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LeadUP Podcast

Author: University of Pretoria Alumni Relations Office

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Alumni and friends of the University of Pretoria (UP) share their stories and leadership lessons on this podcast by the leading contact university in Africa. Prominent UP alumni from across disciplines – from business and law to medicine and the arts – share details about where their journey has taken them after their time at Tuks, and what they’ve learned along the way. LeadUP is a project of the Alumni Relations Office of the University of Pretoria. You can find out more about us or get in touch at up.ac.za/leadup.

26 Episodes
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Abdullah Verachia is CEO of The Strategists, Head of Faculty for Strategy and Sustainability at the University of Pretoria’s business school, the Gordon Institute of Business Science, and Programme Director of the Harvard Senior Executive Programme For Africa, among other accolades. He is also a globally renowned public speaker and the author of Disruption Amplified: Reset. Rewire. Reimagine Everything.On this episode, he chats to us about:How his childhood Model UN experience led him to...
Sipho Ngwenya, formerly known as Psyfo, was a child star before becoming a household name playing Ajax on Generations. After a successful period as a musician, he received his MBA from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), and is now a senior manager at Showmax. On this episode, he chats to us about:Lessons he’s learned from achieving fame and success early on. How he’s transitioned between different parts of the entertainment industry.Dedi...
Robyn Oates is a Sustainable Development Officer in the United Nations Secretary General’s Office in New York City. After completing her BCom Honours in Accounting Sciences at the University of Pretoria, she worked in the private sector, including at Deloitte and Barclays Capital.On this episode, she chats to us about:How her family’s support helped her find the courage to explore internationally. Finding her voice in the private sector.Living her dream in New York City.How she holds on ...
Munozovepi Gwata is the founder of Kukura Capital, and an entrepreneur passionate about teaching Africans about financial literacy. She completed her LLB at the University of Pretoria before moving to Webber Wentzel, and is currently a Principal Consultant at IQbusiness. She has been involved in the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Entrepreneurship Programme, delivered a TEDxTalk, and has written for a variety of financial media outlets.On this episode, she chats to us about:What dri...
Professor Shakila Dada is the Director of the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. Her work focuses on improving the lives of people with severe communication difficulties. She is a powerful example of UP alumni becoming staff and building long-running relationships with the institution that ultimately help change lives on a large scale. On this episode, she chats to us about:How improved communication can help people live better, fuller lives.W...
Laurie Dippenaar is a South African millionaire, businessman, investor, and banker with a wealth of knowledge who co-founded the FirstRand Financial Group, which includes subsidiaries WesBank, FNB, and RMB. He graduated from the University of Pretoria with a Master of Commerce degree, and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate. On this episode, he speaks to us about:How he started out in banking. Creating a business environment based on trust.How he’s encouraged other entreprene...
Ndavi Nokeri is now the third consecutive Miss South Africa to have graduated from the University of Pretoria. She received her Bcom Investment Management degree a few months before she was crowned Miss South Africa and instantly became a role model to young and older people all over the country.On this episode she speaks to us about:How and why she decided to study at the University of Pretoria.How little things contribute towards achieving a big goal.Entering the Miss SA competition to make...
Carmen Reddy started her journalism career at TuksFM while studying at the University of Pretoria, and has since worked for the likes of 5FM, Primedia, eNCA, and Newzroom Afrika. She is currently a media consultant. On this episode she speaks to us about:Starting out on campus radio.Taking risks and proving herself in commercial radio.How her ideas about success have evolved over time. The importance of helping others in the industry. Learning to take no as an answer and adjust...
Dr Anton Meyberg is a specialist physician and pulmonologist, working in clinical medicine as an ICU physician and intensivist at Linksfield Clinic in Johannesburg. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic he faced the disease in wards – and educated the public about it through podcasting and more.On this episode he speaks to us about:Studying in Afrikaans while growing up in English.How COVID-19 taught doctors humility and collaboration.The emotional and psychological effects of the pandemic.How his...
WeBuyCars was founded by two brothers and quickly became one of the biggest car-buying companies in South Africa. Faan van der Walt, one of the co-founders, has learned a lot about success on this journey of growing and evolving a business.On this episode he speaks to us about:How his childhood fascination with cars turned into a long-term career.What it is like to build a business with his brother.How their success was built on determined focus.The story behind buying The Dome in Johannesbur...
Known as ‘Mr Deadline’, Dr Perekeme Mutu moved to South Africa from Nigeria to pursue his studies, and worked multiple jobs – including as a security guard and a car washer – to fund his academic career. His perseverance paid off handsomely when he completed two degrees at the same time, including his Doctor of Philosophy (Law) from UP. He is currently a researcher at the Centre for Child Law and a post-doctoral fellow with UNESCO Education Law in Africa, at the University of Pretoria.O...
Yolana Du Plessis-Martin, who is now an Engagement Manager at Deloitte Consulting in New York, was a promising young swimmer at the University of Pretoria’s TuksSport High School and its first Head Girl in 2006. When an injury dashed her Olympic dreams, she had to rethink her ideas of the future. A move abroad later, she graduated cum laude from Villanova University in Pennsylvania with majors in Global Interdisciplinary Studies and Political Science, while also competing as a Division 1 stud...
We kick off the second season of the podcast, which speaks to University of Pretoria (UP) alumni about their experiences of success, with Nozipho Tshabalala, CEO of The Conversation Strategist. Tshabalala works with big brands globally to help shape their strategies and work. She has been an award-winning journalist and has worked with CNBC Africa among others. She also completed her Honours in International Relations at UP.On this episode she speaks to us about:How she defined her own role i...
Professor Tawana Kupe is not only Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, but a big fan of the LeadUP Podcast! In this special episode to wrap up this first season of the podcast, Prof Kupe reflects on some of the highlights of our previous interviews with UP alumni, and shares his own experiences of leadership. On this episode he speaks about:His ‘why’, and the purpose guiding him. The importance of reflection as a leader.The privilege of being a leader an...
Deepa Sita is the Chief Financial Officer at Tiger Brands, after holding similar roles at the likes of Mondelēz and Makro. She grew up working in a family business that she then took over after her father’s death. She is a qualified chartered accountant and holds an MBA (Cum Laude) from the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS).On this episode she speaks about:Falling in love with being a chartered accountant and making good business decisions. Taking ...
Andries Levi Pretorius is a serial entrepreneur, from selling candy floss as a student to innovating in the real estate industry. He completed his BCom Honours in Finance & Entrepreneurship at the University of Pretoria while running a leading confectionery business called Willmor Candy Co.He later co-founded an extraordinary property investment group, WeBuyProp, and is currently the head of strategic partnership and growth at LeadHome. On this episode he speaks about:Enjoying t...
Dr Coceka Mfundisi is the first woman to receive a Master of Medicine in Neurosurgery degree from the University of Pretoria. She now practices as a specialist neurosurgeon at Busamed Modderfontein private hospital and has interests in neurotrauma, neuro-oncology and spinal surgery. Her notable achievements include being a member of the Golden Lions Rugby Club Medical Committee, serving as a test match surgeon during international rugby matches. She is currently a member of the Health Pr...
Dion Shango started with global professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers soon after graduating with a BCom Financial Accounting from the University of Pretoria over two decades ago, and became PwC's Africa CEO in 2019. On this episode he speaks about:How his community of colleagues and women-led family have shaped his successCreating a strong and positive culture in a large companyBuilding trust externally and internally as the bedrock of PwC’s businessStaying and growing with P...
Leandri van der Wat is a Product Development Engineer at L’Oreal International in Paris. She holds a Master’s in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Pretoria. In 2013, she finished second in the TV show Masterchef South Africa, and she is the co-author, with her sister, of the cookbook Two’. On this episode she speaks about:How she has grown and fostered her curiosityMasterchef teaching her to fearlessly go for her dreamsThat her job at L’Oreal International came at just the...
Dr Kresen Pillay is a graduate of the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science, the second oldest veterinary faculty in Africa and the only one of its kind in South Africa.He recently moved to Australia to pioneer a new department as the Manager of Veterinary Services at the Sydney Zoo. Among the many other highlights of his career so far, Dr Pillay was part of the team that conducted surgery on Makokou, a gorilla from the Johannesburg Zoo. The rare surgery garnered intern...
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