Brilliant CHRO Solutions Summit highlights the importance of leading with care


On 24 August, close to 100 top HR leaders gathered at GIBS to experience the first ever ‘Shark Tank’ CHRO Solutions Summit.

“High energy”, “a resounding success” and “extremely informative” were some of the descriptions that HR leaders gave after attending the first ever CHRO Solutions Summit.

Hosted at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) on 24 August, the Shark Tank styled summit gave the HR community a front row chance to engage and interrogate CHRO South Africa community principal and community partners Sanlam, Mercer Africa, Workday, Atlas Discovery Limited, GIBS Business School (Gordon Institute of Business Science), Standard Bank Group and Yugrow.

Popular South African comedian Nicholas Goliath set the bar high as he set the tone for the night as the MC with his pristine comedic delivery. He effortlessly engaged the audience with his well curated routine and even went as far as getting the execs to “make the circle bigger”!

Partner pitch parade

In true Shark Tank style, principal and associate partners were given five minutes to pitch their business solutions to the executives in attendance who then had the opportunity to ask them as many questions as they could.

First in the tank were the principal partners with Tamara Parker representing Mercer Africa, Alwyn Jackson of Sanlam Corporate, and Dave Patricios pitching for GIBS Business School. Fighting hard against the five-minute buzzer they all gave it their best shot to keep the audience informed, captivated and intrigued.


Associate partners were next on the centre stage, represented by Yolanda Nobanda for Yugrow, Yasheen Modi delivering the Discovery Limited pitch, Jonathan Lamb for Standard Bank Group: CIB Digital and Workday’s Jannie Malan. It was fast-paced and informative – all the partners came prepared to wow the audience with their solutions.

One attendee commented that it was such a pleasure to connect with like-minded CHROs and influential thought leaders all the while also getting to learn about the many solutions that are curated to address their most pressing HR challenges.

Leading with EQ

Leadership expert and executive coach Anja van Beek took to the stage to impart some important knowledge on leading with emotional intelligence (EQ).

Moderating a panel made up of EOH group head of people and culture Malisha Awunor and LeadMe founder Jackie Kennedy and MTN Group senior manager for global leadership and career Bonga Mnengisa, Anja started by challenging the audience on how confident they are with leading with emotion and empathy.

“Building soft skills is not easy – so naturally at first I found it hard to lead from a place of empathy,” said one attendee.

Malisha, who referred to a virtual reality tool that she created – In My Shoes – that EOH is using to breach the gap in unconscious bias, said she believes that empathy can change the world. This, she said, will help unleash the line manager’s emotional intelligence and gradually filter down to the rest of the team.


“In trying to solve for how technology can challenge the social and structural norms that we have been accustomed to, we realise that Virtual Reality can actually be the ultimate empathy machine in our organisations.”

Bonga explained how MTN has focused on a human-centric programme, where there are four hats of leadership that encapsulate everyone in the team, no matter their position.

“Everyone is a leader in their right and what we have learnt is that vulnerable leaders make the best leaders.”

And just like that, the first ever ground breaking inaugural CHRO Solutions Summit wrapped up, with many attendees lauding it as the best CHRO Summit by far.


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