Zipho Sikhakhane is an international speaker, writer, and business advisor. She has been a motivational speaker for 15 years and has presented to audiences across four continents, including a TEDx Talk delivered in the USA on Africa’s business potential. She is also a weekly Business Columnist for the Sunday Times and is the first black South African to complete an MBA at the prestigious Stanford University in the USA. She delivers inspiring talks and poetry on topics related to Africa’s potential, leadership, entrepreneurship, youth and women empowerment.
Zipho was born and raised in a small township in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Through hard work and determination, she overcame the challenges faced by young people from underprivileged communities. She uses her inspiring life story to influence others towards leading meaningful lives.
Zipho’s academic background includes a Business Science honors degree from the University of Cape Town in South Africa, from which she graduated in the top 10% in her class. She also holds a Masters in Business Administration from the prestigious Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in the United States. She completed her honors degree and masters on full scholarship and was awarded merit scholarships for academic excellence. She also completed a study trip to Russia, a study exchange to China and a leadership course in the Czech Republic. She matriculated among the top in her province, with six distinctions.
Zipho’s professional background includes developing strategies for large public and private sector clients as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co (the leading management consulting firm globally). She also held project management and change management positions for industry leading retailers – Edcon in South Africa (the biggest clothing retailer in Sub-Saharan Africa) and Inditex in Spain (the parent company of Zara and biggest fashion retailer globally). In 10 years, she has travelled to 30 countries and worked in 10 of them in five continents. Currently she is an Executive at Circle Food Group. She also provides advisory, training and investment support to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Zipho is passionate about business and led a number of small entrepreneurial projects since as early as the age of five. She believes in helping businesses thrive across and beyond the African continent. To contribute to this, she invests time and resources into developing high potential African entrepreneurs.
Individuals must learn how to lead themselves first, before they can effectively lead others. Emerging from humble beginnings, Zipho shares the leadership techniques that enabled her to beat the odds, achieve outstanding academic success and rise to key leadership positions in industry leading corporations worldwide. She advocates for having the confidence to lead from that which is authentic and unique to one’s true self, and further gives guidelines on how to develop the determination one needs to overcome the challenges that currently cripple leaders worldwide. Her insights lean on the depth of research and expertise she has developed about effective self-leadership.
Leading Africa to Prosperity
Africa presents immeasurable growth opportunities for local and multi-national corporations. The businesses that can successfully tap into these opportunities are ones that understand the importance of having a long term perspective and adapting their leadership approaches to the local context. Zipho leans on her own experiences of having successfully developed and implemented business strategies for leading corporations in South Africa and the rest of the continent. She has also delivered a TEDx talk in the United States on the progress and potential of African economies.
Entrepreneurship – Building the Giants of Tomorrow
Zipho has spent her career helping entrepreneurs build businesses that will last and achieve scalable growth. She has been an entrepreneur since as early as the age of five years old and recently graduated from Stanford University in Silicon Valley in the United States, the global hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. She shares the latest insights on the opportunities and pitfalls fased by entrepreneurs both in the local and global context. She also regularly publishes her insights in the weekly business columns that she writes for the Sunday Times in South Africa.
Zipho has been writing and presenting poetry for many years. She delivers engaging poetry recitals on a variety of topics as part of her keynotes and workshops.