Dawn JonesDawn Jones – Leader of one of South Africa’s most successful car rental companies, Dawn Jones has been at the helm of Europcar as its Chief Executive Officer for the last 14 years.

She showed her strong vision and leadership qualities when in 2007 she successfully spearheaded the immense, complex and successful re-branding of Imperial Car Rental to Europcar. Dawn was also instrumental in refreshing and repositioning the Imperial Group brand in 2009.

Dawn Jones has played a role in the industry body of SAVRALA for the past 20 years, and in October 2012 was appointed as Vice President. She is a member of the Business Women’s Association, Institute of Directors and Boss of the Year club. Book through Conference Speakers


She has also been involved in many Tourism initiatives and is an active member of Tourism Business Council SA, and sits on many advisory boards.

As the only woman CEO in the car rental sector, people often expect Dawn Jones to comment on how challenging it is to work in such a male-dominated industry.  Often they are surprised when I say that being a leading woman in business is no different to being a leading man in business.  Getting the job done properly with outstanding service is what matters, irrespective of gender.


Men and women have such different management styles that both are necessary and complement each other.  Due to this, the car rental industry needs more women and I would encourage them to think about entering this market because is it such a challenging and complicated environment.  No industry should be dominated by either men or women.

We as women have and continue to exceed even our own expectations.  As CEOs of big business, influential government decision makers and small business owners, we are also striking the balance of looking after our families and ourselves.

Many sacrifices were made for women to get to where we are today and while we pay tribute during this month and remind ourselves about how far we have come, it is also a good opportunity to think about the future of our economy and how women can play a more active role in determining the direction in which we want to go. Follow Conference Speakers on Twitter

Dawn Jones’ advice to aspirant entrepreneurs on starting and building a business

  • Starting a business requires lots of courage. You have to take risks in order to succeed – but they need to be calculated.
  • In order to lead a business, you need to start off with an idea – a dream or a vision. You need to be able to visualise it and follow it through.
  • Above all you need to love what you do and do what you love. The passion required for success will only be there if you are doing something that you love. It’s not something you can fake.
  • Building a business takes personal sacrifice, especially in the early days and you have to be prepared to make these if you want to succeed. Having said this, it is important that you seek a balance between your work and life as the business grows.
  • Don’t ever give up. Many things may go wrong. You have to persevere.
  • Surround yourself with good people whose strengths lie where your weaknesses are. This is vitally important. They need to complement and support you. But you need to look after them – they need to feel part of the vision.
  • When it comes to failure, you firstly need to think of it as a learning opportunity. You must expect that with risk comes possible failure, so grow from it. Its vital that you don’t use failure as an excuse to give up – giving up is easy, moving forward takes far more determination, maturity and courage.
  • Stick to your game plan!
  • Look to the many wonderful entrepreneurial South African role models. Be inspired by their creativity and diversity.

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