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Business Leadership: To be a successful leader, you also need to be brave

Nkonki co-founder Sindi Zilwa shares her challenges and lessons learnt (Quick Insight (2’11”).

Sindi Zilwa, co-founder of the Nkonki firm of chartered accountants, is eminently qualified to talk about bravery.

As South Africa’s youngest woman to win Bwasa’s Business Woman of the Year award in 1998 and the third black woman to win the title, she knows all about chartering unknown territories, shattering stereotypes and starting at the bottom of a business ladder with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

Zilwa and her brother Mzi Nkonki started Nkonki in Jan 1993 – before the democratic SA – so the number of unknowns were numerous, including where and how to find funders and access to intellectual capital. “…I was the second black chartered accountant to qualify, so there were very few other people who could actually assist us to move forward with the business.”  

Today she is the CEO of Nkonki which, 23 years after its humble inception, is an organisation with more than 400 people, 40 partners and directors, and an international affiliation with Kreston International.

Exactly how has her belief system placed her at the helm of a company that is the only majority female-owned auditing firm in South Africa to be accredited by the JSE to audit listed companies – as well being qualified to audit companies on the New York Stock Exchange?

In this (2’11”) extract from a full-length, in-depth video interview, Zilwa speaks frankly about her business leadership challenges and lessons.

Keep an eye out for the full length interview, due to be published here, next Wednesday November 16 2016.

In partnership with FNB, Moneyweb presents this bespoke leadership video series with top business people. The interview draws on the person’s life, failures and the lessons they have learnt on their journey to the successful leadership positions they hold today.

Other business leaders share their stories here.


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