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For showing Us the Capability of Female Leaders in Business – Sibongile Vilakazi

DR Sibongile Vilakazi, is an intellectual who has worked her way up the business ladder through determination and hard work.

From research intern to CEO of her own company, Ntsikelelo Business Solution, Dr Vilakazi holds a number of board membership positions. These include: Chairperson of the Gauteng Growth and Development agency, Chairperson of the Social, Ethics and Governance Committee of the South African Music Rights Organization(SAMRO), Chairperson of the monitoring and evaluation Committee Enstika Foundation and a board member of the Kalagadi Manganese Mining Company. Dr Vilakazi has vast experience in leadership roles in a number of organisations. These include Alexander Forbes, Nedbank and Black Management Forum Gauteng among others.


What does modern leadership mean to you today?

 Modern leadership is conscious leadership. For me it’s about being aware of the impact you want to have on individuals and society at large, and going about each step and decision you make to achieve the desired impact. It is the ability to lead and influence people at different levels of skills, maturity and competence seamlessly. Being able to go down to bring up those who need to be brought up while you also engage your peers and those above you at their level. It is leading without an ego and being driven to achieve what needs to be achieved by respectfully involving whoever needs to be involved to achieve the task.

As a woman in business, what would you say were or are the challenges you experienced stepping into a leadership position?

 I have always believed that leadership is who you are rather than a role you play because by definition leadership is the ability to influence an outcome. It is inspiring people to do what they wouldn’t ordinarily have done. So I believe I have always led wherever I am and never had to step into a leadership role. My challenge rather has always been moulding myself in ways that fit the idea of a leader in a particular space in order to be noticed by the powers that be in that space. In a sense, I have always been a rebel, done things my way, which can be a challenge in certain spaces. So I have had to own this and lived with the consequences that come with it. I must say, the consequences have not been too bad though. Somehow I have always landed exactly where I need to be at exactly the right time.

What is your leadership style?

My leadership style is participative and power sharing. I strongly believe in a purpose led life and the power of the universe to connect us with people who are meant to enrich or enable the fulfilment of our purpose. So every individual I work with is part of the puzzle towards the fulfilment of mine and their purpose. I lead by involving individuals in the decisions taken and allow their free will to decide how far they will be on the journey with me and at what point they can checkout, simply because their part in the journey is done.

What is the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), can you explain the main goals of the organisation and the vision behind it?

 The Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA) was established by the Gauteng Provincial Government through its Department of Economic Development (GDED). Its objective is to spearhead and coordinate economic development efforts for the province, targeting local and international business stakeholders. The GGDA’s purpose is to grow the economy by positioning Gauteng as a Global Competitive City Region (GCR). It aims to demonstrate thought leadership in implementing key programmes and provide support for the development of key sectors. The GGDA’s decree is to serve as the implementation arm of the GDED and assist the department in leading, facilitating and managing sustainable job creation and inclusive economic growth and development in the GCR. The GGDA recognises the importance of investment as a driver of job creation, skills development and firm creation for economic growth and development both within the province and throughout South Africa. One of its key deliverables is ensuring that investors receive all the support and information that they require in order to maximise the gains from their investments.

As the chairperson of the GGDA what do you envision the organisation achieving in the near future?

I want us to fulfil our mandate with excellence. Our existence must be felt in Gauteng, South Africa and Africa at large, by the people whose lives we are changing. I’d like us to be impact driven and goal oriented. Results must be seen and felt, we shouldn’t have to explain them.

Would you say that GGDA is running alongside the modern way of operating in terms of development, leadership and economic growth?

 Yes, by design GGDA is conscious and specific about the role it should play in society. We just need to ensure that as leaders we are also conscious and not let the organization down and betray the mandate in the process

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