A focus on the USB Alumni Association: Gauteng Chapter
The Gauteng chapter of the USB Alumni Association elected a new committee at their AGM in November 2018. Under the leadership of Nirvanna Rampersad, this chapter hosted a series of alumni-industry dialogue sessions and continuous learning events during 2017 and 2018. The new interim Chairperson for 2019 – 2020, George Rautenbach, believes in the team’s capacity to drive alumni and corporate relations to create mutual value and partnerships, and to explore innovative new opportunities.
Meet the committee
The interim chairperson George Rautenbach is an admitted attorney in the High Court of South Africa as well as a Business Rescue Practitioner, Transactional Advisor and Deal Negotiator. He holds an MBA from USB. Through negotiation, he manages to successfully resolve complicated and sensitive corporate, legal and financial disputes. He has extensive experience in due diligence investigations, business rescues, turnarounds and setting a revised strategy for companies in order to achieve a restructuring and return to profitability. In addition to his legal practice, George co-founded Gatekeeper Asset Management, who were the appointed development managers of Val de Vie Wine and Polo Estate outside Paarl, Western Cape. Gatekeeper managed the entire development process and the professional team from rezoning and pre-selling to full civil and structural implementation.
The immediate past chairperson, Nirvanna Rampersad, is a registered Professional Engineer (Chemical – IChemE) and certified PMP (PMI member) with an MBA and 16 years project management and operational experience in mineral processing/mining, commercial, marketing and business strategic analysis. Her project management experience includes commercial and construction aspects of projects and operational experience focused on implementing ESHQ system improvements to realising cost and process efficiencies through process optimisation and plant design. Nirvanna is currently a Manager – Operations Functions for Anglo Platinum. She previously served as Senior Audit Manager, Operations and Projects.
Douglas Davids brings to the committee 30 years of private sector experience, of which the last six years have been as an entrepreneur running his own business. His strong financial background adds a strong sense of procedural compliance and financial oversight. Douglas has a strong affiliation with USB having completed both an MBA and an MPhil in Development Finance. Douglas holds professional membership with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants as an associate member. He is also a member of the South African Investment Analyst Society as well as a member of the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals.
George Woods began his career in the Retail Industry in South Africa in 1993, and in 1998 he joined Accenture as a Business Analyst with a specific focus on credit IT strategy parameter management and implementation. Since then, he has been with Nedbank Ltd as a Business Analyst and, later, as a Project Manager. Currently his responsibilities include the portfolio management of multiple projects in the investment banking and capital markets trading sphere. His roles since then have been with Rand Merchant Bank and Ernst & Young. George launched a software company with development partners in Cyprus and India, and has a keen interest in risk management of projects and the impact of regulatory frameworks on risk management of large-scale complex projects, and projects of a humanitarian nature. He has previously concluded a three-year term of office on the advisory board of USB and completed the MDP at USB. Her Majesty the Queen admitted George as a member of Royal Order of St John as announced in the London Gazette in December 2014 as recognition for his work in the aid of humanitarian causes. George completed his MBA at the Netherlands at the University of Applied Sciences, and read computer sciences at Oxford University.
Jonathan Erickson has over 40 years corporate and management consulting experience having held senior executive roles in banking and human resources and organisation development at Standard Bank and De Beers and Chubb Security South Africa. Fascinated by the changing world of work due to shifting demographic, technological and socio-economic developments and trends, Jonathan views ‘the future’ as a critical and strategic resource that organisations need to carefully and continually wrestle with and shape. Jonathan holds a BA degree (Economics and Mathematics) from Rhodes University, and Hons B(B&A), MBA and MPhil (Futures Studies) degrees from USB.
Christine Chichi Muduviwa Kere is a business strategist and entrepreneur with diversified industry experience gained from working across industry sectors in Southern Africa. As a Leader Development Coach & OD Consultant, Chichi’s drive is about making impact and change through people in various organizations. She is natural in finding the jewels in people through creating critical conversational intelligence in leadership and their teams to execute strategy and deliver on performance. Her passion for talent alignment and strategy execution enabled to successfully turnaround an ailing hospitality group in Mozambique despite limited knowledge of Portuguese. Chichi has set up a Coaching Mentoring Education Africa (CMEA), a platform to enhance leader development in both leaders and learners as future leaders for sustainable development. She holds a Bachelors’ Degree in Marketing Management; an MBA in Strategic Marketing, a Diploma in Vocational Education and a Community Coaching Certificate on the back of her MPhil in Management Coaching with USB. She is an accredited partner with Worldview Academy, a leading Organisation Development training company in South Africa.
Michiel Jonker is a Director in the Advisory division at Grant Thornton. He is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and holds a Diploma (Computer Audit, Advanced Computer Audit), a BA (Political Science), a PGDip and a MPhil (Futures Studies). He has experience in developing risk management strategies for clients, and strongly believes that every business can maximise its chances of success by applying appropriate risk management strategies by incorporating foresight into its strategic thinking. His interests include business and IT strategy formulation, business risk and control management strategies, futuristic research, macro history patterns, the analysis of trends, emerging issues and weak signals in the contextual environment as well as systems thinking.
Will Coetsee, USB Alumnus of the Year: Social Impact and Managing Director, Botanica Natural Products holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biodiversity and an MBA cum laude from USB. Botanica has been recognised as a specialist in African social enterprise. Will is a member of the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) Technical Commission on the promotion of Traditional Knowledge in South Africa. He regularly advises government and academia on best practice, policy and regulations regarding commercialisation of indigenous plant products. He is currently researching a PhD through USB and Reims Management School (France) with the aim of developing strategies to assist African entrepreneurs in accessing international markets. Will’s specialities include social entrepreneurship, small business consulting, family business, agro-processing, strategic planning, branding & identity, and project management.
Virna Alexander is an MBA alumnus and a Partner within the Advisory Operations competency of PwC. Virna has over 20 years of experience across various industries and this has afforded her the opportunity to develop strong leadership, communication, business and operational skills. Virna’s main area of focus is Strategy and Operations focusing on the exploitation of organisational design and technology to unlock business value.
Virna believes that as an alumnus you have the responsibility to grow the brand and foster relationships across the globe.
Newton Frederick Weideman is the Senior Manager: Talent Management, Training and OD at Liquid Telecoms SA and a Chartered Human Resources Professional, with over 20 years’ experience across the Telecoms, Insurance, Mining, Industrial and Government sectors. Some of his accomplishments include being the External advisor to a listed employee service organisation and delivering international research and proposed frameworks as it relates to skills of the future (2017) and driving the change effort as it relates to culture and operational performance for an established cement manufacturer (2010).
Wishing this team all the best and lots of inspiration!
USB Alumni office