Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dr. Maureen TONG: I hope the AU will invest in developing young African leaders, especially women to take the continent forward.

Who is Dr. Maureen TONG?

Dr. Maureen TONG is the CEO of CoachCompanion South Africa. Dr. Maureen TONG has worked in leadership development for many years, including establishing the Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute  (TMAL) and the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library  ( TMP) both of which are partnerships between the Thabo Mbeki Foundation and the University of South Africa  (UNISA).
She is an international lawyer by training and has worked in the human rights and development space for several years. I am now in business, building an international coaching company among other things.

She has served in the following Leadership roles:
- She is Chairwoman of the Board of InvesTong Group, which hosted the Inaugural  Women in IT  (WiIT) Summit in 2015. 
- She is Executive Chairwoman of Kutlwelo Resources. 
- Chairperson of the Board of the Formation of the YWBN Co-operative Bank;

-Chairperson of the Board of the Health Systems Trust  (HST)

- Project Manager for the establishment of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library (TMPL)

-Founding Head of the Thabo Mbeki Leadership Institute  (TMALI)

- Chief of Staff at the Ministry for Agriculture and Land Affairs

- Chief Operations Officer at the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform

- Operations Manager at UNDP

- Project Officer for Botswana; DRC; Namibia and South Africa at the African Management Services Company  (AMSCO); a project of the World Bank; IMF; UNDP; and African Development Bank

- Deputy Director of the Centre of Human Rights

What drives Maureen TONG?

I am driven by empowering others and making a positive impact on other people's lives. My faith in God is the win is the wind beneath my wings

What is your greatest influence

My ability to connect with people from across all works of life; cultures; languages; countries and continents. I have never felt restricted by boundaries

Who is  your role model?

Mrs Zanele Mbeki, with whom I have worked on several ground breaking projetcts including TMALI and TMPL. I am impressed by how she founded and built  the Women’s Development Bank  (WDB) Trust, with its own investment company called  WDB Investment Holdings  (WDH IH). She has pioneered developmental micro finance in South Africa  - using the Grameen Bank model from Bangladesh  - and weathered many storms to remain standing while many other similar organizations folded in South Africa. WDB Trust celebrated 25 years of existence in 2016. WDB IH has done very well over the years and outperforms many similar companies in terms of Net Asset Value (NAV)

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

My plan is to build  my company CoachCompanion South Africa into a  highly successful international company with a presence in a  number of African countries

I want to see the growth of the coaching industry in Africa; using Afrucan philosophy and values to propel a number of individuals and companies to achieve their objectives

I also see myself growing in banking sector  - I was the Founding Chairperson of theBoard of the Formation of the YWBN Co-operative Bank, which is a majority women-owned corporative bank in South Africa. We are currently looking into becoming a Mutual Bank

I want my other business ideas growing and becoming successful businesses. I will tell you more about that later when I have made progress

I plan to continue making a contribution to knowledge production; including continuing to teach at Wits Business School and other institutions of higher learning. I plan to continue  academic research and writing in accredited academic journals and publications

What are the challenges faced by African Women?

Women from across the world face challenges due to the system of patriarchy which does not value women's contribution to society. Social systems accross the world, including religion and education often undermine women's ability to grow to their true potential especially in the area of leadership and corporate advancement. In the African context this is exacerbated by our culture and traditions

Despite these challenges I  am very impressed by the many strides that African women have made in the areas of leadership and business

What do you do to relax?

I love traveling to tropical island destinations to enjoy the peace and tranquility that nature, especially the sea provides. I have taken up golf, which allows me to relax my mind and just spend hours following the golf ball around the golf course. I also like walking, which clears the mind and provides a good exercise at the same time.

Any Plans for the African Union?

Our very own Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has just completed her term as Chairperson of the African Union Commission. I hope the AU will invest in developing young African leaders, especially women to take the continent forward.  I remain hopeful that Africa will claim the 21st century and use the abundant mineral  wealth and relatively young human capital  that it has to benefits its people.

Dr Maureen Tong

Unleashing the Power Within
Tel: +27 82 577 5565 / +27 81 321 5866

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