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Mentor Session with Dr. Vuyo Mahlati

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Dr. Vuyo Mahlati is the current President of the International Women’s Forum South Africa. In May 2010 she was appointed by the President to serve as one of the inaugural members of South Africa’s National Planning Commission for five years. Vuyo obtained her PhD from the University of Stellenbosch – her thesis focusing on the role of value chains in mainstreaming rural entrepreneurs into global markets.

Vuyo’s leadership draws from vast experience as a policy specialist trained in the UK London School of Economics as well as her corporate leadership and entrepreneurship. She has served two terms as the Chairperson of the South African Post Office Board of Directors which includes the Post Bank.

As a recognized global thought leader, Vuyo participates in global think tanks on corporate diversity leadership and inclusive development.

Dr. Vuyo was approached by Mbewu’s founding members to contribute to the development of the group as a guardian. As a women who has dedicated most of her life to women empowerment and gender equality and other developmental initiatives, it was a great match for her to add some valued input from the inception of Mbewu Movement.

Dr. Vuyo has continuously shared great insight into strategies that could be applied to the Mbewu and its direction as well as suggestions involving the day-to-day running of our group. Sharing stories from her personal endeavors over the years, including challenges and successes that have made her who she is today.

An important take away that resonated with all Mbewu members was to revisit the definition of a mentor as we know it and particularly in light of Mbewu. We tend to think that mentors are those who have walked the steps ahead of you and have been successful, and are likely to have a made a great name for themselves in doing so. She stressed that society overlooks the mentors in our everyday lives; our aunts, our nannies, our teachers, our colleagues and friends. In this regard, she encouraged Mbewu Movement to take heed and adopt a holistic perspective of mentorship and coaching.

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