If you want to add your voice to our debate on the role that gender plays in succeeding in business, and the challenge to be authentic, don't miss our Jhb breakfast on 27 September - details in the newsletter!

Nicky Newton-King: taking stock of where we are

 Nicky Newton-King and WIFN's Holly Petersen at the Cape Town event

With three law degrees, being a Yale World Fellow and South Africa’s 2003 Business Woman of the Year, Nicky Newton-King secured the position of CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 2012.  She is the first woman to lead this company since its inception over a century ago …  Here are some nuggets from Nicky's conversation with WIFN guests. The full article is  well worth reading and available on the WIFN website - click here. Or watch our 8-minute YouTube clip covering her interview in this article.

Earn your place, make the space

Strong, independent women have always been a feature of Nicky’s life. “For most of my life I knew about women who worked hard” (her mother ran a farm).  From negotiating prices to dinner table conversations - there was no barrier for women.  Women could do anything: they had a place at the table.
 “You have to earn that place,” said Nicky, who has LLB and LLM degrees, “study hard, learn, work hard and put up your hand.”

Love what you do

But earning that place shouldn’t be a grind. Though there are sacrifices along the way, the journey should be enjoyable.
Nicky is a firm believer in doing what you love. “I love my job. In the last 20 years I can count five days where I didn’t enjoy it."  Making it meaningful also makes a difference. “Do what you do in a manner that leaves something for the next generation. That is how I was brought up,” Nicky observes.


Caroline Cremen, Lesego Mpete, Cindy Wilson and Quarashia Rahiman

Create the space where more can flourish

When you have earned your place at the table – make sure there is space for the next achiever. Nicky said that as you climb the ladder, you need to make it easier for people to follow.

Sometimes this takes the form of chatting to someone informally, sometimes it is networking events (note: join Women In Finance Network!) - don't discard the energy inspirational women give and get at events, presentations and conferences.

"Allowing your children to see a strong independent successful woman who flourishes in her career can be inspirational."

Diversity and the JSE

The JSE's exec comprises more than 50% women, and likewise in its workforce. Because the stock exchange used to be pale and male, there was a deliberate strategy, not with the goal of women, but of diversity.  Along the way, though, more and more women saw the JSE as a place where they were welcome, and more and more women liked the idea of working there.

In the workplace, women can create an environment that allows women to flourish without asking too much. The advice to sleep enough and to take time for kids' sports games and concerts is relevant to all women.  According to Nicky, senior women can create the right atmosphere where junior staff would be able to ask for some flexibility that will allow them time for family commitments.


Bonolo Thobejane, Pebetse Mabona, Carol Kritzinger and Siphiwe De Frend

Strong support for South Africa

Sentiment appears low in many places across the globe, not just South Africa. “I think we create our own destiny. If we spend our lives saying it is all gloom and doom, this will happen. There are areas of excellence in South Africa and we need to give them our support. Let’s not make the mistake that the whole system is rotten. We have to give people a chance to succeed.”
Nicky believes that there are many genuinely working together for a better country. What you read on the front page of the newspaper is not the whole truth. And although a downgrade to junk status might be a wake-up call, it is not a good thing - a country can take at least five years to regain investment grade status.

Be honest with your clients 

But the economic climate is tough and market volatility looks set to stay for a while yet. “Tighten your seatbelts for a while; it’s an uncertain world, there is volatility and low growth.


Natina Thumana, Birte Scheider and Sunel Veldtman

Article by Patricia Holburn, freelance writer and editor 
Nicky Newton-King
The WIFN Johannesburg and Cape Town teams kicked 2016 off with a bang!
We were so lucky to have the awe inspiring Nicky Newton-King as our guest speaker.
Missed it? Watch the video here.

WIFN takes on the gender challenge!

Are professional women caught in a no-win situation? 

Think of women leaders that you have known.  If they are authentically feminine, they risk being dismissed as emotional and not assertive enough; if they emulate their masculine colleagues, they are labelled aggressive and ‘bitchy’.

Is there a way to be true to who you are and still succeed in business?  Can we deal with stereotyping and bias that still allows you to preserve relationships and win respect?

Our panel of experts is here to help.  Facilitated by HR-industry leader, Alan Hosking, our panel promises to challenge your thinking on these complex gender questions.  We welcome Donna Rachelson, Shireen Chengadu and Ilze Alberts, each with their own areas of expertise, to the panel.

We would love to see you there to add to the conversation and debate!  Don’t delay in booking your space and make sure to forward the invitation on to your colleagues – they will thank you for it. 

#WIFN #HowWomenWin #NeedMoreTestosterone? #27Sept
Honouring the working mom

In a world of work where women struggle to achieve balance, CFP◦ and Chartered Wealth Financial Planner, Tiffany Venter , draws on childhood memories to learn a valuable lesson.

I could seldom resist.  I would lean over, peer at the contents and feel that vague sense of unease that often comes with envy. 

There they lay – symmetrical perfection: fresh white triangles filled with crisp lettuce, tomato and cheese, crusts carefully cut off, and neatly arranged in the lunchbox … evidence of the solicitous care of stay-at-home mothers.  Whereas I, daughter of a working mother, rose early to make my own sandwiches, a rather rushed routine resulting in squashed blocks of jam and butter.  

The contrast often made me reflect on the unfairness of life. 

As a young girl, I used to scrutinise those flawless families at school all the time, their perfection extending beyond perfectly prepared lunches … girls whose moms worked at the tuckshop; mothers cheering at every netball match without fail; peers who were fetched at 13:30 sharp, available for private after-school activities to which they were seamlessly ferried; and school projects that always trumped mine, having had hefty parental involvement.

‘Missing’ Mom
My reality included solitary project efforts, aftercare in primary school and walks to and from high school as a teenager. 

I was a child of a mother who worked … and this was a point of contention between us for many of my growing years. I recall often begging my mom to give up her job so that she could join the tuckshop troupe of volunteers, but she was unmoved and unmoving. I made my disappointment clearly known. But, there was never a moment when I did not feel loved.

With maturity comes insight and there came a time when my view started to shift.

Of course, you simply cannot miss the rest of this article, recounting how Tiffany came to be grateful for her mother having a career. Click here to read the rest of thisheart-warming tribute to a dedicated mom.

Know the rules, play a good game

Women are occupying more corporate senior positions in than ever before, but, in many respects, the workplace is still a man’s world, run by their rules.

Donna Rachelson shows women how to work with these rules to advance their careers, while still retaining their femininity and bringing all of the strengths women possess to the workplace. 

Drawing on Rachelson’s own experience, and that of top South African businesswomen, this quick, practical read is a must for any woman who wants to make her mark in the business world.

On her recent trip to New York, Kim Potgieter, founder of WIFN in Johannesburg, met Debra Flanz, Managing Director at Tower Legal Solutions and current Chairman of the New York Chapter of the Women Presidents’ Association.  She is also Founder and CEO of Business Clarity LLC, a coaching and leadership development company focused on Senior Executives.

As former President of the Financial Women’s Association, Debra Flanz is well-placed to give our Women In Finance Network guidance and advice in terms of growing and giving the best value to our members. 

Debra strongly advocates building the community of WIFN.  One way to do that, she says, is to feature online profiles of all members – watch this space! Debra also supports the idea of a strong give-back programme, and for developing ambassadors that will champion the brand. 

Women In Finance Network has seen wonderful growth and support thus far and we look forward to even more exciting development ahead.

Let's have some fun with a game of who's who? 

Participate in our quiz and stand a chance 
to win this quaint vintage birdfeeder from Happy Feed!

Competition closes end of business Monday 26 September 2016.
Click here to enter now!

Want to become a member of WIFN?  Nothing could be easier! Simply click here to download the membership form, complete and send with your proof of payment of your once-off R150 membership fee to Then don’t forget to send us your profile and an accompanying photograph so that we can add you to our online profiles on the WIFN website.  Have a look at these examples below or click here to view our current profiles. You will receive your very own beaded bee as a symbol of your membership … and will be supporting the Topsy foundation at the same time!
Lucille Sikosana is a Business Development Executive at Old Mutual Investment Group. Lucille’s passion for investments stems from wanting South Africans to improve their lives by bettering their financial circumstances.

Lucille has a degree in Economics, an honours degree in International Trade and Finance and holds the CFP® designation. When Lucille isn’t talking money and investments, she enjoys networking over good round o
f golf. 
With over 30 years’ experience in the financial services industry, Evelyn  Doubell manages her own practice within Profin Financial Solutions in the Gauteng region where she consults to clients on various aspects of financial planning and employee benefits. 

Evelyn follows her passion for financial planning by assisting and educating women on financial matters.  Evelyn is a member of the South African Council for Business Women. She is involved in mentoring and lecturing B Comm. Financial Planning students at the University of Johannesburg in order to grow the financial services industry starting with the younger generation. 

If you are already a WIFN member, and have not yet download the profile form here and send to us with your photograph, please send to to                                                                                                             

What our WIFN community is saying about our events …


“Thank you for hosting me – it was an awesome experience. I could so relate to Nicky, as my husband is also a stay-at-home dad. And I totally agree with her that, as females, we must never think of ourselves as ‘victims’ but rather be the best that we can be by exploiting every opportunity available to us!” – Shuad Cornelius, Old Mutual

“Thanks for organising a great function the other night. Thoroughly enjoyed it!” – Khumo Khaole, PSC Collective Investments

“I just wanted to thank and compliment you on a fantastic event yesterday.  Not only were we very well looked after, but we also left feeling inspired and motivated about the future of the country and the role of women in that future. Please keep us up-to-date about future events.  We would love to have the opportunity to reconnect with the amazing people we met yesterday.” – Roberta Eggers, Cognia Law

There are more great reviews, click here

The ‘queen bee syndrome’ describes a woman in a position of authority who views or treats subordinates more critically if they are female.  Although viewed as a myth according to a research study compiled by Colombia Business School last year, the syndrome proves to be trending in South African’s work environment. 

The Women in Business 2016 report by Grant Thornton conveys a slow pace in gender progression within the workplace.  While South Africa has been found as the poorest in gender empowerment, the JSE formed a new policy this year that requires all its listed companies to grow women representation on its boards.  Companies have until January 2017 to submit. (Business Day)
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