Standard Bank Rising Star Awards winners celebrated at glittering event

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Winners of the fourth annual Standard Bank Rising Star Awards were announced at a glittering event held at the Hilton Sandton Hotel. Young South African business talent stemming from various business sectors, falling within the 28 – 40 year age group, were acknowledged for their inspirational contribution to industry.
The awards were established to recognize, celebrate and reward young professional individuals in an effort to raise awareness of the country’s pool of skills, as well as increase the various sector skills base.
This year’s programme saw a record number of close to four hundred entries, which were narrowed down to five potential winners in each of the programme’s twelve industry categories, through a rigorous three-phase judging process, involving over 40 judges from business and government.
The following individuals were recognised as this year’s The Rising Stars:

• Banking & Financial Services (sponsored by Standard Bank) – Kristel Sampson, Functional Lead, Standard Bank
• Construction & Engineering (sponsored by ArcelorMittal) – Mbali Mbuli, Commercial Manager, Murray & Roberts Construction
• Energy & Chemicals (sponsored by Sasol) – Nokuthula Mtegha, Supply Planner, Shell
• Entrepreneur – Laura Reynolds, CEO, RecruitGroup
• ICT (Telecoms & Technology) (sponsored by TIA) – Michelle Ramnath, General Manager: Consulting Services, Britehouse
• Manufacturing, Retail & FMCG (sponsored by merSETA) – Ronnie Mulaudzi, Human Capital Manager, Massmart Services
• Media & Marketing – Jessica Wheeler, Head of Digital, Social and PR, Grey Africa
• Mining & Minerals – Sandra Seabela, Graduate Mining Engineer, Optimum Coal
• Professional Services – Lee Naik, Senior Technology Strategy Executive, Accenture
• Service: Public & Private (sponsored by SITA) – Dr Kajal Lutchminarian, Doctor, King Edward Hospital
• Tourism, Leisure & Hospitality (sponsored by Hilton Worldwide) – Amy Mortlock, Marketing and Product Manager, STA Travel South Africa
• Transport, Logistics & Supply Chain (including Security) (sponsored by Unitrans) – Connie Mdladla, Managing Director, Khaas Logistics

“Standard Bank is proud to associate with these awards. They are a significant and sustainable vehicle through which organisations, our country as well as our continent can identify and nurture organisational and national assets who are set to play a key role in shaping the future,” says Standard Bank’s Global Head of Resourcing, Amelia Muller.

“We remain committed to enabling these Rising Stars to become role models, opinion leaders and an inspiration for other future African talent; which will assist in propelling the continent’s economy to new and greater heights,” concludes Muller.

Laura Barker, managing director at BlackBark Productions and co-founder of the Rising Star programme, says, “We congratulate this year’s winners of the Standard Bank Rising Star Awards and look forward to them becoming part of one of the most influential networks of Tomorrow’s Leaders. BlackBark is encouraged by the increase in this year’s entries, but more so by the impressive quality which continues to bring to the forefront the best of South Africa’s business talent.”

The ceremony, programme directed by CliffCentral’s Siya Sangweni-Fynn, included a keynote address by the astute Prof Jonathan Jansen, who is the rector and vice-chancellor at the University of the Free State. Jansen advised those present that in order to succeed they would need to surround themselves with people who expect them to do well, that they should not be afraid to pull an all-nighter to get the job done and that most importantly mistakes were not necessarily always a bad thing but an opportunity to grow. SA’s Got Talent 2013 winner, Johnny Apple, had the audience swooning to the sounds of his ballads, while an array of industry leaders provided mentorship as well as motivation to the Rising Stars.

The innovative Rising Star Programme also established a living community of young African business talent that is developed, mentored and provided with platforms for development and communication through the Rising Star Network. All Rising Star finalists, from both South Africa and Kenya, are invited to complimentary business seminars and learning events, as well as receive 12 months complimentary access to over 600 online learning courses.

Like the Facebook fan page at and follow the Rising Star Awards on Twitter @RisingStarSA.

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