Category: News

Women Leadership Programmes (WLP) – A Must for Female Employees Within South African Universities

By Unene Gregory on 6th May 2022 in News

By Dr Tessie Herbst and Prof Vinessa Naidoo

In November 2019, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) launched its first female-specific leadership programme with 52 delegates.  The impetus for the programme was twofold:

  1. Firstly, because women are still underrepresented at senior management levels.
  2. Secondly, our ALIS data – our 360-degree feedback intervention which we conduct annually – revealed that although women leaders were rated as equally effective as their male counterparts, they significantly underrated themselves compared to how their subordinates, peers and colleagues rated them.  On the other hand, men overrated themselves.

So, from a purely institutional perspective, the justification for the programme was simple:  We have a problem and we need to fix it! Women only leadership development programmes are only a small part of the solution – but they are a vitally important part.

The question of whether there should be female-only leadership programmes always has a divided opinion. Some people argue that they reinforce barriers rather than bringing them down, or that they stigmatize women or do women a disservice by singling them out.  In addition, there is a concern that they fail to engage men in the challenges women face.

However, over the past two years of delivering the programme, we have learnt that there is a strong case to create a space for women to meet and work together. We have seen this translate into a strong return on investment that dually benefits both the women at TUT and the university itself.

The world of work is changing, but the environment is still a challenging one for women leaders. It is important to affirm these challenges and provide assistance. Most universities are still very male-dominated in terms of design and structure; and most men do not find themselves in situations where they are in the minority.  Women also have a tendency to internalize their concerns about their careers and it is often not until they come together in a safe environment – such as the one we provide in the programme – that they realize the issues they face might be gender-related rather than specific to them as an individual.

In this way, we hope to dispel the myth that “women’s leadership programmes are about ‘fixing’ women”. It’s not about ‘fixing’ women; it’s about ‘fixing’ the system.  The goal of the programme is also not to teach women how to be more like men. Nor is it about being anti-male – far from it! It is a programme for women but it is not against men. Rather, it gives women the time and space to reflect and share with other women, without the pressure to carry on behaving as they normally do in their (mixed) working environment. It is a space wherein they can discuss their experiences openly and honestly.

Often, this is the first time these women have been able to sit down with their female peers; this is a real voyage of discovery which includes:

  • finding out about the challenges other women have faced,
  • the mistakes they have made
  • and the ways they have behaved in certain situations. 

And that is really the essence of the issue. It is not about gender, it is about making the most of the talent we have. It also just happens that one of our strategies involves investing in a particular group!

As mentioned, Women Leadership Programmes (WLP) are not about fixing women or even empowerment of women, but helping women identify opportunities to shift the system.  Women are just as competent as men but we work and live in a system that was not designed for women.

Our Programme

Traditionally, training targeted at women tends to put the emphasis on skills development or assertiveness, but as mentioned our ALIS data confirmed that women do not lack the skills and that there was a need to delve deeper to find what was really holding them back.

The overall aim of the programme was to demonstrate commitment to our female staff, that they are valued and that we support their further growth and success within the university.  The specific aims are:

  • Supporting the women to understand their own brand and style of leadership
  • Identifying the obstacles to leadership effectiveness
  • Understanding the importance of self-confidence
  • Realizing that the women are already leaders

It is a journey that starts with the SELF. Participants arrive expecting a traditional training intervention, and the element of self-discovery working through very personal issues comes as a surprise. Ultimately, we want them to succeed as women, to feel that they can be themselves. We do not want them to change, we want them to harness the difference that they bring and know that it is valued, especially since women mostly had to learn to ‘fit in’ to get on. And by performing leadership differently, they are influencing the university’s leadership culture, however slowly. 

The communicating with confidence pre and post online survey that is conducted before and after the programme shows that the overall impact on their ability to communicate with confidence was rated 6.7 on a scale from 1-7. It has re-energized some of our women, and encouraged them to think differently about what they want from their career and how they will achieve it. It has helped them develop strategies that will improve their navigation of the university.  There is no question that women feel more confident at the end of the programme. They are more ready to take ownership of their careers and more confident in their own potential.

Women’s Comments About the Programme

The women’s comments about the program included the following:

The impact is very high. I’m happy that the programme was able to help me rediscover and uncover who I really am, and I am presently working on my personal impact.

The programme has been a life changer.

The programme was very empowering. I am much bolder and confident both in my personal and professional life.

This programme has made me become the greatest woman I never thought I will ever be. I moved from a girl in the corner to a confident woman in the front. My confidence level has become high. I am well aware of who I am and where I want to be.

The programme has given me the confidence to be me, by revealing to me my inner strength. I can use my voice, my posture and how I communicate to be listened to.

This programme was a life changing journey. It was an eye opener and lead to self-discovery. I have learned a lot and acquired skills.

The story of ME and story of US

Stories about women have mostly been written by men.  In the programme we spend a lot of time to reflect on:

  • What are the stories women have bought into? – girls must be pretty and nice
  • What are the stories that keep us stuck?

Our stories help us to show up or not show up. People who created the system are not going to change it for you. 8 Women raised their hands and agreed to come and share their stories – this is their way of using the power of their voice, stepping into their power and shifting the system.

There is a saying that to LEAD is to live dangerously. These women all demonstrated immense courage in being willing to come to a forum like this and share their stories. Telling your story is an act of courage. These women all chose courage over comfort.

When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.

A good way to measure progress with regard to gender equality is to look at the Nobel Prizes.  The Nobel Prizes are awarded in 6 categories:

  1. Literature
  2. Medicine
  3. Chemistry
  4. Peace
  5. Physics
  6. Economics

As of 2021, women have been the recipients of fewer than three percent of Nobel prizes, and only one woman of colour has ever received the award. Therefore, to quote from the book by Elizabeth Lesser (Cassandra speaks):

“The world would have been different – and better – if women had an equal say in the development of literature, medicine, chemistry, physics, peace and economics. Better, not because women are better, but because they are more than half of humanity, representing more than half of what it means to be human.”

If you can convince us otherwise – you should win a Noble Prize.

Elizabeth Lesser, Cassandra Speaks: When Women Are the Storytellers, the Human Story Changes

TSB MBA Alumni Spotlighting

By Unene Gregory on 8th Apr 2022 in News

We are proud of our alumni! They go on to make a positive impact in their respective spaces. Our Alumni Spotlight feature shares the reflections of TSB alumni on their time at TSB and their achievements as alumni.

This month we got to know Ms Sharon Mukhola.

  1. Graduation year:
    2021
  1. Please share your current occupation title and employer, and briefly describe what you are currently doing for work and the path you took to get to this point:
    I am a Regional Manager at CATHSSETA. As a Hospitality graduate, I started my career with Protea Hotels as a receptionist. I was promoted to assistant front office manager within 9 months and then moved to a  coordinator position at  Head Office a year later. I was then promoted to  Key Accounts Executive within 2 years. Thereafter, I moved to the SETA as a Hospitality specialist and was later promoted to Chamber Manager for Tourism , Hospitality and Gaming. I then became the Regional Manager responsible for the SETAs four largest provinces, namely Gauteng, North West, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. A position I have held for the last 4 years.
  1. Why did you choose to attend TSB?
    The flexibility of attending classes on a Saturday appealed to me as it allowed me to juggle my responsibilities at work during the week and focus on classes on the  weekend. I could also get study time in the evenings after work.
  1. How did your TSB MBA prepare you for career advancement?
    I was able to improve my leadership skills and get more exposure in terms of business management. My background up to beginning the MBA had been purely in hospitality management.
  1. What person or module most influenced you while at TSB and in what way?
    The research dissertation was an intensely personal journey for me as it was a topic I was passionate about; the topic was the employability of graduates in the hospitality industry. This, along with the organisational behaviour (OB) module, had a really profound impact on me. I still lean on learnings from the OB module and they influence my management style and how I interact with and manage my team.
  1. What do you know now that you wish you had known before or while doing your MBA?
    Always ask for help when you are struggling, you are surrounded by people with a wealth of knowledge and you should tap into this. We are all struggling with something and we can learn from each other.
  1. What advice would you give current and prospective MBA students?
    Enjoy the journey! It is a life changing experience, immerse yourself in it fully. It’s important to strike a work-school life balance and not neglect any part of your life. Most importantly, build relationships.
  1. Describe TSB in three words:
    Game Changer, Dynamic.
  1. Share your best TSB memory:
    The interaction with fellow students from various industries and the lifelong friendships one makes through this journey. I met one of my closest friends on this journey and she has become like family over the years. They say friendships from school tend to last and I agree because this journey brought us really close and we have maintained the friendship after completing.
  1. What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
    The implementation of the Executive Development Programme for Women in Tourism. I was able to implement this amazing project because of the invaluable knowledge I gained from the MBA. I also chair a high level committee with one of the SETA’s line function government departments aimed at improving the Tourism Human Resource Development Strategy. I am able to operate at this high level due to the experience and confidence gained from completing my MBA.

TSB MBA Alumni Spotlighting

By Unene Gregory on 18th Mar 2022 in News

We are proud of our alumni! They go on to make a positive impact in their respective spaces. Our Alumni Spotlight feature shares the reflections of TSB alumni on their time at TSB and their achievements as alumni.

This month we got to know Major General Thituwi Mulaudzi.

  1. Graduation year:
    2021
  1. Please share your current occupation title and employer, and briefly describe what you are currently doing for work and the path you took to get to this point:
    I am employed by the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), serving as the General Officer Commanding DOD Logistics Support Formation; my rank is Major General. I started my military career in 1987 and went through the ranks from a Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, Brigadier General and now Major General.
  1. Why did you choose to attend TSB?
    To empower myself academically so that I can make informed decisions in my work space.
  1. How did your TSB MBA prepare you for career advancement?
    When compared with my peer group, my MBA degree gave me a competitive edge.
  1. What person or module most influenced you while at TSB and in what way?
    The Project Management module because it addresses the process of doing one’s daily tasks irrespective of the size of the task. With regards to a person, I nearly gave up towards the end of my studies but Professor Vinessa Naidoo, as the then Acting Director and later my supervisor, taught me to not give up in life.
  1. What do you know now that you wish you had known before or while doing your MBA?
    That anything is possible in life, we only need to have a positive mindset.
  1. What advice would you give current and prospective MBA students?
    An MBA is not difficult but it has a lot of work. Hard work pays off and being present counts. So, work hard and attend all the classes.
  1. Describe TSB in three words:
    Centre of Excellence.
  1. Share your best TSB memory:
    The peer engagement during syndicate classes, listening to presentations from other students and assessing my understanding as compared to my fellow students. That has encouraged me to soldier on.
  1. What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
    Becoming a General Officer Commanding the DOD Logistics Support Formation and being an MBA qualified logistics officer.

TSB Takes Home Three Excellence Awards

By Unene Gregory on 23rd Nov 2021 in News

The 2019/2020 Tshwane University of Technology Academic Excellence Awards were held on Wednesday evening, 17 November 2021. The excellence awards are held annually and are one of the university’s leading events. The purpose of the awards is to recognise and celebrate university academic staff members who have excelled in their duties and have made a positive contribution to the university and beyond. Thus, also highlighting the university’s academic brand and key projects

Three of TSB’s academics walked away with awards at Wednesday’s event. Prof Zeleke Worku received the award for “Senior researcher of the year”, Prof Vinessa Naidoo received “Best Woman Researcher in the Faculty of Management Sciences” and Dr Emmanuel Innocents Edoun received a Merit Award – Senior Researcher of the Year in the Faculty of Management Sciences.

Left to right: Prof Zeleke Worku, Prof Vinessa Naidoo, Dr Emmanuel Innocents Edoun.

These awards are not a first for TSB, they are additions to the other awards our academics have received over the years. This speaks to the dedication and hard work of our academics and the TSB team, who strive to make a positive impact on our students and the community.

In addition to their teaching and supervision work, and conducting their own research, our academics also run community programmes, mentor small businesses, and serve on committees. We are proud of the work they do and the contribution they make.

TSB Alumni Spotlighting

By Unene Gregory on 4th Aug 2021 in News

We are proud of our alumni! They go on to make a positive impact in their respective spaces. Our Alumni Spotlight feature shares the reflections of TSB alumni on their time at TSB and their achievements as alumni.

This month we got to know Dr Makkie Pieterse.

  1. Graduation year:
    2021
  1. Please share your current occupation title and employer, and briefly describe what you are currently doing for work and the path you took to get to this point:
    Assistant Registrar at Tshwane University of Technology. I am the HOD of the Certification Management Office where we confirm the issuing of qualifications and arrange all TUT graduation ceremonies. I have been working at TUT for 20 years, in the Academic Administration environment. Pursuing further studies has assisted me to advance my career.
  1. Why did you choose to do a DBA and what was your research title?
    My research title was “Factors That Affect Efficiency in The Utilisation of Performance Management Data Sets at The Tshwane University of Technology”. While I was Busy with my masters degree I already knew what my DBA studies will entail.
  1. Why did you choose to pursue your DBA at TSB?
    TSB was my obvious choice. Since I am an employee of TUT, I believe in my employer as an institution of higher education and have trust in the qualifications it presents. TSB has proven to offer credible qualifications.
  1. How did your TSB DBA prepare you for career advancement?
    Competition is very high within the environment I work; furthering my education has helped advance my career. Even though a DBA is not a requirement for my current position, I am ready to move forward should I have the opportunity to do so.
  1. What do you know now that you wish you had known before or while doing your DBA?
    I would have done better planning from the beginning.
  1. What advice would you give prospective and current DBA students?
    Do not give up! Find something to motivate you and surround yourself with people who will allow you to move forward. This is your journey, where you do introspection and grow, not only academically but also personally. You do your DBA for yourself and your own career.
  1. Describe TSB in three words:
    Commitment, motivation, support.
  1. Share your best TSB memory:
    The support of my supervisor.
  1. What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
    Completing my DBA and being appointed Assistant Registrar.

TSB Becomes BGA Bronze Member

By Unene Gregory on 2nd Jul 2021 in News

We are delighted to announce that the Tshwane School for Business and Society has become a member of the Business Graduates Association (BGA).

The BGA, a sister organisation to the Association of MBAs (AMBAs), is an international membership and quality assurance body of world-leading and high-potential business schools. These are institutions that are committed to ethical and responsible management practices and lifelong learning. The BGA accredits business schools based on the positive impact they make to their students, the wider community and the economy as a whole.

TSB has been accepted as a Bronze member, which is an ‘Education Membership’. This means we will join an international network of like-minded institutions and have access to valuable resources that will support our work of making a positive impact within our society. Being exposed to varying viewpoints and experiences will enable us to maintain an international mindset in all we do.

According to Andrew Main Wilson, CEO of AMBA BGA, the association welcomes business schools which “clearly demonstrate a passion for practical, entrepreneurial business education with a proven commitment to social responsibility and sustainability”.

This membership is a testament to our commitment of living our slogan Lead for Impact. Our BGA membership will also be beneficial for our students, which is important to us.

Our next goal is to proceed with the Silver (Validated) membership level, and work towards the final and most coveted Gold (Accredited) membership level. TSB’s public profile on the BGA website could be found here: TSB BGA Profile

TSB Student Spotlighting

By Unene Gregory on 23rd Jun 2021 in News

We are proud of our students and want to spotlight them, even before they go on to achieve greater things and make a positive impact in their respective spaces.

This month we got to know Ms Christine Hader a bit more.

  1. Programme and year:
    MBA, 1st year
  1. Please share your current occupation title and employer, and briefly describe what you are currently doing for work and the path you took to get to this point:
    My major background is in staffing, employee branding, and people integration – paired with interdisciplinary research projects in open innovation for integrated plant engineering.
  1. Why did you choose to attend TSB?
    I met TSB students on their study trip in Germany in 2019. This is how I learned about the program and its benefits. The TSB program was my first choice for the MBA as it encourages critical discussions and self-sufficient, educated opinion-making.
  1. How do you hope your TSB MBA will prepare you for career advancement?
    Having worked and studied in diverse parts of North America, Southeast Asia, North Asia, and Europe, the opportunity to study at TSB and work in South Africa will further my understanding of intercultural relations distinctively. Employees and customers raise unprecedented requirements in our progressively globalized world. This should be appreciated not only in an immigration country like Germany, but throughout the value chain of most industries.
  1. What person or course has most influenced you while at TSB? In what way?
    For sure my wonderful study team! The workload in this MBA program is remarkable and I am very lucky to have such highly determined, empowering, and amiable teammates! In our team of five, there is always someone who keeps up the energy. My teammates are very kind and patient, even though we are only in the middle of trimester two, they have already shown me new great ways of working!
  1. What do you know now that you wish you had known before starting your MBA?
    This is a serious time commitment. You do not just wait until work is less busy to study for this part-time MBA. There are subjects that will give you homework every week assignments throughout the trimester and mid-term exams. You cannot just catch up just before the end exam.
  1. What advice would you give prospective students?
    Do pre-reading to prepare for lectures. Try to read the respective chapter in the book, not only the slides. That way you can fully join the discussion in the lecture and learn from other classmates’ expertise.
  1. Describe TSB in three words:
    Work hard smile!
  1. Any other comments?
    This is just the beginning of my TSB MBA journey but it was lovely from day one!

Graduation of AMP Inaugural Class

By Unene Gregory on 22nd Feb 2021 in News

Monday, 15 February 2021, marked the successful end of our first Agri-Business Management Programme (AMP). This was a 4-month management development programme developed for the Agricultural sector by TSB director, Prof Jonker and The Co Op Humansdorp management.

The programme was developed to equip middle managers in the Agri-Retail Industry with industry related skills, enabling them to become more effective managers and leaders in their organisations.

AMP students in their integrated capstone project groups

The inaugural AMP class consisted of 22 middle managers from The Co-Op Humansdorp and covered the following modules:

1. Strategic Marketing and Communication,

2. Financial Management and Corporate Governance,

3. Operations and Supply Chain Management,

4. Leadership and People Management,

5. Strategy Development

There was also an Integrated Capstone Project which consolidated learnings from the other modules in a practical manner. This was accomplished by the students having to tackle one of four topics brought forward by The Co Op management and using their learning from the programme to conceptualise viable solutions. 

Students presenting their integrated capstone project

Congratulations to all 22 students who managed to keep all the balls in air, juggling their everyday work, the AMP and their family lives. These students learned a lot from the programme but also brought a lot to it.

The Co Op CEO, Mr Henk Agenbach also commented on the growth he’d witnessed from the managers since participating in the programme, stating: “We already see it in our financial results!”.

The AMP culminated in a graduation ceremony which was held at The Co Op with the TSB team joining virtually in light of the pandemic. The students presented their Integrated Capstone projects to The Co Op management and received feedback.

Students being awarded their certificates by The Co Op CEO, Mr Henk Agenbach and HR Group Manager, Mr Christo Serfontein

This was followed by the awarding of their certificates, with 9 of the 22 students receiving cum laude, and the Best Student, Ms Christina Robbertze – whose overall mark as 1% higher than the 2nd best student, walking away with a gift voucher to mark her achievement. 

Ms Christine Robbertze awarded the best student by The Co Op CEO, Mr Henk Agenbach

With the success of our first Agri-Business Management Programme (AMP), the results of which are already been seen from the participants – this is surely only the beginning for this programme.