Time with Sisanda Lukhuleni, Best CEO at 2016 Company of the Year Competition

I got involved in the JA program through my school in South Africa. I was in grade 11 at the time.

During the course of the program I had many moments that I cherished and imprinted on my heart. My first highlight was being the GM/CEO of the company, CORE VORTEX. It was quite the experience having to manage a group of 44 girls while ensuring that the agenda of each meeting was reached. It was a challenging privilege that I truly enjoyed. The opportunity to compete in the local Company of the Year (COY) competition was a surreal experience. It was great interacting with teams from different provinces and observing how their  entrepreneurial spirit caused them to produce phenomenal products and services that could play a role in our economy.

The highlight for me was going to Zimbabwe for the regional COY competition. The day I found out, I couldn’t fathom that we would be representing South Africa competing to be crowned the Africa COY. That week [of the competition] was a complete emotional roller coaster from the Dragon’s Den presentations, to the scrutinising interviews, to the display booth/market. We were all aiming to win the ultimate prize. I would never take away that week because it introduced me to myself and winning the best CEO award was a humbling blessing. It wouldn’t have been possible if I wasn’t blessed with such an enthusiastic group of girls who shared a common vision and worked earnestly to make it a reality.

Being part of the JA program has taught me many things. The most important thing is to never give up because there will always be obstacles along the way that will test your resilience and there will be moments were you feel stagnant in your progress. It took me quite a number of mishaps to realise that as cliché as it may seem ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ I learnt that mistakes allow you to go at it again in a different angle with wiser comprehension and allowing your inner voice to direct your path. The second most important thing I learnt is that there is no ‘I’ in team. Being responsible  for the progress of the company taught me that although reaching the financial targets was important, building your colleagues to feel a part of the bigger picture was more essential. I decided to invest in the strengths of my colleagues to allow them to be a part of a managerial system that they were most passionate about whether it be marketing or safety and hygiene. Susan Vobejda once said being a leader is not about you; it’s about the people who are on your team and how you can help them be successful.  I took it upon myself to ensure that by the end of the program every individual within the company took more than just a salary but a renewed self-motivating spirit and belief that they can do anything.

I am motivated by seeing others succeed in their profession. My role model is the late Myles Munroe because of how he lived his life; his sermons on success and finding one’s purpose which inspire me to discover my vision through God’s eyes.

My advice to the youth is to always follow your heart and never let the world determine how far you can go and how much of an impact you can make because your success is determined by the depth of your vision and the level of your passion.

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