Wendy Yvonne Nomathemba Luhabe is a South African businesswoman, social entrepreneur, and author. She started empowering African women in business after working with local and international companies for 10 years. She is the Chairman of WINDE and African Leadership University among others. In March 2020, Wendy made Forbes list of 50 Most Powerful Women in Africa.
Wendy Luhabe Background
Luhabe was born on May 29th, 1952 in Daveyton, Gauteng, South Africa. She grew up in the old Benoni location. In 1976-1977, Luhabe studied Social Sciences at the University of Fort Hare. But, could not continue with her studies due to Soweto uprising in 1976.
Later, she went on to obtain a Bachelor of Commerce Marketing at
the University of Lesotho in 1981. In addition, Wendy holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of the Witwatersrand.
She is married to the former Premier of Gauteng, Mbhazima Shilowa. they are blessed with four children and grandchildren.
Wendy Luhabe Career
Basically, Wendy began her career at f.e.BMW where she worked for 10years before founding “Bridging the Gap” in 1991. Bridging the gap is a consulting firm that focuses on achieving two goals:
- 1. Preparing young black South Africans to enter the world of work.
- 2. To support South African companies in integrating the young trained South Africans into their corporate business.
In 1993, Wendy founded Women Investment Portfolio Holdings, a pioneering initiative that educated women about investing. It also enabled more than 18,000 women to become investors for the first time at the dawn of South Africa’s democracy.
Also, in 2000-2006, Wendy Luhabe served as the longest-serving Chairman at Vodacom. She was the first woman to occupy the position and the period was the most successful period of growth for the company.
In 2002, Wendy founded the International Marketing Council of South Africa. The body branded South Africa in the Global Marketplace, promoting South Africa and improving perceptions. Also, Wendy served as the Chairman of the Board- Industrial Development Corporation of SA Ltd. (IDC) for more than 10 years. She guided IDC to invest in the economy, create jobs and, manage investment risk.
More About Her Career
In 2006, Wendy was inaugurated as a chancellor of the University of Johannesburg. She is also one of the trustees at the Duke of Edinburg’s International Award Foundation.
Wendy Luhabe is also the founder and chairman of the Women Private Equity Fund; one of less than ten funds that invest in women-owned enterprises in the world. She served as a board member of IMD, Switzerland from 2009-2017.
Luhabe was the Independent Director of World Rugby from 2016-2018. Wendy also served as a board member of The Abraaj Group from 2014-2018.
Currently, she is the Chair of African Leadership University and the Chairman of WINDE
Awards And Recognitions
- One of 50 leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World, 1999
- Global Leader of Tomorrow, World Economic Forum, Switzerland
- Honorary Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order (LVO), 2014
- One of Forbes 50 Africa’s Most Powerful Women, 2020
Wendy Luhabe Publication
‘Defining Moments’, University of Kwazulu-Natal, 2012
Wendy Luhabe Quotes
“I want to be remembered as someone who touched lives, made a difference and gave back to society.”
“Mentorship is the blueprint. We give and we receive.”
“Young people need to be taught financial management. My mother taught me to live within my means and never depend on debt.”
“Let philosophers argue over why life works as it does. Our duty is to focus on how we live it. The choices we make and to be mindful of the consequences of our choices.”
“Let us see more in others than they see in themselves, there is no greater gift to give one another.”
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every moment with love, grace, integrity, and gratitude”
“The question we each have to settle is not what we’d do if we had the means, time, influence and educational advantages, but what we will do with the things we have right now…because we each hold a unique gift for the world.”
Business Lessons From The Life of Wendy Luhabe
1. Remain Consistent
Consistency and hard work truly pay. Obviously, Wendy Luhabe is a lover of people and this shows in all her initiatives. Importantly, she didn’t start and then relent. She kept climbing the ladder as a social entrepreneur and this has attracted several awards to her.
Although, we don’t have records of her challenges but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t encounter challenges at some point. But, we can only celebrate her today because she kept going.
This is an attitude that must be found in every entrepreneur. A business owner must have a die-hard attitude that never gives up in the face of challenges because, you will face a lot of them.
2. Go For Your Dream
One of the major challenges aspiring business owners face is quitting their 9-5 jobs to start their business. They face the fear of the unknown because they are not sure if the business will succeed or not. As much as this is a logical reason to remain in your daily job, you may never know what business will work until you start.
Wendy Luhabe took a brave decision by quitting her 10 years job to start her consulting firm. Most times, until you take the first step, you will never know what the future has in store for you.
3. Find A Need And Fill It
Actually, Business is about solving problems. Wendy is in the habit of finding solutions to existing problems. And, this has earned her the admiration of many.
To succeed in business, find a need and solve it in a unique way. Being able to provide solutions to problems people face, is one thing that keeps a business afloat.