This years’ #Timspirational Faculty comprises of amazing women who are Making a Difference in communities, cities, continents and around the world. It is only appropriate as the cause of empowering women has been a resonant theme for the past few years for me and I’m grateful that 2016 was a big year in this regard. In fact, I would almost go and acknowledge as President Obama that as such I have become a ‘feminist’ in the process. This is dedicated to all the many other ‘sheroes’ who are causing positive ripples in our planet.
As noted in the inaugural list published in 2014, these are individuals whose mission I believe in and vouch for. Equally, there are those who I have acknowledged who believe in me and what I’m about. Overall, they are all inspiring Good people who seek to be forces of good in our world in their various ways and endeavours, and without a doubt they are individuals to look out for in the years to come.
So in no particular order, kindly join me in acknowledging, celebrating and congratulating The #25 Timspirational People for 2016!
- Dr Sam Collins – Meeting Dr Sam in January 2016 at the Aspire Leadership conference in London was a highlight for me. She’s simply a World changer, identified by the Queen of England as one of the top 200 influential women in business and industry. Dr Sam is a kindred spirit, super passionate about empowering women around the world, she is on an unstoppable mission to impact a billion women by 2020! And Yes she has a big heart for Africa, which I’m very passionate about. She’s super cool, quirky and a Trailblazer indeed! Thanks Sam for all you do, you are totally MAD!
- Zanele With Heart – perhaps I have met no one in recent memory who’s as passionate and committed to a cause as Zanele With Heart. It’s no surprise that 3 years on she remains truly #Timspirational in all she does. As the founder of She-is-me, she’s focused on mentoring the next generation of women, especially girls in their teens. ZWH continues to trail blaze with various courageous moves this year that have seen her step full time into business, and even took a leap of faith to be at Aspire Leadership conference this November. She’s just unstoppable and totally amazing and I have no doubt that 2017 will even be a bigger year for her! More details:http://she-is-me.org/
- Khanyisile Motsa – Fondly known as Mum Khanyi is perhaps the most iconic woman I’ve met this year. She’s the founder of HOPE of Hope for girls in Johannesburg and she’s been on a relentless mission this past 16 years rescuing girls from the streets and giving them dignity from all the vices you can name in our city and country. As I would call her, she’s the Mother Theresa of our city for all her bigness of heart and magnanimity of spirit. It’s been a great privilege to work with her very closely this year in these noble cause and would invite anyone to give them a visit and join forces in making a difference in our community. Ma you inspire us in all you do – you are my personal hero!
- Prudence Mocumi – I know I told her that she’d not make the list because she’s a close friend and associate but as I considered it, no doubt there’s no question on her impact on community and corporate world. Prudence is the founder of purpose inspired, an organisation focused on empowering men, women and young people to discover and live out their purpose. She’s passionate about Mentorship, Leadership, and women empowerment a cause she’s been devoted to for the last 15 years. This year I have had a unique opportunity to work with Prudence closely and I could never have asked for a better collaboration. She brings a wholesome perspective about issues and also such an easy going fun loving person. I have no doubt 2017 and beyond will be big for her. Watch out on a screen near you!
- Julia Nangolo – in the spirit of breaking more rules, Julia just had to be on this list as she is perhaps my biggest collaborator in 2016 and going forward. As a colleague I worked with few years ago, she has continued to influence my path in ways more than I can imagine. She inspired me to get into coaching in 2012, tagged me with the permanent title of “Timotivator”, which epitomizes my passion and heart to inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be. The most amazing thing is that she is able to do all this without using so many words. She is easily one of the people I respect, admire and most grateful to collaborate with. Most definitely 2017 is going to be even bigger as we embark on world changing ventures together. Thanks again Julia for being a great inspiration. You are totally #Timspirational!
- Gugu Mazibuko – She’s family! That’s how I introduce her. Now, she spoilt us both on our anniversary and totally pulled the most generous surprise for my birthday and has been the kindest soul I know since we encountered each other on Twittersphere in the past year. its humbling in life to encounter those who believe in you, even beyond yourself. Those who make an instalment to your journey and path and vote for your greatness, all inspired by goodwill and a big heart. I call her O2, for she is pure inspiration, a friend who even though we have never met in person, has been a blessing to our family as a whole. Just know we love you back big time O2, you make us believe in the best of humanity and that Ubuntu is alive indeed!
- Kudzi – There’s something about this awesome young lady that is just remarkable! Behind her quiet mien is a kind of cool that brings out the best in people. She’s people smart, efficient and tenacious. She’s totally passionate about Women and Leadership and she’s all about big grand causes and ideals like Pan Africanism! And so at the whim of a hat we hatched a dream project that we embarked on at the later part of 2016, and what an interesting venture it was! We literally managed to crystalize ether to a concrete actionable concept within such a short time thanks to such brilliant collaboration from Kudzi. She brings clarity and perspective that is often uncommon especially when dealing with fuzziness, and is someone whose insight I always value. I know she has a big year ahead – check out some of her writing and work here, she’s definitely someone to work with again into the future.
- Tiyani – And just as you thought it couldn’t get better then you meet Tiyani. She’s driven, smart, ambitious, Entrepreneurial and even a soon to be published author. It’s funny that I have known her only for 12 months and it almost feels like a lifetime given her many involvements and bold initiatives. I would say in the simplest of words, that Tiyani is the epitome of the potential in African youth that embodies a vastness of interest and imagination, a hunger for achieving and a restlessness even but exhibits a remarkable resilience. Most certainly I’d not make this a memoir about Tiyani, all I’ll say – look out to discover more about her in her soon to come book. And yes so proud to have you as one of my mentees! Bring it on 2017….
- Ceejay – It had to be! And we only met very recently as part of the ‘dream project’ so unconventionally, but so glad we met nevertheless. I’m no prophet or futurist, but I call her “The future” as only she can be. At such a tender age, she exhibits wisdom beyond her years and such a cool name as Ceejay! – I suspect she’ll be a household name soon! Ceejay is a final year student at Wits, passionate about learning and importantly listening to people’s stories. She also writes poetry and enjoys engaging in intellectual banter and also is deeply spiritual and kind hearted. I’m so glad we sat next to each other Ceejay!
- Lerato – aka my friendship. Talk about Lerato, talk about Young people in South Africa reignited. Talk about black consciousness and renaissance. Talk about Women… Talk about a movement… That Is what Lerato epitomises and embodies especially in her work as I met her earlier this year at the Nelson Mandela Foundation where she was leading a series of initiatives and events focused on Igniting young minds on issues that matter… Constitutionalism, Active citizenship and love for country. It was so inspiring to see a room full of young people debate and engage on discourse on such issues and even elder leading lights such as the public protector, deputy chief justice and Dr. Ramphele share guidance and perspective on how a possible future and might look like with such consciousness and movement. Keep doing what you are doing my friendship!
- Bongi – Have you ever met someone so gifted at almost everything? Bongi in one such versatile and multi-talented individual so full of inspiration and an astounding sense of faith and conviction. Importantly, she is such a humble person that is not afraid of daring big and learning. She has remained resolute and forward looking despite facing so many challenges and adversities. I know she has some ground breaking projects coming up in 2017. I’m certainly looking forward to covering more ground with her in 2017 as we chart the path to greatness and unlocking her full potential. She is one of the people I look forward to working with in 2017!
- Zimbini Ogle – She’s a PhD candidate, a feminist, a friend, a big hearted sister, a Pan Africanist and an adventurous traveller. So we met at the 14th annual Mandela lecture, introduced through a friend and was greatly impressed by her heart and mind. She stands out with her distinctly African head gear and short hair which speaks volumes of her authenticity, confidence and courage. You speak to her and realize how much she has to offer. She has a heart to empower the down trodden, yes let’s help the youth and women access job opportunities. Let’s fix our politics, yes let’s step in and lend a hand to a friend or a sister. There’s something about her simplicity, humility and pragmatism that makes Zimbini totally Timspirational. And no sweat I didn’t say pulling in a PhD Is a joke!
- Silindile – She was kind to us as she served us with a smile, even as we made our various stops at the clinic for routine Immunizations for Princess Z… We met last year, but only later this year did I really get to know her as person, her dreams and ambitions beyond the service counter, where we would grab a coffee or brunch during our stop overs. I must say speaking to her in person was a lesson in humility, hope, faith and resilience. Silindile has inspired me by her resolve to build and pursue a better path through education. It is a mission she’s totally committed to and one I have no doubt she will achieve. She was so bold enough as to task me as her mentor. I have no doubt she’ll fulfil her dreams and aspirations and 2017 will be a big launchpad.
- Refiloe Seseane – In our mission to find change makers in 2016, our paths crossed with Refiloe. She’s the founder of 18twenty8 an organization focused on empowering girls in South Africa. She is also an accomplished actress, motivational speaker and all together wonderful person. She wears a versatility about her that is truely inspiring and speaking to her you are touched by her humility and commitment about her cause. If ever you are looking for a role model or mentor or an example to follow, Refiloe is it for you!
- Varaidzo Audrey Mureriwa or Vee – I met Vee mid 2016 on a hackathon event organized for Mandela Day by P-Stem, the organization she co-founded to champion the cause of STEM in Schools and students in Southern Africa. Vee has dedicated herself to this important cause and leads the organization on a day to day basis in conjunction with likeminded colleagues and partners. In my conversations with Vee, she demonstrates a great passion to empower others, especially the Youth in Africa through such platforms as P-Stem that has done tremendous work in schools in underprivileged neighbourhoods in South Africa. She is definitely going places and as she makes a difference in the community, the city and the continent in the coming decade.
- Bobbie Coughtrey – She is the Master Connector, as evidenced by our first interaction in London early in the year. She literally was the connector in the room, and even had to seek her help to locate a contact i had misplaced at the event several months later. And yes, I was helped! Most importantly and significant for me – Bobbie is my mentor. This is a big deal for me as this is an area that I have struggled with the most – I have rarely found people who could challenge, inspire or add value to me, especially as mentors. I have kept in touch with Bobbie through the year and she has been a tremendous help with her insights on business, leadership and life. I will never forget her blank cheque commitment, something so rare nowadays. That I’m happy to support you Tim, “whatever you may need”. Now isn’t that magical or what?
- Shayla Scarlett – She is officially my accountability partner, or at least this the sworn role we were given at the culmination of the Aspire Leadership Conference in London early this year where we met on the final day and connected even though so briefly. Now, I believe that God orchestrates such detail as minute as who we sit next to in the bus, the airplane or at an event. I attended the conference this year with not much of an idea about what i wanted in my year ahead – so ambivalent of everything. I believe that Shayla played a key role in giving me the opportunity to commit to a cause and a path despite my ambivalence and clouded outlook. As i recount several months later, I have had a terrific year even without a script. Incidentally, Shayla’s dream is also unfolding and is now moved to Botswana in Southern Africa from the US where she was based when we met in January. I have no doubt there will be so many more #Timspirational things to write about as my accountability ‘pardner’ finds her feet in this part of the world. Truly, good things happen to those who choose to believe and have the courage to pursue.
- Kelly Burford – Though we met only briefly early this year in Kuala Lumpur, I really enjoyed chatting and connecting with Kelly especially on all things creative and inspirational. She is a super creative genius with a passion for writing works of fiction, which I thoroughly enjoyed and found inspiring. I would definitely love to connect again, who knows next time I might be in Seattle??
- Jane Donaldson – I met Jane early this year at the Aspire conference in London, and we chatted briefly about our various involvements and aspirations. Fast forward, several months later Jane fulfilled her aspiration and took on the role of Executive Director at The Aspire foundation. Jane is always full of inspiring energy and ideas every time we speak and very passionate about making a difference in the world. I have no doubt she will make a great contribution to Aspire’s mission of reaching a billion women by 2020.
- Margaret Carrucan – Another of the kindest hearted people I met this year is Margaret. I remember we sat next to each other during day 1 of Aspire conference, and am so grateful that we met. It’s amazing that we had lots in common especially on our lifetime aspirations, for example both of us have a great admiration for Nelson Mandela and what he stood for. Margaret is also very passionate about social justice and making difference in the world and she absolutely has a big kind heart. It’s not often that someone extends an open invite to their home moments after meeting. Margaret we will definitely be coming to visit soon!
- Andrea Stadeen Crane – I got to know more about Andrea’s passion for STEM as we chatted post the Aspire Conference. Notably, she has vast knowledge and experience in this subject and has been actively involved in mentoring and developing others in this areas for more than 15 years. Andrea is also a great encourager and really enjoyed connecting with her, exchanging perspectives and insights. I have no doubt that she will inspire so many girls to pursue and succeed in the Science and Technology space in the various initiatives she is pursuing going forward.
- Fizza Qureshi – I have recently connected with Fizza through the Aspire Mentorship programme which I’m part of – and it is been so inspiring learning about her work in Immigration advocacy as this is a burning issue in our world today. I’m particularly grateful for the opportunity to support such noble efforts, even though indirectly as a mentor. I also cherish the opportunity to learn more about this and other related issues as a global citizen and student of life. Thanks again Fizza, keep doing what you do. You are totally #Timspirational!
- Phakamile Nkosi – There is something about people who go the extra mile because they care, and for this I give it up to Phakamile for her all out support during our fundraising efforts this year for Charity. It’s not often that you find colleagues who are genuinely supportive and always with an easy smile, making things happen. Thank you so much Phakamile, you are totally #Timspirational and look forward to raising more money for charity together in 2017!
- Belinda Benton – Belinda is one such other person who made it easy and possible to raise money for charity in our fundraising efforts in 2016. She’s efficient and easy going at the same time. One of those people who make miracles happen and make things look effortless. Thanks indeed Belinda for all your support and let’s do greater things again in 2017!
- Dee Horngren – she’s a kindred spirit, a friend and a colleague – so passionate about the power of creative ideas, and human-centered design to problem solving, a cause she has championed to great success. I have always admired people who channel their passion to a cause or a mission, bigger than them. Dee brings lots of passion and excellence in all she does, and importantly she cares truly and deeply about people. I’m grateful to Dee’s efforts particularly in the “Make a Difference” aspirations we were able to pull together in the course of 2016 and most certainly look forward to bigger and greater projects in the coming years and beyond.
- Mabel Pooe – Mabel is simply the boss! Yes, she is a dear colleague with heart who made 2016 all about Making a Difference for me. There is something about someone who is easy going, approachable and fun loving who gets things done with such sense of ease. Mabel has not just been a colleague, she’s been a great collaborator that has cleared paths to doing greater good in our community, and made our efforts with Home of Hope fruitful and impactful.
As we bid farewell to 2016, I would like to continually acknowledge and thank my family, especially my wife, Pierre who is the bedrock of our family, and our amazing friends who have inspired us in so many ways. I’m ever grateful for your enduring love and support.
I also would like to thank Clem McGrath, my mentor like no other who brings a rare level of clarity and perspective in my life and has bolstered my journey thus far. Thanks Clem for taking me on, and always being there helping me get out of my way – I look forward to scaling greater heights with you in 2017.
I have also enjoyed great collaboration with some of my other colleagues such as Lerato Mokoena, Phumulani Nyembe, Thuli among others who made this year truly about making a difference. Thanks team, you totally rock!
I would also like to Thank my friend Kevin Chung for honouring me with a feature on his amazing podcast, Cracking the Creativity Podcast early this year. Kevin, you remain #Timspirational in all the ground breaking work you are doing.
Please check out Kevin’s latest book project – We are All Creative – here!
Once again I would like to thank you all for Making 2016 highly impactful and memorable.
Wishing you all a blessed and successful 2017!