Event Details

Widening the pipeline of up-and-coming female leaders in South Africa is essential for fostering inclusive growth and ensuring diverse perspectives in leadership roles. Despite progress in gender equality, women remain underrepresented in top positions across various sectors. By investing in the development of female leaders, South Africa can harness the full potential of its talent pool, driving innovation and competitiveness. Empowering women through education, mentorship, and opportunities for advancement not only promotes gender parity but also strengthens the socio-economic fabric of the nation. A concerted effort to support emerging female leaders will lead to more balanced decision-making and a more equitable society.

Join us as we explore how a concerted effort to support emerging female leaders can lead to more balanced decision-making and a more equitable society. This event will feature panel discussions and networking opportunities aimed at creating actionable plans to empower the next generation of female leaders. For our August event, we are also inviting business leaders to bring up-and-coming female leaders from your organisation to join this powerful conversation.

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


  • Leanne Cook (MD at Beckman Coulter (Danaher Corporation))

    Leanne Cook

    MD at Beckman Coulter (Danaher Corporation)

    With a diverse career spanning various managerial and leadership roles in the medical and healthcare industry, including positions at Johnson & Johnson, Fresenius Medical Care, and now Beckman Coulter Diagnostics, Leanne Cook has demonstrated expertise in business management, strategic leadership, sales, and marketing, contributing to the growth and success of each organization. Her extensive experience and skill set position her as a valuable asset in driving sustainable growth and leading high-performing teams within the healthcare sector.

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  • Akhona Qengqe (GM, Africa at KFC (Pty) Ltd)

    Akhona Qengqe

    GM, Africa at KFC (Pty) Ltd

    Akhona Qengqe is the General Manager (GM) at KFC Africa. In 2023 she was appointed as the first female and African to occupy this position in KFC Africa’s history of 52 years on the continent. In her capacity as GM she is responsible for overseeing the strategic direction and overall operations of the organisation; and with the full leadership team, they collectively drive profitability and relevance for the business.

    In her prior role as Chief People and Transformation Officer at KFC, Akhona was responsible for developing and executing KFC's global people strategy in support of the overall business' strategic direction. Before that, she was the Director of Transformation for more than two years and was instrumental in crafting a diversity and inclusion agenda for the business through initiatives such as #IamMoreThanWhatYouSee.
    Akhona’s passion for gender diversity and female inclusion led her to introduce KFC Africa’s first female leadership development program called Women on the Move (WOM) in 2020. At present she is the Executive Sponsor for both WOM, as well as KFC Global’s female community of belonging called SHINE.

    Having been in the franchise industry for 17 years, Akhona has an impeccable understanding of what it takes to empower the most important aspect of any business – its people. She is proud to actively lead a culture that propels results and inspires employees and franchisees to see where they fit into the bigger picture of Yum!
    A firm belief of Akhona’s is that the business’s values should be something that employees can live by – a culture that fuels the business.

    Some of the other notable senior positions Akhona has occupied during her career includes Board Chair of the Franchise Association of South Africa and a number of roles within petroleum. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics, Politics and Philosophy from the University of Cape Town, a Marketing Certificate from the University of South Africa, a Critical Diversity Literacy Program from Wits University and is also an Oxford University Alumni.

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  • Sam Rolland (Director, Sub-Saharan Africa of The Economist  Intelligence Corporate Network)

    Sam Rolland

    Director, Sub-Saharan Africa of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

    Sam is a trained economist specialising in understanding the complexities of the South African economy. Prior to joining the EICN, Sam spent time in both the public and private sector, first as an economist within the Economic Policy division of the National Treasury, and then as a consulting economist at Econometrix, and Deloitte. During his time in private sector, Sam specialised in analysing events and government policies to dilute these into constructing business strategies. Sam also spent time in Switzerland as an economist for airline industry body IATA. Sam holds a masters degree in economics from Stellenbosch University, and has studied further at the Insitute for Social Studies in The Hague, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Levy Economics Insitute of Bard College in New York State.

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Seven Villa Hotel & Spa

160 Helen Rd, Strathavon, Sandton
Johannesburg, South Africa

If you have any questions please contact EICN Africa

Contact Organizer

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