The 2004 finalists are:
Ann Nurock, CEO, Grey Worldwide South Africa; Ingrid Diesel, Resort General Manager & CEO, Fancourt Hotel & Country Club Estate; Sindi Mabaso, Chief Financial Officer, Transnet; Futhi Mtoba, Deputy Chairman, Deloitte; Suzanne Ravenall, CEO, IDCS Beyond Outsourcing.
The Award, which is sponsored by Nedbank, is now in its 25th year recognises the success of women in business and celebrates their contribution to the economy and future generations of businesswomen.
Commented the President of the BWA, Dr Namane Magau: "The 2004 finalists represent different industries, but they have a great deal in common. All have excelled in business and they are a remarkable group of entrepreneurial and professional women."
This Award is given to the woman adjudged by a panel of experts, to be South Africa's Businesswoman of the Year. She will be acknowledged for her achievements and stand proudly alongside previous winners such as Nicky Newton-King of the JSE Securities Exchange (2003), Kim McFarland of Investec Asset Management (2002), Maria Ramos when she was with the Department of Finance (2001) and Irene Charnley of Johnnic Holdings (2000).
The Award focuses on three important elements, which have remained consistent over the years. Firstly, it exists to recognise and honour the achievement of South African women business leaders. Secondly, it creates a cadre of women role models. Lastly, it makes a tangible and sustainable contribution to the next generation of women business leaders; as all proceeds of the annual gala banquet, go to the BWA Bursary Fund.
The BWA grows all women in business, as well as women's businesses. The annual Award is the highlight of its many activities, but over and above the Award, the BWA also produces research on the status of women in business in the country, hosts events for members and non-members and offers a networking and mentoring forum for women in all stages of their careers.
Chief Executive Officer of the BWA, Niven Postma, explains that the Association provides access to information and opportunities. "Our combined intellect is formidable and by networking, our members have improved access to business opportunities. This networking isn't only confined to South Africa, but extends throughout the African continent and beyond."
As part of its commitment to businesswomen, the BWA recently released the South African Women in Corporate Leadership Census 2004, sponsored by Nedbank. As a result of collaboration between the BWA and Catalyst, a leading businesswomen's organisation in the United States, the Census has measured, for the first time ever, the number of women on boards and in executive management of every company listed on the JSE Securities Exchange (JSE), as well as 17 of the largest state-owned enterprises in South Africa.
"The Census was specifically timed to coincide with the anniversary of South Africa's first 10 years of democracy and the 25th anniversary of the BWA's Businesswoman of the Year Award. Both of these milestones give us good reason to measure and reflect on where South African corporations are, with regard to the promotion of women in their organisations," says Magau.
Nedbank's Head of Female Market Strategy, Rue Bateman, says that by supporting the BWA, Nedbank hopes to raise awareness of women's vital role in the economy. "This is an opportunity for Nedbank to honour the time and effort that the finalists have invested in creating an environment of opportunity and growth. These extraordinary finalists provide a source of inspiration to the lives they touch, bringing hope and opportunity to their communities and ultimately to our country.
"Nedbank also sponsors a series of regional awards for women entrepreneurs and professionals. We are confident that these awards, together with the finalists announced here tonight, will go one step further in creating new role models for aspiring businesswomen. And, in this way, the awards system becomes a process rather than a once-off event."
The winner will be announced on 25 August 2004 at a gala banquet at the Sandton Convention Centre. Tickets can be purchased by faxing 27 11 648 0356.
Grapevine Communications on behalf of the BWA