In late August this year, Funeka Montjane, CE of Personal and Business Banking South Africa, was awarded Business Woman of the Year in the Corporate Category by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (Bwasa), a prominent association of professional women in South Africa.
This accolade came hot on the heels of Funeka earning the 2016 Private Sector CEO of the Year Award by the African Woman Chartered Accountants. Both awards celebrate female leaders who excel in business, yet also strive to uplift their communities.
Now in its 36th year, the Businesswoman of the Year Award features two categories; corporate and entrepreneurial, and is a highly visible means of recognising the growing contribution that women are making to advancing both corporate and entrepreneurial organisations.
According to Farzanah Mall, President of the Business Women’s Association, the finalists and winners of 2016’s awards were extraordinary leaders, both in terms of their respective business achievements as well as who they are as people. Wrenelle Stander, the Senior Vice President for Public Affairs and Real Estate Services at award sponsor Sasol, agreed with this sentiment, saying that the finalists instill hope in those they lead and interact with, which is why they stand out among their peers.
Funeka is known at the Bank for encouraging women to give themselves permission to conquer whatever is in their path to success or personal fulfilment. She has compared female empowerment at work to the first person to run a marathon under two hours, saying that all you need is that one person to break the 120-minute mark. When that happens, many others will run it under two hours.
Funeka is not just a powerful force in the corporate world, but also a strong advocate for women’s empowerment in greater society. During Women’s Month, she hosted a show on the popular Power FM, looking at the subjects Retaining Money and Wealth – Dos and Don’ts Around Money and Can You Have It All and Still Slay. She was also interviewed on Cliff Central following the announcement of the Bwasa nominees.