JOHANNESBURG – Conscious Companies, in partnership with Primeserv, are proud to announce the finalists of the Conscious Companies Awards 2019. The Conscious Companies Awards, to be held in May at The Venue in Melrose Arch, applauds visionary leaders and organisations who heed the call to create evolutionary business practices, such as authenticity, higher sense of purpose, creativity, trust, compassion, care, transparency and good governance aligned to productivity and profit.
One of the most touted quotes in the ‘consciousness’ space is by Marcus Aurelius: “A man’s true greatness lies in the consciousness of an honest purpose in life.”
At some point we need to turn away from the chaos of the world and pause for a moment, in order to celebrate leaders and organisations who heed the call to create a conscious and ethical business environment. The Chairman of the Judging Panel, Prof Mervyn King and his panel of judges had a taxing task to adjudicate the leadership and companies who ask themselves fundamental questions such as – why does this business exist, how can we create more value for all of our stakeholders, how can we create a workplace of meaning, productivity and joy, how can we transform and uplift society, and how can we serve?
Without doubt, corporate behaviour and culture takes its cue from its leadership and the leaders who have made the final top ten are exceptional in their definition of leadership, operating culture and value creation beyond the bottom line.
Merrick Abel, CEO of Primeserv says: “The partnership with Conscious Companies is notable as our ethos has always been in people, productivity and performance and the Conscious Companies position of people, planet, profit and purpose in service of all stakeholders has great synergy with the company.”
“The age of consciousness has arrived for leaders to take responsibility and lead with decisive courage and authentic, ethical resolve,” explains Brenda Kali, the CEO of Conscious Companies and Founder of the Conscious Leadership Academy. “It is a privilege to be in a position of power and unless we do the right thing, the ‘what’s in it for me’ pervasive culture will continue to define our leadership. The annual Conscious Companies Awards is a litmus test of conscious, ethical and purposeful leaders and their companies in the country.”
The Finalists in the private, listed companies category are:
MIP Holdings: CEO, Richard Firth is an erudite, visionary who is committed to nurturing talent in the technology space in South Africa. The company is a financial services company and healthcare software supplier to medical schemes and third-party administrators, offering a managed care system and supporting policy administration for 17,000,000 policy holders in South Africa. From its humble beginnings 29 years ago with a staff complement of five people to 330 employees today, only speaks to Richard’s financial acumen in tandem with value creation for society. “Every role in the company is an invaluable cog in the wheel so it is imperative to take ownership and instil a culture of family and belongingness,” he states. “Our approach to business, in the management of our staff, our stakeholders and our people and social interaction is the cement that holds our tight unit together.”
The Unlimited: based in Hillcrest, Durban, Chairman and Founder, Iain Buchan, is a maverick entrepreneur who knows what it’s like to fail and succeed. For most of his life, he has walked a personal transformational journey and today he lives and walks his talk. This billion rand authorised financial services company offers clients a host of products ranging from insurance plans for the family to vehicle insurance. The organisation thinks differently and "Creative grit" is a term they use to describe what makes them tick. The company ethos of trust and doing the right thing is lived by its employees who have a shared sense of purpose and values that extend beyond their day-to-day activities.“We don’t chase profit,” Iain says. “We just do the right thing and the profits come. My vision was to build a remarkable business and create a company based on love and change the world through massive transformation and purpose to shift lives within our community.”
BNP Paribas: Vikas Khandelwal, BNP Paribas South Africa CEO has seen it all over the last twenty years. Since being posted to South Africa two years ago, he has made a concerted efforts to act as a catalyst to benefit and impact South Africans in a multitude of deep and far reaching initiatives, from education to sport, and beyond. The Bank boasts a corporate culture where ethics and values have been underscored to change the mindset of its human capital and drill down a solid value system. Today, the Bank is deeply committed to the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals evidenced through their sustainability linked funding and unique micro financing initiatives. “Microfinance is a powerful way of making a life changing impact that benefits both the individual, the community and the national economy,” Vikas says. “Responsible banking is about living up to economic responsibilities and making a real difference. A fundamental aspect of our approach is to implement a sustainable programme that not only meets our business objectives, but makes a positive contribution to uplifting society.”
LifeSense: Chairman, Angus Rowe is a resilient leader who is passionate about creating sustainable lives both economically and environmentally. LifeSense Group was formed 26 years ago and has over the years set the benchmark for evolving healthcare on the African continent. The company portfolio comprises of Disease Management, Health Risk Solutions, Employee Wellness Programs and Healthcare Technology development. The heart and soul of this business is improving lives, whether it is staff, clients or the community at large. It can simply be described as a group of focused, passionate people working for a purpose. LifeSense is actively involved with REEA Foundation and based on the core foundation of the business the company works tiresly to be a positive contributing factor to the wellness of all those benficaries of REEA Foundation. The company strives to be a solid support to the community and empower generations to come.
Turner & Townsend: Turner & Townsend: Regional Managing Director, Africa Stephen McCartney is ringing changes within the company which was one of the finalists of the Turner & Townsend: Turner & Townsend: Regional Managing Director, Africa Stephen McCartney is ringing changes within the company which was one of the finalists of the Tushiyah Advisory Services: The dynamic duo of Marisa Truter and Abigail Khuluse are committed to driving growth and building capacity, providing services across a wide range in training, coaching and technical skills in the entrepreneurial space. The leadership duo and their team ensure that the individual is ready for the journey of an entrepreneur and support them to build a sustainable business. Purpose driven training in local rural areas, where there is greater opportunity for impact and value for families, is an imperative. “We take employees and turn them into entrepreneurs and ensure that they are ready for the journey of an entrepreneur,” says Truter. “We have the ability to go into rural communities to improve the livelihood of individuals and develop capacity. If you create an opportunity for one enterprise,” she explains, “there are ten people that are fed and carried through. We instil hope in rural communities.”
Finalists in the NGO’s, NPO’s and NPC’s category are:
Maryana Iskander is the vibrant CEO of Harambee, a youth employment accelerator social enterprise. She joined the organisation in 2012, and the organisation had not looked back since. Tasked with finding solutions to the issues facing the youth market, she was clear about delivering a service the market values. “The founding principle embodied ways of creating virtuous cycles in society and for business to understand that the hiring of young people in their first jobs is not a charitable exercise but talent. The incubation of Harambee in 2011 to build a model in partnership with government took off with five founding companies,” Maryana explained. “The objective was to scale and place 10,000 people into their first jobs. We are now at a 100,000 in terms of jobs and first opportunities. We treat young people like customers and not like beneficiaries. It is important never to lie to them, take anything away from them, and from the premise of not treating them with anything other than with humanity, respect and dignity. We have grown exponentially and we now have a network of 500,000 young people.”
Winnie Mabaso Foundation:
Lisa Ashton, a former BBC journalist who was sent to South Africa 15 years ago to make a programme to commemorate 10 years of democracy, heads the Foundation. She met Winnie Mabaso who changed her life and established the Foundation to support vulnerable and orphaned children, particularly those living with HIV. “To say Winnie was the most exceptional woman I have ever met would be an understatement,” Lisa says. “At the end of filming Winnie asked for my help. She wanted a safe haven for the children – a place where she could care for them. I could not say no and so after returning to the UK I began fundraising in earnest. It wasn’t long before Winnie and the children moved into their new home. When Winnie passed away very suddenly, the children stood hand in hand around her coffin and I made her a promise. A promise to ensure that her dream would not die with her. This is how the Winnie Mabaso Foundation was born. As a programme maker I knew nothing about running an NPO, nothing about African cultures and customs and very little about HIV. The past 15 years has been quite a journey and it has been a steep learning curve. But we are going from strength to strength and my setbacks became the stepping stones of where we are today, encompassing all ages, from babies to grannies who are in desperate need.
Founder, Colleen Larsen had a vision that women should not be fitting into the economy – they should be shaping it. This is the context in which the company operates, discovering innovative ways of empowering women in various fields. “The way we empower women and breaking the silos as well as getting business to understand diversity makes business sense,” Colleen says. We have taken over hundreds of women through our Boardwalk and leadership programme that changes the paradigm, giving them an opportunity to learn and grow and succeed, thus ensuring a pipeline of women to fill senior positions. Our intention is not to reinvent the wheel, but to collaborate with other organisations and stakeholders to provide an integrated offering ensuring gender mainstreaming becomes a reality in Southern Africa.
Moving into Dance:
CEO, Nadia Virasamy, is passionate about using the dance discipline to build communities of young people, as well as the physically challenged to discover themselves. Moving into Dance is a full-time, contemporary African dance company and training academy, that has changed the artistic landscape and forged new paths of discovery. Since its inception 41 years ago, it has made massive strides both locally as well as on the international stage. “It is a tool we use to enable confidence and instil on-the- job skills training, teaching the first Seta accredited inclusive and integrated programme and that gives them a skills set,” Nadia says. “It also becomes a feeder of talent into the broader dance industry. Young people with disabilities are embraced and encouraged through the project ‘Enable through Dance’ thus changing societal perceptions of the physically challenged. We also bring in young, talented dancers from some of the country’s most poverty-stricken areas to Johannesburg to be part of the Seta Accredited Training Course. The students are housed, fed and clothed and are not only trained in dance and movement, but also educated in business communication skills, computer training and career development skills.