OWLAF Corporate Day 2017

Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation hosts second Annual Corporate Day Career Networking Event to foster next generation leaders

Johannesburg - The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation (OWLAF) hosted its second Corporate Day career networking event held for graduates of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls (OWLAG). Executives from over 40 of South Africa’s leading companies including Bidvest Bank, Bowmans Law, Brunswick, Engen, FNB and many more participated in the day which offered the former students an opportunity to discuss potential internships and job opportunities, and gain a greater understanding of a variety of different industries.

“As many of our students come from families lacking professional networks, we recognize one of our roles is to assist them in making those meaningful connections,” said Rebecca Sykes, President of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation. “We invite everyone to campus because we believe that anyone who sees the school first-hand and interacts directly with our incredible graduates will understand the value these young ladies will offer any company they have an opportunity to connect with.”

Recent literature suggests that young people who have had internships are more attractive to prospective employers, therefore OWLAF encourages local business leaders to consider the graduates for internships as well as permanent jobs. The keynote speaker for the day was Judy Sikuza, Deputy Executive Director of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, who spoke on the importance of education and ethical leadership. Additional guests included Dr. Ernest Messina, CEO of AHI, the national organization of small business chambers in South Africa and a former OWLAG Board member. Previous successful connections stemming from Corporate Day have resulted in bursaries from Envisionit, Mary Oppenheimer & Daughters Foundation and others.

“This is one of the most important days for us at OWLAG, as we are always looking for ways to connect with corporate partners of all industries to further assist us in shaping the girls’ future – and we are grateful to those who have come forth in support of our girls,” said Melvin King, Headmaster, OWLAG. “Networking is an important part of any journey and it pleases us that we are able to provide these opportunities for the OWLAG girls.”

Founded in 2007 by global media leader and philanthropist Ms. Oprah Winfrey, this year marks the 10th anniversary of OWLAG, which provides education to underprivileged girls from across South Africa. The Leadership Academy strives to raise future leaders who are able to navigate a variety of social and cultural contexts, and who will remain committed to the development of South Africa and the African continent. There are 310 students currently in attendance at the Leadership Academy. To date, 367 OWLAG graduates have attended prestigious colleges and universities around the world, including graduate programs, with 343 OWLAG Alumnae who have registered at South African Universities. As the graduates continue on to tertiary educations, OWLAF, through the university fund, supports the students as they step into the next phase of their lives and enter the workplace and return to their communities as women of the world.

“We encourage the girls to tell their stories – because their stories do not define who they are but rather through their stories they find their power, sense of resilience and direction. We are building a network of girls who support each other and want to make a difference to those less fortunate,” said King.

Those companies with an attending representative at Cultivation Day included:

  • 7Colors Communications
  • ABSA
  • AfricSearch
  • Akani Properties
  • Amazon
  • AWCA
  • Betts Townsend
  • Bidvest
  • Bidvest Bank
  • Boston Consultancy Group
  • Bowmans Law
  • Brunswick
  • Business Women's Association of South Africa
  • Dimension Data
  • Domba Empowerment Corporation
  • Eco Children
  • Engen Petroleum
  • Envisionit
  • EOH
  • FedEx
  • FNB
  • Freewi Technologies
  • Gemalto Southern Africa
  • Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator
  • Hirschs Fourways
  • HR Support Solutions
  • KISUA.com
  • Louis Dreyfus Company Africa
  • Mary Oppenheimer & Daughters Foundation
  • Matoyana Microsoft
  • MIP Holdings
  • Nampak
  • Old Mutual
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Saint Gobain
  • Sanlam
  • Siyazithanda Projects
  • SPARK Schools
  • Webber Wentzel
  • Win Win Solutions 4 Africa