Lifetime Entrepreneurship Achievement Award by the American University of Nigeria in 2017 for his dedicated service and outstanding entrepreneurial accomplishments. He received the Nigerian Computer Society Special Presidential Award in 2016, and was named ICT Personality of the year by the Society in 2014. He was also named ICT Man of the Decade by ICT Watch - Africa Digital Network in 2012 and was listed on the United Kingdom’s C.Hub Magazine 100 Most Influential Creatives in 2016. Austin was named among 100 Leading Telecoms & ICT Personalities in Nigeria by the Association of Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ATCON) in July 2018.

Austin is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors of Nigeria. His company, CWG Plc has been recognized as a ‘Global Growth Company’ by the World Economic Forum and is the largest security listed in the Technology Sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

James Urdang, CEO & Founder - Education Africa

James Urdang can easily be described as a Social Entrepreneur and humanitarian of note. He has dedicated more than 29 years of his life to a cause that is very close to his heart - helping to bring about real, positive and meaningful change to the lives of disadvantaged Africans.

James’ journey began in 1989 when he set out to establish Education Africa and, over the years, he has conceptualised many projects and secured the funding not only for their establishment, but also for their on-going sustainability. He has become known as someone who thinks outside the box; someone who is not interested in re-inventing the wheel. Rather, he believes in bringing project partners on board so that their expertise can be harnessed for the ultimate benefit of the community. His tireless energy and ability to make things happen have resulted in a number of dynamic projects which have, without a doubt, made a huge impact on the communities throughout South Africa in which they are implemented. Just in the past ten years alone the reach of Education Africa’s projects has impacted tens-of-thousands of learners directly and well over a million learners indirectly through educator training and support.   

However, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for James or for Education Africa.

During James’ early years at school he was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and was consequently required to attend a special needs school. He eventually did enter mainstream schooling, so he has first-hand, personal experience of what it means and takes to overcome educational challenges. On reflection, this has been to his benefit as he knows that education does not come easily and it has enabled him to develop unique educational programmes supported by world class training methods and educational materials.

After school James worked in the family business, and in the late 1980’s, when South Africa was going through its turbulent times of change, James saw the desperate need to bring communities together through social cohesion. In the early days of Education Africa, James met Walter Sisulu and they instantly formed a connection. Their common desire to provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged communities resulted in Walter Sisulu mentoring James from 1991 until his passing.

James was honoured to have been asked to speak at the funeral of the late Chris Hani at a time when South Africa was very much on edge as the country laid the foundations for the birth of democracy. He was also entrusted by the ANC with the task of developing a historic video calling for the lifting of sanctions in October 1993 which was pre-recorded by Nelson Mandela prior to its release in November 1993 and only after Nelson Mandela at the United Nations asked for the lifting of sanctions save for oil and arms. James also got the leaders of the PAC (Pan African Congress), DP (Democratic Party), Inkatha Freedom Party and COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) to contribute to the video. James was the custodian of this video and earned the trust of many high-ranking ANC officials by ensuring it’s safe-keeping.

It was at around this time that Education Africa received an award by the Hostel Peace Initiative which recognised persons and groups who, against all odds, committed themselves to peace and bringing about a new South Africa.

When Nelson Mandela (who was also mentored by Walter Sisulu) became South Africa’s first democratically elected President, James was the first person in the non-profit sector to lead President Nelson Mandela and had the honour of presenting him the Golden Doves of Peace Award at an event with the National Peace Secretariat. President Mandela attended a number of Education Africa events during his term of office, and personally struck the first 5oz proof gold medallion to commemorate his inauguration. It was President Mandela’s wish that proceeds from the sale of these medallions would go to Education Africa, thus providing the organisation with some much-needed funding.

The biggest challenge for James has always been the sustainability of Education Africa and his dream is to create an endowment fund so that Education Africa can be self-sustainable for generations to come. This will also enable James and the organisation to grow their Africa footprint – a plan which was conceptualised following a strategic planning session facilitated by Deloitte. The aim is to educate, equip and empower more and more African communities beyond South Africa’s borders through a Social Franchising initiative of some of Education Africa’s key projects.

James is committed to a lifetime of Making real change Happen through providing educational opportunities to enable Poverty alleviation through Education. He has had the opportunity of interacting and working with many celebrities, government and community leaders, and top business people. Those who work with James are extremely motivated by his will to succeed and his willingness to make personal sacrifices to do just that, for the betterment of others.

He is a true example of an Africanist who strongly believes that it’s Africa’s time.

In July 2018, James was named as one of the winners of the 2018 Klaus J. Jacobs Awards honouring social innovation and change-making in the field of child and youth development.

James’ story is that of an ordinary South African who has achieved in delivering educational opportunities to millions of disadvantaged South Africans. What makes this even more remarkable is that he was able to turn his own educational challenges into something positive and inspirational.  

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