Young Leaders Connect

The Young Leaders Connect (YLC) was formally launched on 13 September 2011 in Sandton, Johannesburg, and Ms Nobuntu Webster elected as the first President of the organisation.

YLC is an initiative of IWFSA, and was an outcome of the Executive Development Roundtable hosted by IWFSA and the International Women’s Forum (IWF).

According to YLC National Chairperson Ms Nobuntu Webster, “The YLC’s purpose is to connect rising women leaders across South Africa, the continent and globally; to create an enabling environment for young women to exchange ideas, learn from and inspire each other; to nurture and capacitate emerging women leaders to feed into the pipeline of future women leaders and to promote inter-generational exchange and mentorship.”

The YLC Steering Committee currently consists of Ms Webster, Dr Nono Ledwaba-Mweli (Vice Chairperson), Ms Masingita Mazibuko (Secretary), Ms Votelwa Ntondini (Treasurer) and Ms Amanda Breytenbach, Ms Versha Rowjee and Ms Karabo Rapoo (Committee Members).

The event brought together young leaders and members of the IWFSA including representatives from the global IWF to create opportunities for leadership development and the sharing of ideas. The presence of the then global President Allison Gibson, along with the past-President of IWF global and other global leaders from different countries, added to the quality of the events.

At the closing ceremony IWF President Gibson and Dr Namane Magau (then President of IWFSA) proposed that young leaders in South Africa be linked to those in the USA and the Bahamas. Dr Vuyo Mahlati was asked to take the matter forward, and through working with the young leaders she conceptualised Young Leaders Connect and developed it into a vibrant platform for linking our future leaders.

As a result of the vibrancy of the attendees at the IWF Executive Development Roundtable, in August 2010 IWFSA created the Young Leaders Connect for rising leaders to further promote sharing and linkages amongst fellow emerging women leaders, ultimately extending beyond the borders of South Africa.

In line with the IWF’s vision of building global alliances for development of leadership, then IWF Global Ambassador Ms Esther Bush attended the event representing IWF President Gibson. The members had come together following the three events that had been hosted by the YLC Planning Committee led by Ms Webster and the support and sponsorship of Dr Mahlati.

The focus of the conference was to present the vision, goals and structures of the YLC, and most of all to create a platform for the YLC to share their ideas with the broader IWFSA membership, and to identify ways to strengthen their common agenda of achieving the “2020 African Women’s Decade” goals.

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